Saturday, September 04, 2004

Cox Cleans Up One Deceptive Site and Ignores the Other

More rollicking good fun from the fellas at Cox. What would we do for amusement without them? Cox is making a half-hearted attempt to come clean about their production of anti-fiber websites.

I've been curious, since last I posted on the deceptive way Cox presented its anti-fiber web presence if being outed again would lead to any change. (The first round, back in June, led to a temporary branding of some of the pages; but that disappeared again after awhile.)

Readers will recall that there were two sites involved: a website that funneled automated mail to city council members (which some members resent, and others dismiss as oddly ineffectual) and a blog run by Tom Cantrell of Tyler, Texas mascarading as a Lafayette resident.

The website has come clean as far as branding is concerned. The new version is a vast improvement (see the old) and clearly lets the reader know who is sponsoring the message. That message, unfortunately remains deceptive in that it relies on discredited research and inappropriate examples to make its points. (See, for instance, our fact check article Blowing the Whistle Over Bristol.) Another nice improvement is the automated letter-writting apparatus. It's still a bad idea of course but the earlier version sent off a letter over your email address that you had never seen. You filled in your name and email expecting to at least see the letter, clicked the button and ...that was it. I got a little thank you notice. But never I saw "my" letter. (Apologies Councilman Benjamen; that guy "Ima ForFiber" at "nota@realaddress" was me and I am actually in favor of LUS providing a fiber network.) The new version at least shows you the letter before you sign it and send it.

BUT the blog, linked to from the front of the website, remains unbranded and the author continues to advertise himself as a Lafayette resident. Tain't so. He's Tom Cantrell of Tyler, Texas, the Cox director of government affairs. My guess is that not only is he not a resident but that his favorite books aren't Les Miserables by Victor Hugo or The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, that Zydeco might not be his favorite music and that his favorite movie probably isn't the Pelican Brief. But that's what it says in his profile. (About that "government affairs" position: isn't it endearing for the Cox governmental liason to sneer at public officials, even opponents like Huval, as he did in a recent post? They've got a different idea about how to go about building respectful relationships over at Cox.)

If they want a blog here's what they need to do: come clean about the name and employment status of the blogger; fess up about prior lies and promise to reform. I'd use somebody else frankly; TJCrawdad aka Cantrell has pretty much played out his string in Lafayette.

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