Leaked video lays bare right-wing dark money's 'ugly' role in crafting voter suppression bills

Image via Screengrab.

All over the United States — from Georgia to Arizona to Iowa to Texas — Republicans in state legislatures have been pushing voter suppression bills that are designed to make it harder to vote. And CNN has obtained a copy of a leaked video showing the role that "dark money" in the form of Heritage Action for America (the Heritage Foundation's sister organization) has played in crafting these bills, some of which have already been signed into law by Republican governors who include Georgia's Brian Kemp and Florida's Ron DeSantis.

In the leaked video aired by CNN and previously reported by Mother Jones, Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson can be seen bragging about the group's influence on those bills. Anderson, in the video, declares, "We're working with these state legislatures to make sure they have all of the information they need to draft the bills. In some cases, we actually draft them for them. Or, we have a sentinel, on our behalf, give them the model legislation so it has that grass roots, you known, from the bottom up, type of vibe."

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

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