John Aronno broke the initial story, identifying AE Marketing as the marketing firm behind the “Know the Facts Alaska” group, contracted to fly up and play Alaskan for a photo shoot. The shoot would turn into a few photos and a youtube video featured on the website.
“A local website called Alaska Commons first noticed this; this Chicago marketing firm flying into town, and then the two websites starting up in the same day. Then, the Alaska Dispatch followed more clues and figured out who was behind this push to keep people from getting health insurance in Alaska.”
The Dispatch article mentioned, authored by Laurel Andrews, pinned the websites to a conservative think tank called the Foundation for Government Accountability, run out of Naples, Florida.
“Congratulations to the Alaska Dispatch and the Alaska Commons for figuring out that story; for following that thread based on this stuff that was appearing in their state with no apparent authorship,” Maddow said.
The MSNBC host went on to reveal more of the web of the shadowy, anonymous groups trying to wedge their way into local politics all over the country: