Heritage Foundation and Media Research Center Join CPAC Boycott

Last February the Media Research Center’s director of media analysis Tim Graham defended the American Conservative Union’s annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) from a charge that the event was “once a venue for the radical fringe.” Today, the Media Research Center joined other groups in boycotting the conference because it isn’t conservative enough. While the Heritage Foundation announced on Wednesday that it would be boycotting CPAC, the Media Research Center, led by notable right-wing activist Brent Bozell, is both the latest and one of the best-known organizations to join the boycott movement.

Back in November, the far-right American Principles Project declared that it would not take part in CPAC as long as GOProud, a conservative group that supports some gay-rights initiatives, remains a participating organization. GOProud’s status as a “participating” organization prompted many Religious Right groups to boycott CPAC, including: American Values; American Vision; the Capital Research Center; the Center for Military Readiness; Concerned Women For America; the Family Research Council; Liberty Counsel; Liberty University, and the National Organization for Marriage. The American Family Association, which boycotted CPAC last year over GOProud’s more limited involvement, has decided to sit out this year’s conference as well.

The decision by the Media Research Center and the Heritage Foundation to leave CPAC represents the most noteworthy achievement for the boycott movement since Concerned Women For America and the Family Research Center joined the cause. Focus on the Family’s political arm CitizenLink remains a chief sponsor of the event, however, CitizenLink’s head Tom Minnery said that his group will only remain in CPAC to limit GOProud’s influence and may boycott next year’s conference. Minnery told The Washington Times that “the influence of social conservatives has been missing and there needs to be more of it,” but “if the ACU can’t manage this problem that they’ve brought upon themselves, we’ll have to make another decision.”

WorldNetDaily, the right-wing publication which has been attacking CPAC since the conference refused to hold a WND-sponsored panel that would showcase “birther” conspiracy theories about President Obama’s birth certificate, has been rallying behind the boycott movement. Joseph Farah, the editor-in-chief of WND, called for a “purge of the conservative movement” that would begin with CPAC’s organizers since “conservatives need God’s help, not GOProud’s.” Today, WorldNetDaily broke the story about the MRC’s decision to pull out of CPAC:

Two more big guns of the conservative movement confirmed today they are not participating in the Conservative Political Action Conference next month because of the continued participation of the homosexual activist organization GOProud.

The Heritage Foundation, the largest think tank in Washington and not known as part of the religious right, confirmed that it is not taking part in what has been the largest annual gathering of conservatives in the country. Heritage has been an active participant in CPAC every year for the last 10.

“We have withdrawn,” said Mike Gonzalez, vice president of communications for the Heritage Foundation.

“We have been there for many, many years at the highest level of participation. “We believe in the traditional definition of the family,”

Gonzalez explained. “We believe in defending the family against any threats that come against it. We’re not for gay marriage. We don’t think institutions that have existed for millennia can be done away with at the drop of a hat.” Gonzalez emphasized that the “three pillars” of conservatism, economic liberty, national defense and social conservatism, are “indivisible.”

In addition, the Media Research Center, led by Brent Bozell, a longtime associate of the hosting organization, the American Conservative Union, announced it was dropping out.

“We’ve been there 25 years, since our inception,” said Bozell. “To bring in a ‘gay’ group is a direct attack on social conservatives, and I can’t participate in that.”

The Christian ministry American Vision and related businesses Vision for America and Patriot Depot also said they have dropped out of CPAC because of GOProud.

“Homosexuals can get involved in the conservative movement any way they want, but to come in and push an agenda that’s contrary to biblical values, traditional values and rational moral values, that’s another thing,” said Gary DeMar, president of American Vision and Vision for America. “We wouldn’t exclude adulterers from participating, but if there were a group of adulterers who said ‘we want adulterers’ rights,’ we’re going to say no.”

Bozell said GOProud is not a genuine conservative organization, and suggested inviting homosexual activist groups into the conservative movement could drive social conservative activists to the political sidelines.

“They attack the Family Research Council, they attack Concerned Women for America, they are proponents of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” he said of GOProud. “If you don’t believe in the traditional family, you’re not a conservative.”