-by Rebekah Wilce
April 18, 2012- 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.
ALEC 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. Breitbart's team of bloggers and apparatchiks most recently gained notoriety for getting U.S. Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod fired. Breitbart released a clip of a speech given by Sherrod deliberately edited to create the false impression that she was prejudiced against white farmers. Her actual speech was a personal tale rejecting prejudice. Sherrod was later offered resinstatement by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, with apologies.
"We Haven't Been the Subject of Many Headlines"
The blogger briefing was in response to an effective campaign by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) and allies to convince ALEC corporate funders to drop the organization due to its extreme agenda, an agenda made apparent when CMD published over 800 ALEC cookie cutter "model" bills in the summer of 2011.
Panic in the ALEC camp was evidenced in recent days by a series of increasingly defensive press releases, which included whoppers like ALEC supports "transparent, accountable government." (The ALEC origin of bills moving in state legislatures is rarely disclosed.)
Korb briefed the friendly audience by handing out a new ALEC "Frequently Asked Questions" giving bloggers the ALEC party line. She noted that they might not have heard of ALEC because "we haven't been the subject of many headlines in the last 35 years."