So an email arrives last Friday encouraging me to visit a website called The US Voice.
Much is made in the email about how The US Voice is very much a nonpartisan website. I mean, a trowel couldn’t have slathered it more thickly. All they’re really trying to do, according to their propaganda copy, is promote the right of anyone to express their political views.
Sounds good, right? Almost too good to be true. Still, I was game to check it out.
So I did.
And then I found my anger — and suspicions — rapidly rising.
The email began with this:
Are your congressional representatives listening to you?
We have the right, and the obligation, to tell our elected representatives what we think. Lobbyists and special interest groups have been able to affect legislation because most people do not have an efficient way to get their voice heard.
We are living in a period of momentous changes — some we agree with and some we don’t.
Something about the tone struck me as strange — hostile, if you will, to the progressive point of view. Oh, I’m not at all suggesting that the organization running this site, of which more in a moment, isn’t adhering to whatever the law may require in terms of appearing nonpartisan. I don’t think there’s anything illegal here at all.
But I do think the site is not non-partisan. Check out the right-wing-leaning syntax in these sample topic questions posed in the email I received:
Will the Fall mid-term elections be a referendum on President Obama’s policies?
Should the Attorney General establish a plea bargain with the ‘Underwear Bomber’ just so we can have enough evidence to prosecute the American Imam in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki, who is already on the CIA’s kill or capture list as a terrorist?
Should the Bush Tax Cuts be allowed to expire for everyone?
Should either party in Congress be allowed to attach unrelated bills to essential legislation in order to force the opposing party to pass a bill that does not have enough support on its own?
Should the Bush Tax Cuts be extended only for those people earning less than $250,000?
Notice how the first question asks the reader to frame things in terms of President Obama — not, for example, in terms of the Teabag psychos? Why couldn’t the question have been: “Will the Fall mid-term elections be a referendum on the strength of the Tea Party?”
Notice how the second question asks the reader to weigh treating a terrorist (or suspected terrorist) with kid gloves — and implying that the U.S. Attorney General is being treasonous by considering such an action?
Notice how the third question spells “Bush Tax Cuts” in initial caps — as if the legislation that bubbled and nuked the American economy was the same thing as, say, the Civil Rights Act?
Notice how the fourth question frames partisanship? Who determines what is and is not “related”? The writer of the question?
Notice how the fifth question once again puts “Bush Tax Cuts” in initial caps — and suggests that the rich are somehow being victimized by the progress approach to progressive taxation?
I don’t buy any of it. So I started digging. The site is run by something called The Summit Group, which is headed by a finance guy named Hal McIntyre. I can’t prove — yet — that he’s a right-wing water carrier, but I suspect he’s far more sympathetic to a widely deregulated financial industry than a financial industry that exemplifies ethics and corporate responsibility. Look at this Powerpoint presentation, delivered by McIntyre, I found online. The title is:
Emerging From The Ashes — What Can History Teach Us?
Or: Where’s Fawkes when you need him?
As in Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. Does TheUSVoice.com want violent revolution in America?
So I’ve written to these people, located at 48 Wall Street, directly. In my email, I requested more information on who owns the site and why it is being operated.
Why isn’t specific, direct, transparent information on who owns and runs this site on the site? What’s being hidden?
I hope to find out.