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Response: Fox News' Bill O'Reilly Thrusts the Institute for Policy Studies into the Spin Zone

May 23, 2012

Washington DC – Last night, right-wing talk show host Bill O'Reilly poured some of his ire on the Institute for Policy Studies for its work on inequality and other issues. O'Reilly theorized that somehow IPS or another nonprofit was controlling the Occupy movement, featuring a photo of IPS Director John Cavanagh. O'Reilly even speculated that some central mastermind was making fashion choices on what color participants in the Occupy movement would wear.

In a blog post yesterday evening, Cavanagh set the record straight that O'Reilly's theories were a fiction, emphasizing that IPS is proud of its work on inequality. He states:

The Institute for Policy Studies is honored to join the long list of respected individuals and organizations that Bill O’Reilly has attacked on his Fox News show. During the opening segment of his May 22 tirade, O’Reilly attacked us for serving as the Occupy movement's "headquarters." He even implied that some central figure is making decisions about what color Occupy "agitators" should wear. These are hilarious claims about a movement that defiantly makes decisions through the direct participation of all of its members, rather than in a top-down process. And that would include fashion choices.

We don't know how O'Reilly and his colleagues cooked up their theories. They didn't bother to contact us before staging this attack. But IPS is nevertheless grateful for this opportunity to showcase our proud history of public scholarship on inequality, peace, justice, and the environment.

We have worked on the issue of inequality for two decades. We host one of the leading web sites for facts, figures and analysis, www.inequality.org. Our annual Executive Excess report, now in its 18th year, garners major mainstream media coverage on the growing gap between CEO and worker pay. Recently, IPS was invited to give testimony on this research to the Senate Budget Committee. IPS is also doing a great deal of research on the transition away from a speculative Wall Street economy to a green and demilitarized Main Street economy.

IPS researchers were very pleased when the Occupy encampments raised awareness of the growing problems with extreme inequality and how war spending fuels the economic crisis. During his broadcast, O’Reilly claimed that the Occupy movement is no longer about inequality. He's wrong. This movement continues to highlight the great divide between the 1 percent and the 99 percent, and it continues to draw attention to how a casino Wall Street has crashed our economy and corrupted our politics. The Occupy movement has brought these vital issues into dinner conversations across this country.

Starting last fall, IPS conducted workshops on inequality, environmental justice, and ending wars, with Occupy DC. We offered to let them use our space for meetings when the weather was bad or on weekends. Two weeks ago, IPS offered them space in our offices where they are producing an online newspaper called DC Mic Check. SEIU, the dynamic union of janitors and other service workers, has made a contribution to help us cover the costs.

IPS is an independent, nonpartisan, and non-profit organization. For nearly half a century, we have worked with and provided research and analysis to a diverse set of social movements, unions, and others for peace, justice, and the environment. Thank you, Bill O’Reilly, for putting us in the spotlight.

Members of the media seeking to interview John Cavanagh should contact Media Relations Manager Lacy MacAuley at (202) 445-4692, lacy@ips-dc.org

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Institute for Policy Studies (www.IPS-DC.org) is a community of public scholars and organizers linking peace, justice, and the environment in the U.S. and globally. We work with social movements to promote true democracy and challenge concentrated wealth, corporate influence, and military power.