Defence lobby-funded think tanks dominate U.S. Ukraine media coverage: study
A new study of Ukraine war media coverage has found that defence contractor-funded think tanks dominate the discussion south of the border.
Ben Freeman, writing for the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, discovered the vast majority of media mentions of think tanks in articles about U.S. arms and the Ukraine war are from think tanks whose funders profit from U.S. military spending, arms sales and, in many cases, directly from U.S. involvement in the Ukraine war.
The United States is by far the largest contributor of weapons to Ukraine. Since Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin’s illegal and disastrous decision to launch a full–scale invasion of Ukraine, the United States has approved approximately $48.7 billion in military spending.
“Despite the very real risk that escalations could lead to direct U.S. military involvement in the war, few think tanks have critically scrutinized this record setting amount of U.S. military assistance,” writes Freeman.
These think tanks also regularly offer support for public policy solutions that would financially benefit their funders without disclosing these apparent conflicts of interest.
Table: Top ranked U.S. foreign policy think tanks and defense contractor funding
“While this brief did not seek to establish a direct causality between think–tank policy recommendations and their arms industry funding in the case of the Ukraine war, we find a clear correlation between the two,” writes Freeman. “We also found that media outlets disproportionately rely on commentary from defense sector funded think tanks.”
No such study has been done in Canada to my knowledge. But it has been well documented that representatives of defence industry-funded think tanks in Canada are regularly quoted by journalists without informing readers of the close relationship.
- Read “Defense Contractor Funded Think Tanks Dominate Ukraine Debate” by Ben Freeman, published by the Quincy Institute for Responsible State Craft on June 1, 2023