A low-profile Google Group used by over 1,000 state and national leftwing leaders and activists has been discovered thanks to Wisconsinâ€™s open records law. A Media Trackers inquiry into the actions of a University of Wisconsin professor turned up records and communications from â€œGamechanger Salon,â€ an online community that provides a forum for leftwing activists and leaders to share tactics, strategies and opinions.
Operating as a closed Google Group, much of what the network does is unavailable for public review. However, a document listing the networkâ€™s membership and a policy manual describing the mission and ground rules for the entity were accessible when Media Trackers discovered a non-password protected link in the emails obtained through an open records request of a University of Wisconsin professor.
Media Trackers also attempted to join the group but our request to join was denied.
My next question is, on what planet would this be the least bit scandalous or shocking? Yes, there are closed Google groups. I’ve belonged to some in the past, including one where we talked about leftie politics, although none are active any more. Another one was for religious leftie political activists. Depraved, huh?
Just because the groups were secret doesn’t mean we were planning anything illegal. It’s just nice to be able to schmooze with like-minded folks without having discussion threads broken up by right-wing trolls. One of the closed Google groups, for a group of freelance writers, morphed into a closed Facebook group, which is better because it doesn’t clutter up my email inbox so much. We vent a lot.
So again, on what planet is a closed Google group of leftie activists and policy wonks somehow shocking? On Planet Wingnut, of course. Here’s what Sourcewatch has to say about Media Tracers:
Media Trackers is an investigative non-profit launched in 2011 in Wisconsin, sponsored by American Majority, to “dig up dirt on the left” rather than continuing to be “on the receiving end of damaging stories developed by liberal groups such as Media Matters and the Center for American Progress.” American Majority’s Drew Ryun “envisions a state-based network of similar non-profits.” So far, Media Trackers “has gotten considerable in-state pick-up on quick-hit videos and pieces aimed at what it says are errors, hypocrisy or offensive behavior by labor unions and their Democratic allies.”
And these super sleuths have discovered a closed Google group. I bet they’re waiting for their Pulitzers even now.
Media Trackers also published the Google group’s policy manual, which clearly describes a group that’s about sharing ideas and views among colleagues.
On Planet Wingnut, of course, anything lefties do is, by definition, evil. So lefties are not to be allowed private conversations. We must be publicly monitored at all times. And don’t doubt that if these whackjobs ever had complete control of the government they’d probably make us all wear monitors and register with the government as public menaces, because Freedom.