By Michael Bryan
In Phoenix, the Arizona GOP state legislative caucus is right now receiving their marching orders from the 1% at the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is essentially just a pimp, arranging assignations between corporate greed-heads and political hatchetmen for hire to ram lobbyist-written model legislative wish lists through the legislatures of Arizona and the other states.
ALEC is not dumb; in fact, they are pretty smart. They want to operate in secret as much as possible. Their corporate sponsors have paid very well to have right-wing legislative hire boys carry their bills back to their capitals and drop them in the hopper, and they don't want any sunlight on their furtive couplings.
BlogForArizona.com asked for press credentials so that we might gawk at the red light district as our state lawmakers let their hair down. It almost goes without saying that, after ignoring us as much as possible, they turned us down. Here's my request:
I would like to apply for press credentials for BlogForArizona.com during the Phoenix Summit for three of our correspondents.
We would also like permission to make video and audio recordings during the event.
BlogForArizona is not a personal blog, but neither is it funded by any type of institution listed in your Media Policy page. We are funded solely through private and reader donations and ad revenues. BlogForArizona has been publishing continuously with since 2003 and has multiple regular and guest authors and has an established a reputation as a news and opinion publication in the Arizona political community. We feel it vitally important that independent media, such as BlogForArizona.com, be allowed to attend your event with press credentials.
If you require further information, or need me, as Publisher, to complete some more formal application process, please let me know what I must do.
Michael D. Bryan, Esq.
BlogForArizona.com Editor and Publisher
What is most notable about their rejection is the truly risible reason they gave for it. This is the curt note I finally got from their media handler after a bit of waiting and prodding:
Thank you for your interest in covering the American Legislative Exchange Council’s States and Nation Policy Summit November 30-December 2. We will not be able to issue media credentials for BlogforArizona.com as our media policy states that “[j]ournalists may not register as ‘media’ if their news outlet is funded by a think-tank, political party/candidate, activist/advocacy organization, lobbying organization, trade association or corporation.” Please let us know if you have any further questions.
Of course they don't want independent citizen-journos like me and my crew there, but their justification of their brush-off is just so deeply ironic and revealing. ALEC is funded by dues-paying members who are think-tanks, advocacy organizations, lobbyists, trade associations and corporations. They shouldn't be allowed at their own conference!
They don't really care about whether any 'media' in attendance is biased, however, they just don't want to allow their potential client-base access to their stable of perky legislators for free. You don't get to come to ALEC and rub naughty bits with the political class unless you pay for the privilege: no freebies. And no kissing on the mouth...
Of course, their credentialing policy couldn't possibly apply to BlogForArizona.com. Their excuse for refusing us is absurd on its face. BlogForArizona.com is what we attorneys call 'judgement proof'; we have no funding and no assets. We all volunteer our time and effort. We get an occasional private donation or ad placement that keeps the lights on.
I wrote back to Ms. Buss:
BlogForArizona.com is not “funded by a think-tank, political party/candidate, activist/advocacy organization, lobbying organization, trade association or corporation.” Your policy does not automatically exclude blogs, does it?
I never got an answer. If you are out there Ms. Buss (and I bet you are reading this), we're still awaiting an answer - and our media credentials. Hey, there's always next year...
In the meantime, if you want a good hard look inside the whore house that is ALEC, try People For the American Way's report on ALEC's activities in Arizona, or the Center for Media and Democracy's website, ALECExposed.org. You can also come to Drinking Liberally at the Shanty on 4th Ave this Sunday at 6pm where Lisa Hoffman will lead a discussion of ALEC.