Last night on the O'Reilly Factor, pundit Bill O'Reilly weighed in on the national debate surrounding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). In his "Impact Segment," O'Reilly defended ALEC and attacked the groups that are asking corporations to drop their ALEC membership.
As the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) has documented, ninety-eight percent of ALEC's funding comes from its corporate members like Johnson & Johnson and from foundations like the Koch family foundations -- and without that funding, ALEC could not advance policies like voter suppression or the Shoot to Kill/Stand Your Ground law at issue in Florida. O'Reilly focused his harshest criticism for the online civil rights group Color of Change, calling them a "far left group threatening economic pain in order to intimidate American companies" and a group "waging an economic war against conservative groups and people it doesn't like."
"This crew has been around for awhile, this 'Color of Change' business," he said, noting their successfully campaign to get Glenn Beck off the air, saying "they are very very vicious in what they do."
Right-wing talker Laura Ingraham agreed. "Color of Change does not want free speech," she said.
Calling the public pressure campaign that has convinced eight major U.S. corporations to drop ALEC in the past week "fascist," O'Reilly said, "this is what the totalitarian regimes do, they basically say: 'you don't talk unless you agree with us, and if you do, we will punish you with varying degrees of punishment.'"
"Capitalism is on the line," Ingraham said.
But according to Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson, "we are absolutely pursuing a free market campaign."
"Our questions are to the corporations who every day come to black Americans and want us to buy their services or want us to use their products," he said interview in an interview earlier in the week. "Our question is, where do they stand? What are their values? We are absolutely pursuing a free market campaign that really allows corporations to make a choice: do they want to stand with an organization that promotes 'Stand your Ground / Kill at Will' laws? Do they want to stand with an organization that promotes discriminatory voter ID laws and Voter Suppression laws?"
CMD, Common Cause, People for the American Way, Progress Now, Color of Change, and a whole host of organizations are urging customers to contact the companies bankrolling ALEC about its agenda. Many have applauded Coke, Pepsi, McDonald's, Wendy's, Intuit, MARS, Kraft, and the Arizona Public Service Company for listening to their customers and dropping their ALEC membership.