If you can get through this whole thing, you've got a stronger stomach than I do.
Just like when one turns on the light in a tenement apartment and the cockroaches go scurrying, ALEC is desperately looking for dark corners to once again hide their presence. The work that various progressive groups have pulled together to call attention to the wholly undemocratic and corporatist work getting draconian conservative legislation in all the states has made to date eleven corporate members drop them (the latest: Blue Cross). Facing horrible press and dwindling membership fees, ALEC announced that they were dropping the task forces focusing on the Stand Your Ground laws and Voter ID/Fraud. ALEC had been working so successfully in the shadows undermining democracy and citizen representation that this kind of scrutiny had to be uncomfortable.
And so--to return to my cockroach metaphor-- ALEC wants to make that tenement so unpalatable to enter that they need never worry about those pesky lights again. How does one do that? By attacking the "liberal media" responsible for shining the light on ALEC's activities. And who better to do that than someone whose association with Andrew Breitbart shows they have little interest in fairness, truth or accuracy, but do love to destroy things liberals hold near and dear.
Shortly after issuing a press release announcing that it was disbanding its "Public Safety and Elections Task Force" after 30 years, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) held a training for the right-wing blogosphere.
Director of External Relations Caitlyn Korb spoke yesterday at a Heritage Foundation "Bloggers Briefing," begging conservative bloggers for help while prepping "a very aggressive campaign to really spread the word about what we actually do." Korb appears to be a new ALEC employee who recently worked for the Cato Institute. Both ALEC and Cato have received funding from Koch family foundations. The Heritage Foundation is an ALEC member.
The "Bloggers Briefing," which was started by Heritage's Rob Bluey and "a dozen conservative online entrepreneurs" six years ago, was broadcast online on "Breitbart TV," a project of the late Andrew Breitbart.[..]
Korb outlined ALEC's PR counter-offensive. She told bloggers that ALEC will launch a website called "I Stand with ALEC" in the next few days. The phrase is familiar to Wisconsinites, as it tracks the Americans for Prosperity (AFP) campaign on behalf of the embattled governor, whose slogan is "Stand with Walker." AFP is also an ALEC member.
Korb pleaded for help on social media: "We're getting absolutely killed in social media venues -- Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest (I didn't even know Pinterest was a forum for a lot of political opposition, but now it is) -- so any and all new media support you guys can provide would be so helpful, not just to us but to average people who don't know much about this fight but are seeing us get really heavily attacked with very little opposition."
ALEC has a Facebook page where it posts its news releases and what little favorable press it receives. There is also a new Pinterest board called "Anti-ALEC Comments" that documents many of the negative comments ALEC staffers delete from its Facebook page. The Facebook pages of corporate members are being swarmed with comments about ALEC.
ALEC is looking specifically at Democratic strategist Karen Finney (who appears daily on MSNBC as a contributer), journalist Lisa Graves and organizer Van Jones. They are advising these wingnut bloggers to go after them in the comments of articles, on social media and throughout the blogosphere. But it's only a matter of time before they come after liberal blogs and organizers as well.