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Fox News Brings On Billionaire-Backed AstroTurfer To Push For Reopening Schools

Fox & Friends hosted the "Job Creators Network" CEO Alfredo Ortiz to push for school reopenings, but didn't bother to tell their audience he represents a Mercer-backed lobbying group that represents every big business and chamber of commerce across the country.
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Fox & Friends hosted the "Job Creators Network" CEO Alfredo Ortiz to push for school reopenings, but didn't bother to tell their audience he represents a Mercer-backed lobbying group that represents every big business and chamber of commerce across the country.

This is the same group that, as Media Matters reported several years ago, was regularly featured on Breitbart before finally disclosing that they were also one of their advertisers:

Breitbart.com has been running near-daily “articles” outfitted with videos, petition links, and press release-style language promoting the work of the business lobbying group Job Creators Network. The group, which has been paying conservative media to create “grassroots” support for tax cuts, is a front-page sponsor of the right-wing outlet and has received funding from the foundation of Breitbart.com part owner Rebekah Mercer.

The Job Creators Network (JCN) is a conservative organization co-founded by Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus. The Mercer Family Foundation, run by Republican megadonor and Breitbart News investor/owner Rebekah Mercer, gave JCN -- which was originally called the Job Creators Alliance -- $100,000 in both 2014 and 2013.

JCN announced on September 5 that it would launch a “multi-million dollar advocacy campaign calling for small business tax cuts now” and the group would “publicize the need for tax cuts with an in-depth TV, print, radio, and digital advertising buy. … Radio ads will play in heavy rotation on major conservative talk shows including Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Mike Gallagher.”

The "Job Creators Network" has apparently now moved from just pushing for tax cuts for the rich to calling for businesses, and now schools to reopen, and has launched a campaign called "Flatten the Fear" which features videos from doctors across the country who have signed their petition, with this quote just above the push to join them:

Together we’ve flattened the curve, now it’s time to flatten the fear. Doctors from around the country are saying it’s okay to get back to work and reopen America.

This is "flattening the curve" to these people?

Here's Ortiz on this Sunday's Fox & Friends, pretending his group is really just looking out for the poor, or those going through economic hardships, along with the teachers and students with no mention of who is lining his pockets and what their interests are in the push to open things back up, and pretending to be apolitical when groups like his have pretty well purchased the Republican party.

BILA: Flatten the Fear. That's the name of the campaign backed by 1500 doctors to reopen schools. They signed a petition in support of getting teachers and kids back inside of classrooms this fall. The Job Creators Network foundation launched the initiative saying in part “The risks of reopening schools for non-adolescent children are low while the rewards -- scholastic, social, economic -- are significant.”

Joining us is president and CEO of the Job Creators Network, and White House Hispanic prosperity initiative commissioner Alfredo Ortiz. Alfredo, welcome to the show as always. It is great to have you here on have a very important topic. So talk to us a little bit about this petition that's been signed by a number of physicians, what it says, and where you think this whole conversation is moving.

ORTIZ: Yeah Jed, thanks so much, and by the way we're up to just under 2,000 signatures already, and that list continues to grow. Look, unfortunately, parents, teachers and students are really caught in the crossfire of an election season, of a presidential election season, you know, between Republicans and Democrats. They're having it out, and unfortunately like I said, the parents and teachers and students, especially students here, are going to be hurt.

And we are very concerned about that. And that's why we asked and put this petition out there, and are getting this kind of response which is amazing. You actually come from a family of teaching. You yourself I believe were a teacher. You know that teachers are saints in terms of the patience needed to teach kids.

You know, parents are stressed, first of all, to no end in terms of what they can do to teach their kids at home, not, just because you're a great parent doesn't make you a great teacher. And we're concerned about the level and quality of teaching that really is taking place in this home, you know, in-home learning environment. And when you think about the negative social and economic impact that it is having on our families, especially quite frankly, the lower income, lower income households, this is tremendous, tremendous issue.

And I have to tell you, Jed, this is actually very personal for me. I came from one of those lower household incomes when I was a kid, and I have to tell you the saddest part of my day was when that bell rang at the end of the day, because I had to go back to a dad that quite frankly wasn't the nicest dad on the planet.

School for me was my safety zone, and it was also a way of creating community, and what we're taking away from our kids, especially in this K-8, what the petition is about, especially in that area, the social development aspects of going to school an of learning there is just so, so critical, and we're taking that away from our kids.

And that's why again we put this petition out, and we're getting the kind of response, positive response. And by the way, this is also supported with science. Science is on our side on this Jed. We got, first of all CDC making the recommendation already. Go ahead. Sorry.

BILA: I grew up in a house where both parents had to work. There wasn't really another financial option. So I don't know what would have happened to a child like me in a situation like this. It would have been really, really scary for my parents to have to figure that out. One of the concerns parents have though is what will this look like? They're worried about sending their kids into a classroom environment where the kids are in masks all day. Where they are in bubbles where that important healthy interaction you typically find in schools doesn't exist. Is that something you can speak to at all?

ORTIZ: Yeah, you know Jed, there is a study been done with about 15 different countries that have already sent their kids back to school. Look absolutely, the classrooms are going to look different. We know that, because of social distancing, because of the different precautions have to take place. It's going to look different. But look, you talk about masks. Make the masks fun. Create projects, right? Make them about superheroes. Why do they all have be black and blue masks where it looks like you're in a hospital, right? Do a lot of outdoor learning. This is great opportunity as we go into the fall to use outdoors as classrooms, right? You don't necessarily have to stay in the classroom. Expand that out. And yeah, we're talking about the case rate specifically. And they're the ones that really, really desperately need social development.

I think our high schoolers, they have a little more opportunity to be a little more independent. My focus and our focus really is this case rate. And that's why again, teachers, you know, what we're saying is, please, speak out, speak up, stand up, because we know, as you were as a teacher in the past, you love your kids, right? You love your children. You know that this is the right thing to do.

BILA: Yeah.

ORTIZ: And let's not let this political nightmare that's taking place, you know, in the election season be the reason why our kids are hurting today. whether it's safe to do so or not.

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