"Reveals a political trend that threatens both our form of government and our species." - Timothy Snyder, author of ON TYRANNY
"Riveting.... Want to understand how so many Americans turned against truth? Read this book." Nancy Maclean, author of DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS
In 1981, emboldened by Ronald Reagan's election, a group of some fifty Republican operatives, evangelicals, oil barons, and gun lobbyists met in a Washington suburb to coordinate their attack on civil liberties and the social safety net. These men and women called their coalition the Council for National Policy. Over four decades, this elite club has become a strategic nerve center for channeling money and mobilizing votes behind the scenes. Its secretive membership rolls represent a high-powered roster of fundamentalists, oligarchs, and their allies, from Oliver North, Ed Meese, and Tim LaHaye in the Council's early days to Kellyanne Conway, Ralph Reed, Tony Perkins, and the DeVos and Mercer families today.
In Shadow Network, award-winning author and media analyst Anne Nelson chronicles this astonishing history and illuminates the coalition's key figures and their tactics. She traces how the collapse of American local journalism laid the foundation for the Council for National Policy's information war and listens in on the hardline broadcasting its members control. And she reveals how the group has collaborated with the Koch brothers to outfit Radical Right organizations with state-of-the-art apps and a shared pool of captured voter data - outmaneuvering the Democratic Party in a digital arms race whose result has yet to be decided.
In a time of stark and growing threats to our most valued institutions and democratic freedoms, Shadow Network is essential reading.
Award-winning journalist Nelson (Red Orchestra) presents an explosive, comprehensive account of the 30-year relationship between the conservative Council for National Policy, which promotes a stringent political ideology based on Southern Baptist morals, and the Republican Party. Nelson traces the group back to its founding in 1981 and subsequent endorsement of Ronald Reagan. With the Baptist influence, the GOP went from being a party of hawks and economic wonks to one preoccupied with social issues (an antiabortion, antigay agenda). The CNP quickly harnessed the power of religious radio shows, where Sean Hannity and Mike Pence began their careers, to further its conservative message, and has largely been funded by the DeVos family and the Koch brothers. Nelson outlines the CNP's involvement in the election of every Republican president since Reagan; the failures of candidates, like Bob Dole, who didn't get in line with its ideology; and the CNP's transformation of Donald Trump from a crude, seemingly agnostic candidate to a spokesperson for socially conservative talking points (Trump, of course, returned the favor to the CNP by staffing his administration from their ranks, including Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway). Nelson meticulously and chronologically traces the connections between the CNP and a host of Republican leaders and organizations. This is an absolutely momentous piece of investigative journalism.)