Sunday, April 24, 2005

"BellSouth, make FTTH plan public" + Shenanigens

A letter to the editor in today's Advertiser refers to an incident on AOC a couple of weeks ago where Oliver claimed to have presented a plan to the city five months ago to take care of our infrastructure needs. It's something you hear BellSouth and its agents regularly claiming: that BellSouth has some sort of unspecified plan to provide you with everything you need.

Now what is especially significant is that, as far as I can tell, the letter "BellSouth, make FTTH plan public" published today, Sunday, in the Advertiser is the letter Bill Oliver responded to Wednesday last, in the Times. The Times piece makes reference to Oliver being "missunderstood" in reference to his remarks on Greene's show to the effect that he had offered a FTTH plan to the Mayor. But that charge wasn't made publicly till Sunday. Interesting, No?

It very strongly suggests that someone at the Times made the letter available to Oliver before it was published. And not only that. They then allowed Oliver to answer the charge without even bothering to publish the letter. How cozy.

If you look at the masthead of the Times you'll see that they are operating without an editor. That's one explanation of this letter mess. --And an explanation of a few other things as well. One has to expect that Eric Benjamin would not have been allowed to so thourghly convince this town he was a mean-sprited, out-of-touch import (on both fiber and Catholicism) if there was somebody at the helm. (See Ron Gomez's vitrolic letter in that same issue for a response to one of Benjamin's missives.) Newspapers have editors for a reason: they stand guard over the day to day operation of the newspaper and its reputation. The Times sorely needs someone to fill that function.

Now you might think that I'm being overly partisan here. You might think that the sequence of events could be explained in some other way or that a reporter might have let it slip in the course of questioning BellSouth. You might be right. But you'd still have to explain how the reporter got hold of the letter and then you'd have to account for the Times printing a response to an unpublished letter. It looks bad. And a good editor would have made sure that never happened.

I could go on a tear about the nonsense that Oliver tries to pass off on the readers of the Times that any flavor of DSL will equal fiber's capacities. Or I could ask about the wisdom of Oliver bringing up a meeing in November whose duplicity so angered the Mayor that he is now demanding a writen proposal before sitting down with the incumbents. (BellSouth asked, loudly and publicly, for a meeting about a public-private partnership the day before the critical council vote. They actually showed up with a technology presentation that suggested that maybe a 24 meg version of DSL would be trialed here. In some parts of town. They asked for confidentiality about their technology and then turned around and implied before the council that they'd shown technology to the Mayor that he hadn't told the council about. After asking for confidentiality. I'd be angry too.)

I could go on about those issues. But instead I'll just go back to this: The Times needs a real editor. Badly.


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