“Months before the conference, my family booked a hotel room at the same resort as ALEC,” reported Brendan Keefe of WXIA TV, also known as 11 Alive. It’s the NBC affiliate in Atlanta. “We found the fabled back room where the laws are made,” he told their audience. It was sweeps week and NBC had a scoop.
What he failed to mention is that the event held by the right-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council was open to the press, he did not register for the event, he registered at the hotel under an assumed name, and the hotel was not a resort, just a hotel in Savannah. More particularly, it was the Hyatt in Savannah.
Brendan Keefe, in his video, tries to claim that because he is Georgia media he is credentialed for ALEC’s event. This obfuscates the fact that Keefe did not register for ALEC’s event. He’s demanding access to the event held by a private group that, irony of ironies, he could have gotten into had he bothered to register.
But Keefe wanted a sensational story for sweeps week, so he manufactured scandal where there was none. Then he hounded people at the event where, again, had he registered he’d have been given direct access. He also claimed to be a registered guest at the hotel, but the hotel told ALEC’s communications department that if he was a registered guest, he had checked in under a different name.
At the end of Brendan Keefe’s story, he cited Georgia legislator Nan Orrock who claims she dropped out of the event because it was just a bunch of “angry white men.” What Brendan Keefe did not report is that Orrock is a member of several closed left-wing groups, including serving as Leadership Chair of Progressive States Action’s Public Education Working Group. The Progressive States Action group is a left-wing competitor to ALEC.
In fact, throughout Brendan Keefe’s report he failed to disclose any of these things while following a lot of the left-wing talking points put out by ALEC’s competitors. He manufactured the story for sweeps week, relied on leftwing legislators to attack their conservative counterparts, claimed things that cannot be substantiated, and most importantly failed to note that had he just registered for the event, he could have gone behind the very doors he claimed were closed in face.
I talked to Bill Meierling, the Vice President for Public Affairs at the American Legislative Exchange Council and allowed him to respond since 11 Alive and NBC seemed to have no interest in telling any story they could not manufacture.