Friday, 30 April 2010

Protesters gather in Austin where Sarah Palin and Rick Perry will speak tonight for "Heroic Media" (President: Swift-Boater Brian Follett) - UPDATE!

Heroic Media - Evening with Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin and possibly also Texas Governor Rick Perry will speak tonight at the Convention Center in Austin, Texas. The event is organized by "Heroic Media". Although the anti-abortion organization "Heroic Media" received some closer scrutiny leading up to this event, for example today by "Think Progress", the media still doesn't seem to be aware that the President of "Heroic Media" is Brian Follett.

Palingates published an extensive report about Heroic Media, their activities and their President Brian Follett on April 11, 2010.

Brian Follett is, as noted in public records, one of the major financial backers of the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth". He is mentioned with having donated $ 40,000 to the "Swift Boaters", which places him at No. 19 in the individual "Donation High Score" of the Swift Boaters. However, other records indicate that his overall donations were actually higher and amounted to $ 47,500 in total.

"Heroic Media" conducts anti-abortion campaigns - for example on TV, Internet, billboards and radio.

On the Heroic Media website, they freely admit they attempt to deceive teens with their advertising (h/t EyeOnYou):

"Heroic Media’s billboards are designed so you can’t tell if they’re pro-life or pro-choice. Our billboards typically showcase young women instead of babies. That’s intentional because women in crisis respond best to photos of women they can relate to."

Example of a billboard by "Heroic Media":

The local media just reported that protesters have gathered at the Convention Center in Austin (h/t austintxx) - see the KVUE news clip HERE.

And don't forget to vote in their poll!

More news reports about this event:

Interesting info from the Austin Post:

"It’s totally fine for Palin to do a speaking engagement to raise money for an organization she supports. But if reporters want to attend the event, they also have to buy a $50 ticket and support the organization. You betcha, liberal media! I wonder if the Chron or Burnt Orange Report shelled out any cash for Heroic Media."

So, every journalist has to pay $ 50 to the Swift Boater. How clever!

As an alternative to the protest at the Austin Convention Center, the Travis County Democratic Party invites everyone today to an "Evening Without Sarah Palin"! Sara Hickman will be present and will sing her new song "Palin' By Comparison"!

If there are any readers with a report and photos from these event or the protests, please don't hesitate to contact us.



Sarah Palin and her special relationship to Texas - More connections

Guestpost by mxm

As Palingates posted previously, Palin will appear in Austin for the Heroic Media organization. This faith-based nonprofit RTL group was founded in 2004 as the Majella Society by Brian Follett. The group changed its name to Heroic Media to reach a broader audience. Little can be found about Follet, other than a single article in a RTL newsletter and a note on the organization's Facebook page that Follett and his wife recently had a new baby.

In that RTL newsletter Follett is identified as a corporate philanthropist from Wisconsin. Follett relocated to Austin from Wisconsin for personal reasons. He founded the organization and named two Directors, Sandy Faucher and Barbara Lyons. Both women have long been involved in the RTL movement. These three are heavily associated with the Catholic Church.

Heroic Media is a registered nonprofit organization and is listed on Guidestar as Majella. The name comes from the patron saint of pregnant women, St. Gerard Mejalla. Who knew.

Their mission statement according to GuideStar: Majella is a faith-based non-profit that reduces abortion by creating a culture of life through television, billboard and Internet advertising and connecting women in crisis with life-affirming resource centers.

According to their tax returns, contributions have been:

2004 $679,265
2005 $880,890
2006 $819,679
2007 $912,472
2008 $998,461 (this is the last year information is available for)

The tax returns indicate the Follett, Faucher and Lyons are not paid any salary for their services. Salaries are listed for others in the organization. Four open positions are currently listed at the organization's site and at least 2 are listed with various online recruiting services: Vice President Marketing, Major Gifts Officer, Director of Development, and National Events Manager. From the titles and job descriptions, a significant growth effort is underway.

Heroic Media promotes prominent GOP celebrity testimonials for their organization and counts among them Bill O'Reilly, who was a featured guest at a fundraising gala. I am sure that they are hopeful that the Palin celebrity will be lucrative for their fundraising efforts.

Follet's donations to presidential campaigns are interesting. As was pointed out the other night, he was a significant contributor to the swift boat veterans. In 2007 he contributed $2300 each to hopeful presidential candidates Brownback, Fred Thompson, Huckabee and Romney. Someone is missing here. Why would a man who donated to the swift boat veterans not donate to Vietnam era hero John McCain?

He did finally donate $2300 to McCain in March 2008, once he had nailed the GOP candidacy. In Oct 2008 he also donated $5000 to The National Republican PAC. Sarah, the guy was just not that into Johnny, but loyal to the big picture. You might want to ask him about that when you see him next. He did not donate to the campaign after you joined???? But he wants you to work for him, although you will get paid and you do like TX.

It appears these donations were all personal. It is curious that they are made on various permutations of address and employment affiliation. In some cases, Brian Follett lists his association with the Majella Society in Austin, TX. Some times he is retired and some times he is retired at a PO Box in Sioux Falls, SD. I believe it is all the same person, as Brian Follett, with an employer of Majella and an address in Sioux Falls also donated to the Swift Boat group.

Majella/Heroic Media lists Douglas Kelly & Associates, Inc., Springfield, MO as the producer of its advertising. In 2007 and 2008 they were paid $430,734 and $408,100 respectively. Other than finding listings for the business, it does not appear to have a website. In its tax returns, Majella reported it conducts "psych-graphic audience research".

In my brief searching, I found nothing suspicious or irregular in this RTL organization. While I do not agree with their mission it seems legitimate. The expansion into FLA and its recruiting for sophisticated positions suggests that they are just beginning. Wouldn't it be nice if NOW was paying attention to them?

SarahPAC's choice to go from Edonations to Upstream Communications as its internet fundraising vendor is very interesting. This is an Austin based company.

The company was founded by Karl Rove, as Karl Rove + Co. in 1981. He sold the company to Ted Delisi and Todd Olsen in 2000, so that he could dedicate himself to Bush. The company is tightly woven into the fabric of TX and GOP politics.

Delisi has moved on, and now is a partner in Delisi Communications, along with his wife Deirdre and mother Dianne (and a couple other folks as well). Deirdre has been involved in public service/politics and was Gov Rick Perry's chief of staff. Dianne is a former TX state representative.

What is it with Sarah Palin and TX?

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