If you do a little digging you’ll find that most of the critical pieces on the conservative North Carolina businessman originate from the liberal Institute for Southern Studies (ISS), an organization headed by Chris Kromm. According to the ISS web site, the organization:
..offers an exciting vision of the region-a place brimming with a capacity for progressive change that challenges its reputation as a monolithic, conservative stronghold.
If you doubt the far-left slant of ISS you need only read the group’s web site, its publications or learn the individuals who serve on the ISS Board of Directors or as Project Advisors. They include: Ajamu Dillahunt, Outreach Coordinator of the NC Justice Center, Bob Hall, Co-Director, Democracy NC, Julian Bond, Chair of the NAACP, Jim Hightower Radio Personality, and Steve Bradberry, Lead Organizer New Orleans ACORN.
That said, it shouldn’t be hard to understand the constant attacks on Art Pope from ISS. Last I checked over half the articles on the ISS site were about Art Pope. Let’s face it, ISS has a hard time explaining voter rejection of Democrats and the left in 2010. Art Pope became the convenient bogeyman for the liberal narrative that the North Carolina businessman bought and stole the elections.
One way ISS hoped to sell their story was through a $35,000 grant from the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation to create the Freedom Journalism School (FJS). The goal of the FJS was to train an army of 50 new “media muckrakers across the south.” However, if you think the FJS is about fairness and reporting, think again. An FJS web site states:
Freedom Schools weren’t just about facts and figures; they aimed to help students draw on their own experiences and develop critical thinking so they could become agents for change. As one civil rights manual put it, questioning is a vital tool.
How objective is FJS? If you’re known by the friends you keep, it appears FJS has friends and supporters in some heavyweight organizations of the American left including The Nation and the AFL-CIO.
In class language only a good leftist could love, James Parks, a blogger at AFLCIO NOW, tells why FJS and a new army of “progressive journalists” is needed.
Powerful corporate interests like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are spending millions to block real change in health care, climate change policies and workers’ rights. They are aided by the corporate-controlled media and its budget slashing for reporting and investigative staff. Workers are fighting back against the lack of real news by looking for ways to preserve investigative journalism and get the truth out to the public.
Coincidentally, Marybe McMillan Secretary Treasurer of the North Carolina AFL-CIO is an ISS Board member.
Finally, Main Street, a blog of Working America, a community affiliate of the AFL CIO also picked up Parks’ piece last year. A Main Street blogger offers yet another unvarnished view of the real goals of FJS and Democrats.
So I’m sitting here browsing some of my other favorite blogs, drinking some coffee from my 2008 Democratic “ I Have a Dream” mug I got from a sister-in-law last year — where all the Red states turn Blue when you pour in hot coffee! — when I come across this very cool story over at the AFL-CIO Now Blog:
“Help Create a New Army of Progressive Journalists,” by James Parks
After a few informational snippets, the blogger then shares his mantra and his hopes for FJS.
More progressive journalists, better progressive journalists . . . Talk about turning Red states Blue… I think I’ll have another cup and help support the Freedom Journalism School.
FJS likes to tout a connection to the best ideals of the civil right movement. However the comparisons aren’t always positive. Like the oppressors civil rights protestors fought against, ISS seeks to intimidate anyone who dares to challenge liberal orthodoxies. ISS’s disregard for any facts that challenge its predetermined conclusions reveals an allegiance to a far-left political agenda that trumps any professed commitment to truth or journalistic standards.
Next time you see another ISS story prattling on about Art Pope and how his money bought control of the North Carolina General Assembly; remember the $35,000 grant from the Z Smith Reynolds Foundation, remember the goals of FJS and be skeptical of what you read.