Monday, January 6, 2014

Moyers' documentary slaps at Art Pope, N.C.

Let's get ready to rummmbbbllleeeee!

A Jan. 3 broadcast documentary by Bill Moyers on North Carolina's political landscape is sparking a lot of conversation, as well as heated consternation from one prominent focus of the piece.

Moyers' "North Carolina: Battleground State" is a smackdown of the influence of big money on political changes in the state as it moved "hard right" politically.

Said Moyers in the lead in to the piece on his public TV show, Bill Moyers and Company, "On this first weekend of the year, we’re looking at one state that embodies the conflicts roiling the whole country. On one side: a government controlled by the most right-wing conservatives of the Republican Party, who are remaking their state in their image, fueled by the wealth and power of one very rich man. On the other side: a very vocal mix of citizens whose resistance turned the first day of every week into a 'Moral Monday.'”

That very rich man Moyers refers to is Art Pope, N.C. GOP Gov. Pat McCrory's deputy budget director. Notes a column on Moyers' website explaining the broadcast:

“State of Conflict: North Carolina” offers a documentary report from a state that votes both blue and red and sometimes purple (Romney carried it by a whisker in 2012, Obama by an eyelash in 2008). Now, however, Republicans hold the governor’s mansion and both houses of the legislature and they are steering North Carolina far to the right: slashing taxes on corporations and the wealthy, providing vouchers to private schools, cutting unemployment benefits, refusing to expand Medicaid and rolling back electoral reforms, including voting rights.

At the heart of this conservative onslaught sits a businessman who is so wealthy and powerful that he is frequently described as the state’s own “Koch brother.” Art Pope, whose family fortune was made via a chain of discount stores, has poured tens of millions of dollars into a network of foundations and think tanks that advocate a wide range of conservative causes. Pope is also a major funder of conservative political candidates in the state."

The column goes on to describe the leader of that "very vocal mix of citizens" opposed to the changes by Pope, McCrory and the Republican-dominated legislature.

"Pope’s most ardent opponent is the Reverend William Barber, head of the state chapter of the NAACP, who says the right-wing state government has produced “an avalanche of extremist policies that threaten health care, that threaten education [and] that threaten the poor.” Barber’s opposition to the legislature as well as the Pope alliance became a catalyst for the protest movement that became known around the country as 'Moral Mondays.'”


The Pope Foundation that Art Pope chairs punched back in a response that is on its website. The response written by David W. Riggs, the Pope Foundation's executive vice president, reads in part: 
"The one-hour program falsely portrayed the charitable work of the John William Pope Foundation and of our Chairman and President, Art Pope.
"'State of Conflict: North Carolina' repeated the false claim that Art Pope and the Pope Foundation 'bought' the state of North Carolina, mostly through giving to public policy nonprofits that advocate for common sense free-market reforms...  Many left-wing operatives have hurled similar accusations for years. The claims have never stuck because they are entirely false.
"But Mr. Moyers doesn’t merely repeat a falsehood. Worse, he conceals the fact that the Pope Foundation is not the largest grantor to public policy groups in North Carolina. While the Pope Foundation gives around $5 million to conservative, free-market organizations in North Carolina each year, that number pales in comparison to the $10 million to $11 million given annually by left-wing foundations to progressive groups in the Tar Heel State.
"In 2011 alone, three progressive foundations gave generously to left-of-center, liberal groups in North Carolina: The Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation ($9.2 million in grants), the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation ($614,000 in grants), and the A.J. Fletcher Foundation ($588,000 in grants)."
Whether Moral Mondays will affect any of the legislative changes made in North Carolina last year isn't known. Barber, the NAACP and other groups and individuals have filed lawsuits to stop some of the changes. But Moral Mondays have caught fire elsewhere with groups in other states planning their own.
Moyers though contends that the N.C. story about money and influence on political changes is more than a local story. "It offers a case study of what may be the direction of American politics for years, perhaps decades, to come," he says.
We'll see.

19 comments:

Jeff Henson said...

Nice to see that the Op-Ed page has been made available to serve leftist political causes. You can read about the national plan here:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/democracy-initiative-campaign-finance-filibuster-sierra-club-greenpeace-naacp

Is this type of in-kind contribution the sort of big money you want to remove from politics?

Jeff Henson said...

From the Mother Jones article: "It was so exciting," says Michael Brune, the Sierra Club's executive director. "We weren't just wringing our hands about the Koch brothers. We were saying, 'I'll put in this amount of dollars and this many organizers.'"

Koch money bad, union and leftist special interest group money good.

Jeff Henson said...

How many of those organizers made it to Raleigh on Monday mornings last year?

Jeff Henson said...

More from the Mother Jones article:

"According to a schedule of the meeting, the attendees focused on opportunities for 2013. On money in politics, Nick Nyhart of Public Campaign, a pro-campaign-finance-reform advocacy group, singled out Kentucky, New York, and North Carolina as potential targets for campaign finance fights. . . And in North Carolina, the fight is more about countering the influence of a single powerful donor, the conservative millionaire Art Pope, whose largesse helped install a Republican governor and turn the state legislature entirely red."

Jeff Henson said...

One more thing, note where the meeting was held: the national headquarters of the country's largest teacher's union-the National Education Association(NEA). We sure have heard a lot about teacher pay lately, haven't we?

Exit 0 said...

Someone's got enough time on his hands for damage control.

...and "largess" is a perfect term for the kind of evil Art Pope, the Kochs, and their kind are using to ruin this nation.

They are no better than the Taliban.

Jeff Henson said...

An appropriate sentiment from someone not posting under their name.

Archiguy said...

Hey Jeff, why not just cut & paste the whole article since you seem to be determined to use pieces of it to defend Pope's ultra-conservative largess?

What Pope's mouthpiece fails to mention is that while liberal groups have reluctantly recognized the need to fight fire with fire or else get swamped by unrebutted propaganda, there is no single donor on the left who can remotely match Pope's financial firepower. Which means this radical rightward turn the state has taken is, to a large degree, Pope's personal vision, his personal agenda.

Which, of course, is the whole point of Moyer's show. Hopefully, many of those who automatically punched the GOP buttons during the last election without realizing what the consequences would be will be tuning into this show. Should be a real eye-opener for some. For many of the rest of us, Pope's regressive agenda for North Carolina is no surprise.

Jeff Henson said...

From OpenSecrets.org--Top All-Time Political Donors, 1989-2012 (percentages reflect allocation between Democrats first, then Republicans):

1 ActBlue
$93,698,786 99% 0%
2 American Fedn of State, County & Municipal Employees
$61,147,604 81% 1%
3 AT&T Inc
$56,912,532 41% 57%
4 National Education Assn
$53,978,306 62% 4%
5 National Assn of Realtors
$51,392,552 44% 47%
6 Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
$44,911,220 92% 1%
7 Goldman Sachs
$44,797,483 53% 44%
8 United Auto Workers
$41,950,358 71% 0%
9 Carpenters & Joiners Union
$39,257,871 74% 9%
10 Service Employees International Union
$38,065,365 84% 2%
11 Laborers Union
$37,580,060 85% 6%
12 American Federation of Teachers
$36,833,725 89% 0%
13 Communications Workers of America
$36,305,998 87% 0%
14 Teamsters Union
$36,272,585 88% 5%
15 JPMorgan Chase & Co
$34,307,217 48% 51%
16 United Food & Commercial Workers Union
$33,919,259 86% 0%
17 United Parcel Service
$32,202,244 35% 64%
18 Citigroup Inc
$32,141,122 48% 50%
19 National Auto Dealers Assn
$31,800,260 31% 68%
20 Machinists & Aerospace Workers Union
$31,635,097 98% 1%

Exit 0 said...

Here you go, Jeff.

Scott Bryan

Keep up the good troll work.

Jeff Henson said...

Thanks Scott. Here is an article you should read before you start comparing people to the Taliban:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/chi-0111260264nov26,0,2533360.story

silicon28 said...

Jeff Henson:

We heard you (and got you) the first time... No need to keep on harping 8 separate times... Makes you look either fanantical or simply identifies you as a troll...

Exit 0 said...

...well prepared troll, at that.

The Koch/Pope vision is to create a ruling class. Pure and simple.

I don't have anything to cut and paste. That's just what I think.

Jeff Henson said...

Scott, I would rather hear what you think about the startling similarity between the attacks regularly reported/opined on in this newspaper and the agenda of the national meeting reported by the left-wing Mother Jones magazine.

Archiguy said...

Jeff - Get something straight. There is no left-wing bias at this newspaper, and thank God for that. They report the news, that's it. The op-ed pages regularly regurgitate the right-wing rantings of Charles Krauthammer, Walter Williams, and Cal Thomas, as well as the more well-reasoned conservative opinions of Kathleen Parker, George Will, David Brooks, Ross Douthat and several others. To the extent that the editorial staff opines, they do so from a position of facts, compassion and reason. You would do well to heed the factual information contained in those commentaries. You might learn something.

People like you, who view everything through a red-colored lens, see every other media outlet as part of some vast left-wing conspiracy that encompasses everything not named FOX News or heard on the AM band of the radio (a 100% conservative playground). What you fail to understand is that progressive thinkers neither need nor want propaganda. The facts are just fine for them, thank you very much. It's the right-wingers who seem to require a steady diet of misinformation and propaganda to reinforce their own preconceptions, their own fiercely guarded cognitive dissidence. It's why FOX News and Rush Limbaugh exist and prosper.

This is the world we live in today, and why those who would subvert The Truth, writ large, have so much influence and power. It's why the Art Popes of the world are so dangerous.

Exit 0 said...

Go troll something else.

I think about putting my kid through college, but somehow, in it's effort to look out for the working class, Art Pope thought it'd be a swell idea lose the tax break for college savings. What the hell does Mother Jones have to do with that?

Seems to me, by the amount of trolling around here lately, Art's got problems. I read where FNC's going to be in serious damage control mode soon, too.

Glad you've got a job.

Jeff Henson said...

Oh my, irony abounds. Many concerns expressed about undue financial influence and power in support of a television program produced and promoted with the support of government and private foundation (rich guys') money. Much self-praise of leftists love of "facts, compassion and reason," while demonstrating that love with words such as "evil," "Taliban," and "trolls." Progressive thinkers "neither need nor want propaganda?" Then perhaps you can explain "if you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance, period." If it is "The Truth" you want, I suggest you open your mind and consider opinions different than your own, and facts that may undermine your prejudices.

Skylark said...

I bet Moyer's documentary was funded by Soros.

samwise55freedom said...

If you do not think there is a bias.. Your lying to yourself... If you think Mcory is not a puppet? Some of the things being done in this state are long over due... I don't think showing ID to vote is a big deal.. What has been done to teachers is wrong..