Friday, January 3, 2014

ALEC PR is Really Their Own Propaganda Regurgitated

Been fuming over this one ever since I wrote an entry on ALECs twisting of words ( also known by my Mom as LYING)
 Bill Meierling, a spokesman for ALEC, said the organization "maintains no model policy on climate change."
"on climate change" - he's being specific  -
"on climate change"  must have some specific mumbo jumbo meaning for ALEC
Especially when you consider the document drop the Guardian did in December
with Headline and subheads that read

ALEC calls for penalties on 'freerider' homeowners in assault on clean energy

Documents reveal conservative group's anti-green agenda
• Strategy to charge people who install their own solar panels
• Environmentalists accuse Alec of protecting utility firms' profits

During my hiatus from blogging I still kept up with what was going on in the world of ALEC.  At times massive amounts of blood pressure medicine could have been prescribed after reading some of the deception that was disseminated to the media in regards to ALEC.

Most of it brought me back to a pissing match that ALEC had with NPR in 2010.
In an article in October 28, 2010 NPR noted:

It was last December at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. Inside, there was a meeting of a secretive group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. Insiders call it ALEC
On  October 29, 2010 ALEC released a press release stating:
A recent NPR story noted ALEC as a “secretive organization” that rarely allows press interviews and cultivates back-door lobbying.  This could not be further from the truth, as noted by NPR visiting ALEC offices to gather information.  In addition, key policy positions on prison overcrowding were provided to NPR, yet never made the online or audio version of the story.

ALEC has open doors and phone lines to the press.  The press is invited to attend all ALEC meetings.  ALEC’s mission, policies, initiatives and contact information for all employees is available on the public web site at  
Oh yeh - press is invited - blah, blah, blah
Info for all employees (but not members) blah, blah, blah
In addition, key policy positions on prison overcrowding were provided to NPR, yet never made the online or audio version of the story. 
That's probably cause NPR saw them for what they were - key pro-ALEC propaganda statements. 

The most interesting thing about this ALEC press release date October 29, 2010 - is ALEC removed it from their website.  Look at their press release history - Pressers from September 2010 are there, pressers from November 2010 to present are there - but this press release is gone - poof - gone.
Must be trying to hide something.
Transparency, nah! - secrecy - hell yes.

I've come to believe that in the case of ALEC
PR - doesn't really stand for Public Relations
it stands for Propaganda Regurgitating

Based on ALEC's PR reputation, I've started questioning whether there is a code of ethics in the field of PR - or if PR professionals are intentionally taught how to bend the truth, rather than tell the truth. Kinda like the "Lies, damned lies, and statistics"

Over the past months the PR department at ALEC and ALEC members have been feeding nothing but crap to the press - and unfortunately the press eats it up.

Let's go to a recent statement by ALEC PR Director Bill Meierling:
Throughout 2013, ALEC made great strides in the realm of transparency by publishing all model policies, working documents and tax disclosures, as well as opening the vast majority of all conference activities to the media. Apparently, no good deed goes unpunished.
Depends on what you call great strides
it depends on whether you did this willingly.
I know for a fact that the release of the "working documents and tax disclosures" came weeks - many weeks - after multiple public requests had been made for their release.

But back Mr. Meierling's statement that they have made great strides to transparency in 2013.

ALEC quit using ALEC in March 2013
Over the past year, the word 'ALEC' has been used to conjure up images of a distant, mysterious, Washington alphabet organization of unknown intentions,” he continued. “The organization has refocused on the words 'Exchange' and 'Council' to emphasize our goal of a broad exchange of ideas to make government work better and more efficiently.”
Don't kid yourself this has nothing to do with conjuring up  "images of a distant, mysterious, Washington alphabet organization" - it's about making it harder to do a web search on ALEC.  Good luck trying to find anything about ALEC on the web - if they aren't using ALEC.
Using "words 'Exchange' and 'Council'" does NOT emphasize any goals - it just a technique to make obfuscate "ALEC" more.
Increases transparency - not so much!

Then in May 2013 your have this little gem from ALEC to hide their documents:
© 2013 American Legislative Exchange Council. This document is the property of American Legislative Exchange Council (''ALEC"), and may not be copied or distributed without the express written permission of ALEC. Because this is an internal ALEC document ALEC believes it is not subject to disclosure under any state Freedom of Information or Public Records Act. Should you want to make copies, or if you receive a request for disclosure of this or any other ALEC document under your State's Freedom of lnformation  or Public Records Act, please contact Michael J Bowman, Senior Director, Policy and Strategic lnitiatives, ALEC.(202) _________
As reported at CMD 

Recently Meierling stated that ALEC no longer stamps communications to members as confidential.  Don't kid yourself folks - that has nothing to do with transparency - it has everything to do with lawsuits that were filed against ALEC members for using this ploy to intentionally keep their communications with ALEC out of the public's purview.

Recently Meierling stated that ALEC no longer stamps communications to members as confidential.
But - - - -in relation to that - - - it's a lie.
You can find that exact statement on pages 12 - 17 of this document - issued for the December 2013 meeting.
Or maybe Mr. Meierling means - some documents - some time in the unknown future - released to some people - somewhere.  Afterall, he said this a week after the December 2013 meeting.
Increase in honest transparency - not so much! 

And then there is this:
"opening the vast majority of all conference activities to the media"

The keynotes - and thats it.  Three days of meetings and the press gets to sit in on 4, maybe 5 one-hour presentations.  Whoopdedo!

And - they will probably stop this - since their keynotes have a problem controlling their mouths - like Cruz telling ALECers to "Stand Your Ground" and keynoter Grover Norquist telling ALECers that decapitation/ beheading should be brought back.

But,we mustn' stop there - let's review what happened at the December 2013 meeting in DC.
When asked why I'd been turned away, Meierling pointed to our previous coverage of ALEC and said it's clear that Mother Jones "fundamentally hates" ALEC.
At the same time he was explaining why I couldn't attend, Meierling stressed to me that ALEC is "moving toward transparency." To his credit, he acknowledged the irony.
"opening the vast majority of all conference activities to the media"
"Our business meetings are not open, and so the subcommittee meetings and task force meetings are not open," Meierling told Milbank.
Increase in honest transparency?

And there is this goodie:
Which happened throughout 2013
The Jeffersonian Project - brought to our attention in the article by the Guardian.
A letter included among the documents from Alec's lawyer, Alan Dye, warns that "though we do not believe that any activity carried on by Alec is lobbying, the IRS could disagree". It also makes clear that major potential donors are holding back because they are anxious about Alec's tax status.

"Alec has been approached by donors who are willing to make sizable donations, but insist that the donations go to a section 501(c)(4) organization," Dye writes.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm - no ALEC press releases about this venture during 2013.
That's what I call transparency.

Can't forget the proverbial issue with
ALEC has an obsession on "intimidation" when it comes to their precious "secret" members.

Statement by ALEC on the Coordinated Intimidation Campaign Against Its Members. (Washington, D.C.) April 11, 2012

Statement by ALEC in Response to the Outpouring of Support in Wake of Intimidation Campaign Against Its Members. (Washington, D.C.) April 12, 2012

Statement by ALEC on Intimidation Campaign Motives Becoming More Obvious by the Day
(Washington, D.C.) April 13, 2012

This past august
Senator Dick Durbin is trying to silence pro-liberty voices—like yours. He used the power of his Senate office in a deliberate attempt to intimidate private companies and citizen groups by demanding information about their work with the American Legislative Exchange Council.

And they use that tactic over and over again 
- in order for the public to feel sorry for the "persecuted" ALEC.

From December 2013

Certainly, not all the secrecy is being lifted. As a nonprofit organization, ALEC is not required by federal law to disclose its members, and it continues not to do so, in part because of fears of harassment, the group says. “Tons of organizations don’t talk about their members for fear of political intimidation,” Meierling said.

ALEC's -  real fear is really annihilation of ALEC - the IT
Cause political intimidation could look like this:

"Now that we are all [ALEC] members – you can’t use it against us in the campaign."

That was a statement made during in a radio interview  - during the argument about whether ALL South Dakota legislators should be forced to join ALEC. (Since removed from the radio stations clips - probably right-wing.)

Campaigns are coming up - and ALEC is going to be an issue across the USA.  It should be.
The elimination of ALEC legislators from state houses, 
will in turn make
ALEC useless to corporations and therefore unneeded.
ALEC implodes! 
Whooosh - gone!
So now the new year has started and ALEC will continue their secretive ways and in three months we will hear from ALEC legislators and the ALEC home office.
Throughout 2014, ALEC will continue to make great strides in the realm of transparency
Even though it's a nothing more than ultra-conservative, pro-corporate propaganda!

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