My Nonprofit Reviews
Review for Common Dreams, Inc, Portland, ME, USA
Common Dreams is one of the most dishonest non-profit organizations I have ever come across in my entire life. DO NOT contribute any money to this group -- unless you want to support censorship. Craig Brown, the Executive Director, runs Common Dreams to support his Democratic Party allies. To that end, his editors consistently (1) distort news stories to make them favorable to the Democratic Party and (2) delete comments that do not match his political views. He regularly banishes commenters who criticize the policies and actions of Democratic politicians, and then banishes anyone who dares mention his practice of censorship on the website. He gives no warning in advance of banishment, and offers no explanation about the banishments after the fact. Indeed, he does not respond in any way to inquiries about his banning of commenters. (It is abundantly clear that the banishments have to do with the content of the remarks, because those banished have not violated any of the written comment policies -- while many people who HAVE violated the comment policies by posting intentionally inflammatory or insulting or libelous or racist comments have not been banished. Tellingly, during Obama's campaign for president in 2008, many people were banished from Common Dreams for declaring that they did not support his candidacy; the same thing is happening on Common Dreams right now in 2012-- people who don't support Obama are getting banished.) Worst of all, Craig Brown erases the entire comment history of people he has banished, removing every trace of their existence from the site, including the responses of other people who replied to their comments. This behavior is straight out of George Orwell's novel, 1984, in which the workers in the Minstry of Truth destroy historical records and throw the true facts down the memory hole. In this way, Craig Brown is even WORSE than the editors of the mainstream media whom he criticizes for manipulating truth--at least they don't go back and change all of their past editions by deleting articles. Craig Brown also makes it impossible for readers to come together to organize by refusing to let people exchange email addresses or any other contact information. In fact, if you try to do this, you are certain to get banned. Craig Brown then has the audacity to announce publicly: "We do not censor comments." This is a blatant lie, and Craig Brown lies like this because he knows that if his donors knew the truth about his rampant and vengeful censorship practices, they would stop giving him money. That is exactly what should happen, though: people should stop giving Common Dreams any money at all until Common Dreams agrees to stop its politically-motivated censhorship practices and agrees to restore all of the deleted comments. This is particularly important to commenters like me, who posted over 400 comments during a two year period, and then had them all erased over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2011. Many of my comments were quite lengthy and involved hours of research and investigation -- as it was my goal to provide accurate and up-to-date information to the readers of Common Dreams. I frequently got positive feedback from other community members for my work. Several writers who publish regularly on Common Dreams even let me know how much they appreciated my comments. Regarding DONATIONS to Common Dreams: there seems to be something fishy going on. The income for 2011 for CD is about $600,000. But Common Dreams says in its donation appeal letters, "We rely on small contributions from our readers" and "Did you know that we survive entirely on the generosity of our readers? Thousands of small donors who keep our small staff churning out news & views for the progressive community, 365-days a year. Common Dreams is truly a grassroots community. " Well, let's do some calculations. Common Dreams runs fundraising drives four times a year, and raises $50,000 each time. That comes to a total of $200,000 from small contributions from its readers. CD also lists $50,000 in income from foundations. That leaves the majority of its income -- a whopping $350,000 to be exact -- unaccounted for. I would like to know who makes the sizeable donations to cover this amount. In summary, Common Dreams does not live up to its stated mission to bring the progressive community together to organize for change for the common good. In fact, its activities are often in direct contrast to those ideals, particularly when it behaves in clearly partisan ways to promote the election of Democratic Party candidates above all else. This overriding goal encouraagesCommon Dreams to lie to its community and to the general public and to its donors -- which ultimately serves to weaken the progressive cause and promote dishonesty in our society. PLEASE, if you have money you want to donate to progresive causes, don't waste it by giving it to Common Dreams.
I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...
I have seen many people who are honest and sincere individuals -- with strong desires to play a positive role in the politics of their communities and the nation -- become thorougly disheartened by the dishonest and vengeful manipulation of the news and comments on Common Dreams. After I was banished and had all of my work deleted due to my progressive political views, several colleagues of mine wrote to Craig Brown and asked him for an expanation of his action. Not a single person received a reply.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
I recommend that the editors of Common Dreams be fired for systematically distorting the news for purely partisan reasons, and for cooperating in the banishment of so many fine thinkers who used to comment on the site. I recommend that all donations to Common Dreams be returned to the donors -- because they were solicited under false pretenses. Finally, all comments that have been deleted for political reasons-- and there are thousands of these -- should be restored in their entirety.
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This organization has the opportunity to be an authentic force for the common good and to promote progressive change. Indeed, it claims that is its intention. Unfortunately, it chooses to use its prominent position on the Internet to promote Democratic Party candidates above all else. It retains its positive reputation only because it repeatedly lies to the public about its real activities. I encourage anyone who wants more information about this to Google "common dreams, censorship" and read the stories.