The editorial board of The Wall Street Journal and employees of Fox News have repeatedly shielded the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) from criticism without disclosing that parent company News Corp. is a member of that organization. Since mid-April the Journal has defended ALEC, a shadowy conservative organization backed by corporate giants that tailors model bills for state legislatures, in two editorials and also published two op-eds attacking the group’s critics. Fox News likewise highlighted the criticism of ALEC in at least five April segments, with Bill O’Reilly describing its opponents as “very, very vicious” and questioning whether they were engaging in “blackmail.” The network even hosted ALEC’s communications director to defend the group. In none of those segments or articles was News Corp.’s ALEC membership mentioned. This morning the Center for Media and Democracy, which rigorously monitors ALEC, was a member of ALEC’s Telecommunications and Information Technology Task Force as of April 2010. Adam Peshek, who staffs ALEC’s Education Task Force , told Education Week that News Corp. has been a member of both ALEC’s Education Task Force and Communications and Technology Task Force since January 2012. ALEC has come under fire in recent months for promoting model state legislation for restrictive voter ID laws and Kill at Will self-defense laws similar to the Florida statute cited in the Trayvon Marton killing. Progressives have responded by urging legislators, corporations, and organizations affiliated with ALEC to cut their ties. At least 19 corporate or non-profit members and 54 state legislators have left the group as a result of the campaign. News Corp.’s conservative media entities have pushed back against this campaign, claiming that progressives are “playing the race card” as part of a “remarkable political assault,” and lauded companies that have yet to disassociate themselves from ALEC. But they have not disclosed that their own parent company is one of those ALEC members. In 2010 News Corp. drew criticism — including from shareholders — following the disclosure that the company had donated $2.25 million to GOP-linked groups including the Republican Governors Association and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. After that information was revealed, Fox News offered only intermittent disclosure of those donations during their reports on gubernatorial races and the chamber. The company subsequently adopted “a new policy to publicly disclose corporate political contributions annually on News Corporation’s corporate web site.” Any ALEC membership fees paid by News Corp. are not indicated in their disclosure of corporate political contributions for 2011, which lists only contributions to candidates for office and political action and party committees.
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Matt Gertz: NO DISCLOSURE: WSJ , Fox Defended ALEC Without Noting News Corp. Is A Member