Earlier this month, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a political group that was composed of leaders in the tech industry, which would promote policies like immigration and education reform in the hopes of growing the country's global economy.
As Business Insider pointed out, it might be unexpected that FWD.us is funding ads that praise GOP leaders and support the Keystone pipeline and oil drilling, given the general support of the Silicon Valley and tech community for President Barack Obama and environmental tendencies. FWD.us, which was founded by NationBuilder’s co-founder Joe Green, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, Bill Gates and others in addition to Zuckerberg, though expresses that it is non-partisan.
Founders of FWD.us. (Image: FWD.us)
ThinkProgress showed that ads are being produced through subsidiaries of FWD.us -- Americans for a Conservative Direction, which is more conservative leaning, and Council For American Job Growth, which is more liberal leaning. Both of these subsidiaries are created with Green's NationBuilder.
Kate Hansen, communications director for FWD.us told ThinkProgress that "maintaining two separate entities, Americans for a Conservative Direction & the Council for American Job Growth, to support elected officials across the political spectrum – separately – means that we can more effectively communicate with targeted audiences of their constituents.”
This ad from ACD shows Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) criticizing Obamacare and the president's stance on spending and the Keystone pipeline. The ad asks viewers to call Graham to tell him to continue fighting for South Carolina:
Then there is CAJG's ad, created in a similar format, supporting Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK), who is working to open Alaska National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling and is in favor of a balanced budget:
To ThinkProgress, such ads showing the "group’s forceful advocacy for expanded drilling and pipeline construction [are] surprising" because of the stance Zuckerberg has hit on with the issues before. Referencing his Washington Post op-ed announcing FWD.us earlier this month, ThinkProgress reminded of him saying the following:
The economy of the last century was primarily based on natural resources, industrial machines and manual labor. Many of these resources were zero-sum and controlled by companies. If someone else had an oil field, then you did not. There were only so many oil fields, and only so much wealth could be created from them.
Today’s economy is very different. It is based primarily on knowledge and ideas — resources that are renewable and available to everyone. Unlike oil fields, someone else knowing something doesn’t prevent you from knowing it, too. In fact, the more people who know something, the better educated and trained we all are, the more productive we become, and the better off everyone in our nation can be.
But Hansen with FWD.us clarified that the group "is committed to showing support for elected officials who promote the policy changes needed to build the knowledge economy."