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Hullabaloo


Friday, August 15, 2014

 
4 Solutions To Move America Forward's Dishonorable Actions Toward Pro-Troops Groups  by Spocko

There is a certain satisfaction predicting the future. You can say, "I told you so." but then what? Hopefully it gives you credibility for next time, so others listen, can be prepared and not make the same mistake. 

 Of course some predicting is easy.  When ProPublica did a story on Move America Forward I said this:
Bookmark my words, they will circle the wagons because of the “hit piece” by the liberal media and then they will use it to raise money. All accusations will be denied, and they look forward to their, “day in court” where they will be proved right. 
Sure enough Red State runs Move America Forward Responds to ProPublica Allegations filled with denials as well as some serious name calling and accusations of defamation.  I contacted ProPublica to see if Red State called them to respond to MAFs comment.  Red State didn't but ProPublica responded to MAFs comments and accusations anyway.

In my piece I pointed out how incredibly smart MAF's people were to not respond to ProPublica's request for comments.   This enabled them to later go to their own media and explain everything and classify it all as a liberal 'hit piece.'

Their one mistake was not responding quickly enough to their own media who wondered if the allegations might be true.

However when someone on their side asked for facts, their true loyalties were questioned. In between the, "All charities are rackets" and "I do my research before giving." Ed Morrissey at Hot Air is accused of working for George Soros. (The ultimate insult!) Even after he runs the full MAF reply later that day. But he gets the message and backs off.

When people talk about "getting money out of politics" it becomes this abstract discussion about how it will be done. There aren't lot of "on the ground" stories about how the people who are GETTING this money will react to any attempts to slow down or stop the money.

My work alerting the advertisers of right wing radio shows showed me how people and organizations react when you get between them and their revenue stream.  In that case the advertisers were being hurt. Their brands were tainted by the close association with the vicious, horrific comments of the hosts.

In this case I wondered, "Who is being hurt by the actions of Move America Forward?"  The troops were getting care packages, maybe not a many or as big as they could be because of all the overhead, but so what?

The people being hurt are all the charities of any strip who DO follow the rules.  If people see that only suckers follow the rules, why follow them at all?

To be honorable? Honor is important in the military and for many people on the right and left.

I also said these groups are extremely savvy legally, financially, politically and in the media and that opinion or reports from anyone except their own investigators would be discounted.

What I didn't understand is that even thoughtful people on the right who understand the benefit of investigations from their own side to "see the facts resolved" offer little hope of anything happening.

As "Ace of Spades" says
The right-leaning media has a weakness, which is that it is tiny, and furthermore, that the actual reportorial arm of that media is disproportionately small, even within the small universe of the right-wing media. We're very heavy with commentators, and very light with reporters. 
So reportorial resources are very limited, and any right-leaning paper has to choose, for example, whether to put one of its few reporters on this story for a couple of weeks, or keep that reporter on a story more likely to produce well-received stories on Obama's scandals. 
The net result is often that exposés like this are never proven, nor disproven, to the satisfaction of anyone on the right.
Now while I'd debate how small the "right-leaning media" is I agree with the point that reportorial resources from a right-leaning paper will go to producing Obama scandal stories rather than in a case like this.

What is to be done?

The Government is hamstrung by successful mau-mauing from the right (btw did you know that there is a moratorium on all IRS investigations?) and no media is to be trusted, what are the people who were harmed to do? What about the people who were mislead?

Organizations like Charity Navigator, that do look into compliance in various areas, build on information from the IRS as well as some of their own suggested guidelines.  (BTW, Move America Forward got zero stars.) But Charity Navigator has  no compelling authority for any change, people are free to ignore them.

A few solutions.

1) Suggest to the organizations harmed they request compensation from the group that didn't follow the rules.  There is no legal compulsion for the offending organization to comply, but it is the honorable thing to do.

2) Look into legal remedies, copyright law comes to mind when it comes to the use of photos without permission.

3) The donors who feel they were misled, and don't fell the explanations given are enough could ask for their money back and give it to a group they have more confidence in.

4) People who don't like to confront, prosecute or require anyone to follow any rules can find better groups and give them money with the hope that the good groups will drive out the bad.

So specifically on this topic I suggest that the people at Operation Gratitude, Adopt a Platoon, and Operation Oreo, a project of Alpharetta Methodist Church in Georgia look to Move America Forward for compensation. I doubt they will tell you how much they took in, but they will tell you how strapped they are and why they had to use your photos for free.)

I would like them to keep in mind when MAF talks about how broke they are their Administrative and Fundraising expenses are 46.6%. Compare to Operation Gratitude's Administrative and fundraising expenses of only 1.34% of their budget:  98.16% of all donations are devoted to Program Services.

Everyone should check things out for themselves, especially if you don't trust anyone, but when all means of oversight are destroyed or devalued we are all harmed.

8-16-2014 UPDATED HEADLINE, named Hot Air writer as Ed Morrissey

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