Netroots 2014: Liberal Ideology, Conservative Bashing… And Google?

Chris Walker Executive Director, 2nd Vote
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Today, one of the largest left-wing gatherings kicks off in Detroit – Netroots Nation. Self-labeled as a “giant family reunion for the left,” it will bring together liberal elected officials and activists from across the country. Altogether, around 3,000 are expected this year.

As in year’s past, we can expect extreme positions, conservative bashing and religion bashing. The conference will have 80 different panels and 40 training sessions covering topics like “Transmilitary: the Path to Full Equality in the U.S. Military,” “Religious Exemptions: The Next Frontier for Progressive Battles,” and “Does God Love Women Who’ve Had Abortions?”

A communications strategist will be leading a training session on the proper rules for social media, blogs and email – the same person who tweeted a joke about Mary getting a “back-manger” abortion of Jesus. It’s curious how folks like this can, as the conference has stated, “develop a deeper understanding of the rules that apply to online advocacy.” Another participant tweeted that she, “wishes the US would let Iran inspect its nuclear facilities. Equal treatment of 2 countries who allegedly sponsor terrorism too much to ask?”

These examples are just a few of what promises to be a great show of “Left Gone Wild.” Why then are corporate titans like Google and Facebook spending money to support it? As major sponsors, they are giving money to sponsor panels such as “Humor’s Unparalleled Ability To Deliver Challenging Information To The Public.” It sounds innocuous until you look at the participant – comedian Lee Camp’s collection of offensive tweets include “It makes sense the pope is stepping down. He was getting too old to execute his irrelevance adequately,” and telling the GOP to “go f*** themselves.” Let’s not forget Camp’s rant about Catholics where he compares the Bible to Harry Potter fantasy.

These activists have every right to believe and support the fringe stuff described above. However, sponsorships from companies like Google and Facebook implies a tacit support of these extreme positions and beliefs as well. Does Google agree that the 1.2 billion people worldwide who are members of the Catholic Church should have their faith likened to fantasy? Their dollars say that they do.

Those dollars are actually your dollars, however. If you’re a conservative, the next time you use Google or Facebook, keep in the back of your mind that you’re helping fund conventions like Netroots. It might make you want to try out Yahoo every once in a while, or e-mail your pictures instead of posting them on your wall.

Other sponsors for Netroots include the Human Rights Campaign, International Planned Parenthood Federation, NARAL Pro-Choice America, Sierra Club and The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. Do Google and Facebook think these radical left-wing groups are good company?

If so, it’s time for conservatives to step up and say enough. It’s time to hold our dollars accountable and not allow the companies we love to use turn around and spend money on groups that perpetuate such hate and intolerance as described above.

To Google’s credit, they were a sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2012, but after some aggressive tactics from websites like DailyKos, their sponsorship was notably absent in 2013 and 2014. So, we’re left again with companies embracing an extreme left-wing ideology with their dollars, while not having an ideological counterbalance from sponsoring conservative organizations and events.

Chris Walker is the Executive Director of 2nd Vote, a revolutionary new shopper app that keeps your spending aligned with your values.