MIT's 'Audits of the Conventional Wisdom' gain a broader audience via AlterNet

February 6, 2006

CAMBRIDGE, MA—MIT's Center for International Studies (CIS), one of the leading international affairs research centers in the U.S., and AlterNet, an online project of the Independent Media Institute, have announced a unique partnership to bring the best work of academia to broader and more diverse audiences.

Beginning with Ben Friedman's "The Real Cost of Homeland Security," AlterNet-a nonprofit dedicated to supporting independent and alternative journalism-will regularly publish the "Audits of the Conventional Wisdom" series produced by CIS.

The Audits project was launched last spring by CIS as a way to challenge many of the foreign-policy shibboleths that pass for wisdom in Washington, based on the belief that the ideas and policies that become unshakeable truths should be carefully examined in any capital. The Audits, according to the Center's Director, John Tirman, "tour the horizon of conventional wisdoms that animate U.S. foreign policy, and then put them to the test of data and history."

"Deciding to do this project was a no-brainer," AlterNet's Executive Editor Don Hazen explained. "Adding gravitas from MIT with well-researched content is only a plus for the AlterNet reader. We're thrilled to be doing this."

The Audits are written by MIT faculty, advanced graduate students, visiting fellows, and others who are experts in their fields. The project is a concerted effort to bring the considerable knowledge and insight of leading academics to a broader, concerned audience.

AlterNet has created a special section for the Audits ( and has posted a series of six of the Audits. In the near future, AlterNet will post new Audits on such topics as withdrawing from Iraq, the debate about low-wage jobs and globalization, the military budget, and suicide bombers.

"We welcome this partnership with AlterNet, which will vastly expand the size and diversity of our audience," says MIT's John Tirman. "We see this as a promising experiment to bridge the gap between what scholars do and what the public and activists need to know. And we want frank responses from AlterNet's readers."

The "Audits of the Conventional Wisdom" remain available in pdf format on the website of MIT's Center for International Studies.

To join the mailing list for print copies, contact Amy Tarr at MIT (

AlterNet, headquartered in San Francisco, is part of the Independent Media Institute. AlterNet launched in 1998 and is the recipient of two Webby Awards for best political coverage on the Web. AlterNet is funded by private foundations and individual donors, including thousands of its readers.


Don Hazen
Executive Director
415.284.1420 x.302

The Center for International Studies (CIS) supports interna­tional research and education at MIT. It is the home of MIT’s Security Studies Program; the MIT International Science & Technology Initiative, its pioneering global education program; the Program on Emerging Technologies; and seminars and research on migration, South Asia politics, the Middle East, cybersecurity, nuclear weapons, and East Asia. The Center has traditionally been aligned with the social sciences while also working with MIT’s premier science and engineering scholars. CIS produces research that creatively addresses global issues while helping to educate the next generation of global citizens.