Commentary

Memo to Maine Media: Stop Being Duped by Astroturf

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Imagine you’re a Maine reporter. And imagine you get the following press releases:

  • Environmentalists for Open Pit Mining submit 10,000 petition signatures to the Legislature!
  • Hunters for 2nd Amendment Repeal rally in Augusta!
  • Loggers Urge National Park Designation for All Maine Forests!

That’s absurd, you’d say, not serious. You might do a little digging and determine that these groups are phony.

Somehow that’s not the case when it comes to phony groups that fit the progressive narrative.

Such is the case with the Maine People’s Alliance’s “Maine Small Business Coalition.”

According to the Maine Secretary of State, the “Maine Small Business Coalition” is an assumed name of the Maine People’s Alliance, Maine’s most odious dark money interest group.

MPA Steve

In other words, the “Maine Small Business Coalition” is in fact a front for anonymous wealthy donors pushing progressive policies that more often than not run counter to the interests of Maine small businesses, including, lately, an increased minimum wage.

Now, we don’t need to get into what a dumb – like, epically, third-grader dumb — idea increasing the minimum wage is. We don’t need to talk about the third-rate mind required to believe that increasing the minimum wage will help anyone. Suffice it to say that increasing the minimum wage is one of the worst anti-poverty tools the liberal imagination has ever conceived.

What I’m interested in is members of the media letting dark money groups get away with non-sense. Is it political bias? Perhaps. But more likely it’s just sloth. Reporters are too interested in filing an easy story to do two or three Google searches.

Take, for example, this story from WLBZ’s Chris Facchini. I’m sure Chris is a nice guy, but his report, whether he knows it or not, is propaganda.

Here’s his lede: “A group called the Maine Small Business coalition gathered at the Fork and Spoon Restaurant in Bangor Tuesday morning to unveil a list of 500 small businesses it says supports a measure to raise the state’s minimum wage.”

Facchini never discloses that the organization is a dark money front group. And he only lists one actual small business owner. Who are the other 499? The only reason I ask is the last time I reviewed the list of so-called small business owners associated with this phony coalition, I had a hard time finding actual small businesses with employees.

Plenty of unemployed artists. Plenty of social workers. Plenty of employees of liberal non-profits. But very few actual small businesses.

I took a minute to peruse the new list of small businesses who want to raise the minimum wage, according to MPA. Looks like they’ve added some more legitimate ones since the last time we went through this.

There’s Grass Roots of Maine, a “gift shop” that is in fact a head shop. (Seriously, check out their website.) There’s Mainly Medical Marijuana, which doesn’t even have a website. And there’s “Karaoke with Marissa.” I’d love to know how many employees Marissa has.

That’s just a small sample of what you can find if you’re just the tiniest bit curious about the myriad groups pushing for this and that.

Gotta run, I’m late for a pro-open pit mining rally.

About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson is the former editor of The Maine Wire and currently producer for the Howie Carr Show. Follow him on Twitter @Stevie_Rob or send him an email at Steve@HowieCarrShow.com.

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