The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Net Neutrality opponents starting to sound nervous

I consider this to be a pretty good sign. First is a short piece from the Huffington Post MoveOn's Eli Pariser describes some recent efforts of the telecoms to discredit those opposing their plan to charge for content-- which includes groups from acrosss the political spectrum.

Internet freedom opponents told one right-wing tabloid that "Google has become the single largest private corporate underwriter of MoveOn." That's news to us since MoveOn has never received a cent from Google - or any other big business. We're funded by the small dollar contributions of 3.3 million members.

Equally absurd, "sources" told the tabloid that "Some of that money has gone to an online petition drive and a letter-writing campaign." That may be AT&T's fantasy world - but right now, online activities that allow regular citizens to be participants in their democracy cost advocacy groups almost nothing. And that's a good thing.

Rounding out a trifecta of errors, the tabloid says MoveOn is funneling Google "Net Neutrality money" into a Senate race in Pennsylvania. That rumor isn't just paranoid - it doesn't even point at the right organization. Civic Action, which is pushing Net Neutrality, is a separate organization from Political Action, which does more political work

Second is this piece from The New Republic, which describes how former Clinton presss secretary and chosen shill for the telecoms Mike McCurry has been largely shut down by the blogs. If you've been following the story, you will have noticed that the telecoms made a concerted effort to squelch Net opposition before it startedby painting their opponents as an uniformed rabble. But in Mike McCurry's case, his jovial attempts to garner support got him exactly nowhere:

There was one notable response, though: Two days later, McCurry showed up in MyDD's comment section. Posting as "HandsOff CoChair1," he tried out some of his famous friendly spin. He noted that an unregulated Internet was "absolutely consistent with the Clinton Administration's policies." He promised Stoller that "writing Internet regulations is not the best way to promote online diversity." And he ended on a lighthearted note--"Look," he admitted, "I have to make a buck sure." ("Candor apparently doesn't get you very many points on the Internet," McCurry later told me.) Stoller, slightly less charmed by McCurry than, say, Andrea Mitchell, retaliated with another, more piquant post. "He's not principled," Stoller wrote. "He's just a paid shill in this fight."

That slap was enough to keep McCurry away from MyDD, but he couldn't let the insult drop. A week later, he resurfaced on The Huffington Post, the celebrity blogging site run by Arianna Huffington, in a decidedly less jovial mood. "You can see in blog commentary lots of great huffing and puffing," McCurry grumbled in a post partly devoted to the debased discourse of blogs. But even this didn't get it out of his system. Two days later, he reappeared, shooting off a misspelled, raging post: Bloggers are ruining journalism because they make reporters "feel intimindated [sic] and [that] they lack public support."

Good stuff.