CHICAGO - It was no surprise when Illinois Policy Institute's new documentary Madigan agitated Democrat establishment types when the hour-long film hit theatres throughout Illinois this week, showed on Facebook, and revealed it will soon be available on local television stations.
But when another group that identifies itself with independent Republicans and dubbed itself "#FakeIllinoisPolicy" released a parody video ridiculing Illinois Policy Institute as "the people that brought you fake newspapers, fake radio networks and fake policy institutes," the development turned heads.
The parody appeared for a short time on Vimeo before the Institute complained and argued copyright infringement. The sources behind #FakeIllinois Policy - who are taking special care to cover their identity - fought back and won the right to republish their short video on YouTube.
The group said in a press release Friday, "We explained to VIMEO that the trailer was protected under parody and fair use and that Illinois Policy Institute's claim against the video had no merit. A screenshot from Capitol Fax, calling the parody 'genius' - thank you by the way - exposed that Illinois Policy just didn't like that their name was used in connection with the video (not a legitimate claim) and that helped us greatly to make our case."
They went on, "VIMEO's attorney said 'Based on your explanation, we have taken another look at the initial takedown notice and found it to be insufficient on closer examination. I have restored the video as you requested.'
The group's animosity towards Illinois Policy Institute was clear, so Illinois Review asked via an email named "Sargeant Schultz" three questions:
1. Why are you working so hard to remain anonymous?
2. Who is funding your efforts?
3. What is your long term goal for www.fakeillinoispolicy.com?
Their replies were as follows:
1. We are anonymous because Illinois Policy is a corrupt, unethical bunch of bullies. In fact, they threatened us repeatedly over a parody video. What are so afraid of? They also lied to Vimeo and other web hosts with false claims against the video to try to prevent its release. Not cool.
Beyond not having a sense of humor, Illinois Policy is unwilling to take a look in the mirror at some very troubling issues of ethics and corruption of their own. That goes for Gov. Rauner, too. As Republicans and independents, we created the parody to point out their hypocrisy. With the rejection of Illinois Policy's false claims, we have been vindicated.
2. The parody video didn't cost very much. ;) Much, much less than Illinois Policy's brokered time program. As it turns out, we are just extremely talented. Since we received such a tremendous response to the parody trailer (i.e. has been called "genius," "hilarious") we are inspired to do much more. We set up a website at www.fakeillinoispolicy.com for that reason. We originally intended this trailer as just a one-off.
3. The corrupt crew at Illinois Policy clearly view Rauner their meal ticket. We don't believe they are motivated by any principles or ethics whatsoever. We believe they are in this to line their pockets and help their pals. If Gov. Rauner were doing what he told Republicans/conservative/independent/pro-life voters would do, we would not be his critics. Everything that Rauner and Illinois Policy has done has been cynical and self-serving. The Republican primaries earlier this year made that crystal clear. Bullies need to be countered and we choose to do it through humor and parody. We will continue to criticize these corrupt actors using humor as our weapon.
Illinois Review asked the Institute's spokeswoman Diana Rickert is she would like to respond to the parody video and she wrote via email, "Not really. If that's what kids are doing for fun these days, well, ok. Our preference of course is to talk about the documentary not the wimps who hide behind the internet. :)"
More about Illinois Policy Institute's documentary at www.michaelmadigan.com