The economic woes that have hit industries from car manufacturers to restaurants claimed another casualty this week as the well known media watchdog Media Research Center closed one division and laid off the staff of another project this week due to a lack of funding.

On Monday the much hyped service laid off the editorial staff   rendering the nascent competitor to YouTube rudderless.  Unlike YouTube which relies solely on user generated content, added their own edited footage taken from across the country to help ensure a conservative flavor and a more reliable source of footage.  By all measures the service was doing well and the layoffs came as a surprise.

Now we can add the shutdown of the Business and Media Institute which was led by long time conservative Bob Knight.  The BMI had issued several very well researched reports and was filling a gap in analyzing how the media covers business which is generally very poorly.

The MRC did what it felt was the only thing it could do by cutting projects when the money to fund them dried up.  On the other hand for an organization with nearly $10 million in assets according to its 2006 form 990, maybe they could have scaled the projects back or wind them down a little slower to ease the pain on the staff.

After all  if you look at the 990 the top brass at the MRC isn’t exactly hurting for money with several salaries over $200 k plus benefits.

As conservatives we have a responsibility to lead by example and show the liberals that we are in it for the cause and not the money.  But as organizations grow the leaders tend to confuse the non-profit world they live in with the for-profit world that runs on a different set of standards.

There is no reason why the leader of a conservative group should be paid as if he or she is running a Fortune 500 company.  Conservative non-profits exist on donations that are given to them by many people with far lesser means than they.  I think there should be an obligation to take a minimal salary and to use as much of the donations as possible in the mission of the organization.

As the organization that I work for continues to struggle financially I have made an effort to trim fat wherever I can and have taken a pay cut and will do so again in January to help balance the books.  Since my salary is far below $100 k and I live in the D.C. area with two children in college that isn’t easy to do but I think it’s the correct course of action.

How can I in good conscience ask donors for money in these tough times if I am not willing to sacrifice as well?

If the economy continues on this path for much longer the MRC won’t be the only conservative organzation retrenching.  While we need sound business principles we also need a strong conservative movement if we are to have any chance of recapturing the House in the next few elections.