PBS’s Moyers Presents Anti-ALEC Video

Common Cause, backed by veteran journalist, bashes conservative group on public television.

Bill Moyers will present “The United States of ALEC” documentary in conjunction with Common Cause, which he also funds. The United States of ALEC will premiere on public television sometime in late September, 2012 (date and time still undetermined). Moyers, who Common Cause called a “veteran journalist,” has been instrumental in both funding and publicizing the attacks against the conservative group ALEC.

The official website for “The United States of ALEC,” which is run by Common Cause, refers to the documentary as “a presentation of Bill Moyers” and states that it will be featured on “Moyers & Company.”

In an email, Bob Edgar of Common Cause urged readers to “help uncover ALEC” by either watching the movie or hosting “a viewing party.”  The email called the documentary an “exposé of the American Legislative Exchange Council,” the “most influential corporate-funded political organization few Americans have ever heard about.”

Edgar continued his attack against ALEC and its members in the email and the website also includes a petition to “withdraw from ALEC.” “No single one of us can take on the absurdly wealthy multi-national corporations that make up ALEC. Alone, we can't stop them from co-opting our lawmakers to enact disastrous, corporate-cozy laws that undermine the public good,” the email adds.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a non-profit organization that promotes state-based policy initiatives. ALEC has been heavily criticized by the left for its politically conservative stance on many issues.

Moyers heads the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, which has given away $1,360,000 to groups leading the attack on ALEC. That point was ignored in four stories written about ALEC on Moyers’ website in 2012, even though Moyers has been criticized for his connections in the past. Similarly, billionaire George Soros also donated more than $12 million to those same organizations.

  • Center for American Progress ($1,100,000)
  • Center for Media and Democracy ($250,000 in the 2000s and $75,000 in the 90s)
  • People for the American Way ($10,000)
  • The Schumann Center was also listed as a foundation donor in Common Causes 2011 annual report, although the amount of money given was unspecified.

The same four organizations that received funds from Moyers have also received money from Soros’s Open Society Foundation since 2000, totaling, $12,338,491.

The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics expressly states that “Journalists should avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived,” and that they should “remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility,” and, furthermore, that journalists should “shun secondary employment, political involvement … if they compromise journalistic integrity.”

The veteran journalist has hosted “Moyers & Company,” which is distributed by American Public Media, since his return to the airwaves in January 2012. Moyers had tried a brief retirement beginning in 2010.