Four California-based think tanks were among the most-cited by media members during 2008, according to rankings compiled by FAIR.
RAND, headquartered in Santa Monica, placed fifth overall, receiving 754 media mentions, a 4% increase from the year prior.
The Kaiser Family Foundation, based in Menlo Park and in Washington D.C., placed ninth, with 571 mentions, down 16% from the year before. Kaiser, by the way, doesn't focus on grant-giving a la most Foundations, but instead does research and information gathering. Perhaps given 2009's health care discussion, Kaiser's rank will rise.
The most-cited think tank in FAIR's research was the Brookings Institution, which received 2,166 mentions -- 220% more than the runner-up American Enterprise Institute's (AEI) 985 mentions.
FAIR's analysis shows that "centrist" tanks -- such as RAND, PPIC, Kaiser, and Brookings in FAIR's reckoning -- were cited 48% of the time in media stories that mentioned tanks.
Conservative or Center-Right tanks (i.e. Hoover and AEI) were mentioned 31% of the time. Progressive or Center-Left (such as the Economic Policy Institute, which placed tenth overall) accounted for the other 21% of mentions.
Given the election results of 2008, its no great surprise to read further that the left mentions were up 4% from the previous year, while the right were down 5%.
FAIR's chart and accompanying notes on methodology are here.