Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is MacIver Trying to “Indoctrinate” the Media?

The same week that brought false accusations from the right about "indoctrinating" students, we also may have witnessed what a real attempt at indoctrination looks like. Ironically it was a right wing organization that appeared to be trying their hand at the indoctrination of the media. Last week when the MacIver institute announced their plan to produce political news reports, their executive director and former Scott Jensen Chief of Staff, Brett Healy made several gag inducing comments about their new plan. He claimed that his right wing organization was merely trying to "help fill a void in locally-produced news coverage and analysis that grows larger by the day as news operations are scaled back for economic reasons." Yeah, and where was that bridge that you were trying to sell us?

At the beginning of this week we got our first taste of exactly how this group of right wing partisans planned to "help fill a void". Apparently the main ingredient of that "filling" was a healthy dose of deception. The Wisconsin State Journal reported on Sunday that the used-to-be TV reporter that MacIver hired was deceptive with the subjects of his first two interviews. He walked into interviews with cameras from a local TV station but didn't bother telling the public officials that he actually worked for MacIver and that the footage would also be edited to fit their ideological fancy.

The MacIver institute and their fake reporting are partially funded by one of the traditional sugar daddies of the extreme right wing, the Bradley Foundation. Just last year this foundation gave grants to many extreme right wing groups including those of the Astroturf variety that are trying to stop real health care reform (Freedom Works and Americans for Prosperity). Likewise the Bradley Foundation reported giving MacIver a 2008 grant of $50,000.

With right wing sugar daddies like the Bradley Foundation throwing that kind of money at MacIver, why couldn't they afford to provide their used-to-be TV reporter with his own equipment? They certainly could afford it couldn't they? Why did he have to "borrow" equipment from the real media? Heck, if the MacIver Institute and the Bradley Foundation cared so much about the lack of resources for local political reporting, why didn't they just donate the funds to local media?

The fact that MacIver "borrowed" equipment from the local media and then misrepresented what was actually going on suggests an awful lot about their real motivations. It seems clear that they are merely trying to blur some very important lines between the real media and those with a clear right wing agenda. Thus far it seems that their real goal is to "indoctrinate" and/or infiltrate the local media and produce reporting that more resembles Fox "News" than it does objective journalism.

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