The Civitas Institute has spent a lot of time lately connecting the dots - lots of dots - and on Thursday unveiled a new website showing what they've come up with. "Mapping the Left" connects funders, groups and individuals that ostensibly comprise North Carolina's political left wing.
"For decades, the liberal/progressive movement has mostly been invisible to the general public," a message on the site says. "Hiding from the 'liberal' label, the well-organized progressive movement has built a network of groups that work together to push an extreme, liberal/progressive agenda that the media has failed to report upon."
Civitas casts a big lasso to make some of those connections, including organizations like the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, American Association of Retired Persons, Murder Victims Families for Reconciliation, the Center for Responsible Lending, former Raleigh City Council member and registered Republican Philip Isley (because he now lobbies for trial lawyers).
Civitas says it came up with the idea a few years ago when people began talking about the network of conservative enterprises funded by Art Pope. (A parody response quickly hit the net on Thursday: www.mappingtheright.com features one giant picture of Pope.)
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Civitas took a similar but less ambitious tact a couple years ago when it focused on the umbrella group Blueprint N.C.. This version tracks more than 140 groups, more than 1,800 people, over 300 foundations, which Civitas says has been run on more than $400 million in funding.
Find out if you're part of the conspiracy: mappingtheleft.com.