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« Deep Roots bonds | Main | Liz Lemonism »

Mar 25, 2010


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From Bruce Barlett:

"Since, he is no longer affiliated with AEI, I feel free to say publicly something he told me in private a few months ago. He asked if I had noticed any comments by AEI "scholars" on the subject of health care reform. I said no and he said that was because they had been ordered not to speak to the media because they agreed with too much of what Obama was trying to do."

"Rigid conformity is being enforced, no dissent is allowed, and the conservative brain will slowly shrivel into dementia if it hasn't already."

That tent keeps shrinking by the second.


It's not just the opinion pages.

Puppets are routinely tapped as "expert" sources on all manner of issues. When a reporter needs a government-hater to say nasty things about public schools or public anything, the Puppetshow serves up a smorgasbord of bobble-heads, all armed with bullets from Art Pope's multimillion dollar opinion manufacturing machine.

To his credit, Binker is better than most of the capitol corpse reporters. The McClatchy gang, on the other hand, has the Puppetshow on speed dial.

Account Deleted

I admire Art Pope very much. He was instrumental in founding the NC Libertarian Party and puts his family money where his mouth is.

I've also had the pleasure to meet him on at least three occasions I can recall and he is one of the most humble and mild-mannered people I have ever met. He also took the time on each occasion to converse with me as one man to another with no degree of difference in our social position.

Also if it wasn't for Art Pope you would have no idea about Cannonsgate, Ruffin Poole or Mike Easley's corruption.

Have a nice evening.


Everybody I know who has met Art Pope says the same about him. Humble, mild-mannered, etc. One of my friends knows him very well and thinks he's a heck of a guy. I don't have any reason to doubt any of you. In fact, I admire him too. He took his daddy's money and built an influence-peddling machine that is absolutely unrivaled in North Carolina.

Plus he's a visionary. Art was well ahead of Citizens United in funneling corporate money into electioneering ... and even founded a scheme called Republican Legislative Majority to into local elections. (So much for his commitment to the Libertarian Party.) He and his friends personally financed the reactionary takeover of the Wake County School Board last fall.

It's nice that he treated you as an equal human being.

Account Deleted

Hey James. My understanding is that he helped get the LP up and going because he felt the political competition would be good.

The RLM was to put the Morganite traitors in their place because the dominant influence peddling organization in the state, NCDP, had successfully bribed Republican legislative leaders with cash payouts.

I've loosely followed the nuttiness in Wake County via facebook. I guess it is too bad that conservatives got together and fought to win a local election instead of just letting the establishment have it.

Elections have consequences they say.


"Also if it wasn't for Art Pope you would have no idea about Cannonsgate, Ruffin Poole or Mike Easley's corruption."

Not important.

What is important is that Pope and his friends are responsible for the hate-filled, racist Wake school board in Protzie's eyes.

Account Deleted

Wow man, I found this political activist in Colorado who is doing the same thing as Art Pope. Better get somebody on it quick.

Just a guess

C'mon, Jeff. You know the drill - when Liberals get organized and make things happen, it's "community empowerment" and "grass-roots activism." When Conservatives do the same thing, it's "influence peddling" and "buying elections."


...and Astroturfing

Ed Cone

I understand that comments often refer to other comments, but the post does make it clear that this stuff happens across the political spectrum.

The post is about the media's understanding of these efforts, not the absolute goodness or badness of the organizations.

Not all organizational efforts are astroturfing, but it does happen, and it's generally useful to understand who funds things and what the parameters of an organization actually are.

Jim Caserta

I don't see as much of a problem, if the byline states the affiliation in a clear way, and offers say a superfast connection to an explanation of an organization's mission - those blue underlined thingys.

Frum & the health-care experts at AEI were always free to speak their minds, it's just that doing so would be counter to their job.

Say I wrote an op-ed critical of the Google initiative, and my affiliation was listed as TWIN - use your imagination. A news organization would be rightly skeptical of what I wrote, and should either refuse to publish or offer a counterpoint. Now imagine if I'm a system engineer at TWIN (T-W In Nc) who saw the technical superiority of the Google network, would you expect me to pen an op-ed on the benefits of Google's network?

Often, think-tanks can do dubious analysis - I wrote about a very flawed study put out by the Heritage Foundation, which when real analysis was done, provided a different conclusion than the one HF was touting. Sometimes their (think-tanks in general) analysis is good. Can't good and bad analysis come from individuals as well as t-t's?

Maybe have as a byline, 'this work reflects the author's ideas as well as the stances held by (insert think tank name here)'.


A correction to Ed's post about Frum leaving AEI that I doubt Ed would make himself because it doesn't fit his anti-conservative narrative:

"Insiders at AEI, to whom I spoke at length, told me that Frum’s version of the story is “quite, quite untrue” (as one put it). The truth, in fact, is that he was asked—unsuccessfully—to pull his weight at the think-tank. A fellow told me: “David didn’t come to the office very much, and long before his blog, Arthur [Brooks, the AEI president] arranged a lunch with him to talk about coming more often to the office to earn his salary."


Oh, that just can't be so, Sam!

After all, it's Cone himself that tells us Frum is a "truth-telling" sort of guy!

His "progressive" sources say it. Cone believes it. That settles it.

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