During most conflicts, operatives work behind the scenes sabotaging the enemy’s plans and their success depends entirely on secrecy and obscurity. If these undercover operatives are exposed, they have a choice of ceasing operations or sending a distress signal to their confederates to begin an offensive to thwart their opponent’s advancement before they are overwhelmed and destroyed. Over the past few weeks, the American Legislative Exchange Council’s (ALEC) operations to destroy democracy have been exposed to a wide audience and this week they sent out a plea for reinforcements to combat the sudden assault from activists who are overwhelming social media with revelations that in every state, ALEC’s operatives are subverting democracy with template legislation that has led to an exodus of corporate members terrified they will be associated with ALEC’s corporatist assault on democracy.
Last Tuesday, ALEC’s Director of External Relations, Caitlyn Korb, spoke at a Heritage Foundation “Bloggers Briefing” and begged conservative bloggers for assistance in promoting a “very aggressive campaign to really spread the word about what we actually do,” and although they may think their counter offensive will thwart exposure of ALEC’s assault on democracy, they are making a grave error that plays into the hands of their enemy; the American people. The Bloggers Briefing is a Heritage Foundation apparatus associated with the Koch Foundation and Cato Institute, and all three of the conservative think tanks are supporters and members of ALEC and profit from their template legislation to subvert environmental protections, voting rights, and pursue Draconian immigration laws and “kill at will” laws.
The call to arms by ALEC is a response to social media and activist campaigns to convince corporations that fund ALEC to distance themselves from the organization due to its “extreme agenda” that was exposed when the Center for Media and Democracy published over 800 “cookie cutter” model bills last summer. As giant corporations abandoned their membership in ALEC, it became evident that panic set in and they recently released a series of press releases including one particularly fallacious assertion that ALEC “supports transparent, accountable government.” For the record, ALEC’s involvement in writing “template legislation” for predominately Republican legislators is hardly ever disclosed. During Korb’s plea for help, she handed out new “Frequently Asked Questions” about ALEC that is filled with errors, and told the audience they may not have heard of ALEC because “we haven’t been the subject of many headlines in the last 35 years,” but she did not share that ALEC meets in private without members of the press or the public allowed to attend their meetings. The biggest lie in the new FAQ document is that constituents decide what is best for them and their state, but voters have no way of knowing that corporations write the laws and Republicans introduce them as their own until groups like Alec Exposed, Color of Change, Center for Media and Democracy and many other activist groups exposed ALEC’s secrets.
Now that Pandora’s Box is open and the dirty truth about ALEC is exposed, they are launching a public relations counter-offensive with a website called “I Stand with ALEC” and Korb begged conservative bloggers for “any and all institutional support.” Korb admitted that much of the political opposition emanates from social media and she noted such Twitter hastags as #ALECexposed and #dumpALEC that have “multiplied exponentially” in recent weeks. Korb told her conservative blogger audience that “We’re getting absolutely killed in social media venues — Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, 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.” However, the attacks on ALEC cannot be opposed or defended with any legitimacy and as more Americans learn about the corporate hijacking of democracy, their anger will increase and this is the point that ALEC misses and it will be their undoing.
The main stream media has been remiss to do their job and inform the public about who is writing and pushing legislation to disenfranchise voters, lengthen prison sentences, expand the war on drugs, privatize prisons, criminalize immigrants, and “thwart pre-trial release programs in favor of for-profit bail bonding” that all serve to enrich corporations. In lieu of responsible journalism, activists have turned to social media to enlighten the public on the anti-democratic agenda of the corporation-funded ALEC and the activists have “encouraged” eleven (at last count) large corporation to dump ALEC out of fear of consumer boycotts and public relation disasters that affect their profits.
[relevant-to-adsense type=”start”]ALEC[relevant-to-adsense type=”stop”] is advising their right-wing bloggers and activists to pursue Democratic strategists, journalists, and activists in comment sections of their articles and on social media outlets Twitter and Facebook, and eventually liberal blogs and the organizations guilty of exposing ALEC’s legislative malfeasance. But it is too late and too little because although every American is not connected through social media, every American knows someone who uses Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest and if there is one thing Americans are sick and tired of, it is big money and big corporations hijacking the government whether it is at the federal or the state level. There is little conservative bloggers can do in the way of comments and PR to convince the American people that giving corporations greater control of government is going to benefit the average American, and publicizing ALEC’s agenda will only incur more wrath from the people.
ALEC’s assault on democracy, though successful up until now, is over and it is entirely due to activist organizations and social media. As Americans gather more information from outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and internet news sources, their dependence on corporate-controlled main stream media to keep them informed about how laws are written and passed in states and the federal government is a thing of the past. The latest movement is exposing Democrats in state legislatures who are aligned with ALEC, and the PCCC counted 26 states with Democratic legislators in ALEC that are being targeted as “bad Democrats” to encourage them to break with the group. As the list becomes available to the public, social media will play a pivotal role in exposing recalcitrant Democrats and it will be impossible for them to remain in ALEC without facing the wrath of the blogosphere and the public.
It has been 35 years since ALEC began their assault on democracy, and now that their dirty little secret is out, social media will spread the word and be their undoing. The fact that ALEC is panicked and appealing to conservative bloggers in person and on Breitbart TV for help combating the truth is a testament to the power of social media and activists who use it to inform Americans about their vanishing democracy. The Center for Media and Democracy’s PR Watch said that ALEC sent out an SOS to garner help with their counter offensive PR campaign, but ALEC is not going to weather this disaster with conservatives making negative comments on websites or social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. Their options are limited, and choosing to fight for their anti-democratic agenda on social media will hasten their demise because for every lie supporting ALEC, there will be thousands of rebuttals based in truth that will spread across the Internet like a highly contagious virus and like a virus, truth in the right hands is deadly.