The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is firing back at its critics, and it's turning to Google for an assist.
The massive business lobby, under siege from the White House for opposing various efforts to reform the nation's health care and regulatory system, has made a tactical Google ad purchase to raise money and disseminate its message.
Type in "Chamber of Commerce" into the search engine and the first result you get is: "US Chamber Fights Back."
Click on that link and you're directed to a new site with the title, "Help Stop Attacks on the U.S. Chamber," that solicits financial donations.
"Liberal left-wing extremist groups and their leftist allies continue their attacks on us -- because we are fighting for YOU!," the site reads. "Don't let them muzzle us. Stand up for free speech by making a contribution below."
The playing-the-victim website, combined with the Google ad purchase, is just one stage in a broader effort the Chamber is undertaking to combat its critics. The group also sued the performance artist troupe, the Yes Men, for hoisting a prank press conference, in which they pretended to be Chamber officials announcing a new, sensible approach to climate change.
The Chamber has also adopted a more aggressive media presence: dispatching its executive vice president of government affairs, Bruce Josten, to appear on "Fox News Sunday" and having its CEO Tom Donohue do a 75 minutes sit-down interview with Politico.
UPDATE: This is not, it should be noted, the first time a group or individual has used Google ads to capitalize off of a round of bad press. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made a strategic ad purchase of her own, right around the time that she resigned from office. As Google spokesman Galen Panger explains:
Rapid-response is a classic use-case of Google AdWords. It only takes a few minutes to put up an ad online, so you can get your message in front of a national audience at the moment they're searching for your group or issue. When people click on the ad, you can then give them an option to participate, whether through signing a petition or donating.