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People for the American Way

People for the American Way says it favors “pluralism, individuality, freedom of thought, expression and religion, a sense of community, and tolerance and compassion for others.” PFAW was founded in 1981 by Norman Lear, Barbara Jordan, the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, and Andrew Heiskell, in part as a response to the political efforts of religious figures Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.

People for the American Way engages in numerous projects, many of which focus on civil liberties, the separation of church and state, voting rights, and judicial nominations.

Its website offers a number of tools, most of which are more useful to activists than researchers. These include a state-by-state guide to news and organizations of potential interest to liberal activists, profiles of prominent conservative activist organizations, and an archive of reports produced by the organization.

Comments: Because PFAW is a prominent liberal advocacy organization, its reports tilt in a predictable direction, and some of their documents blur the line between a press release and a research report. While its website offers like-minded activists some innovative tools, independent researchers would be well-advised not to rely exclusively on the site’s content.

Political Leanings: Liberal