Thursday, October 20, 2005

"Consumers group" funded by the phone company --Surprise, Surprise

So the Consumers for Cable Choice, a group which advocates the Phone Companies' positions on local cable franchises has acknowledged that its startup money was supplied by Verizon (East Coast Teleco) and that it expects SBC (Texas to Chicago's Teleco) to kick in as well. Can BellSouth be far behind?

This sort of group is known as "astro turf" — a fake grass roots organization. This is part of modern corporate tactics and part of the more general strategy of FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) that you've heard about on these pages. The idea is to confuse the issue by making it seem like there is a real group of "consumers" (that are not paid off by corporate masters) that want to take away their local government's rights to ask for something in return for letting companies like BellSouth and Cox use our locally-owned rights of way. In the normal course of events there'd not be any such group of local citizens.

Don't believe 'em and don't let politicians use such organizations as cover for bowing to special interests.

What really irritates me, however, is the brazenness of some of these "organizations." This one is willing to get righteous about the cable companies' monopolies in order to advance the interests of the phone monopolies. Do they think we're all asleep? And they are willing to say that they think people ought to think them "independent" because they'll take money from anyone. You'd think there'd be some standard: even in ethics-challenged Louisiana we know that an honest politician is one that stays bought.

These guys aren't even that honest. A pox on them, their phone company masters, and their cable opponents alike.

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