Richard Bennett, NANOG posting, and Integrity

Joly MacFie joly at punkcast.com
Mon Jul 28 00:07:09 UTC 2014


Now, this is astroturfing.

http://www.thenation.com/blog/180781/leading-civil-rights-group-just-sold-out-net-neutrality


On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 4:26 PM, Richard Bennett <richard at bennett.com>
wrote:

> This is one of the more clueless smears I've seen. The "astroturf"
> allegation is hilarious because it shows a lack of understanding of what
> the term means: individuals can't be "astroturf" by definition; it takes an
> organization.
>
> Groups like Free Press are arguably astroturf because of their funding and
> collaboration with commercial interests, but even if you buy the blogger's
> claim that AEI is taking orders from Comcast (which it isn't), it doesn't
> pretend to be speaking for the grassroots. After 76 years in operation,
> people engaged in public policy have a very clear idea of the values that
> AEI stands for, and the organization goes to great lengths to firewall
> fundraising from scholarship. AEI's management grades itself in part on
> being fired by donors, in part; this is actually a goal.
>
> The thing I most like about  AEI is that it doesn't take official
> positions and leaves scholars the freedom to make up their own minds and to
> disagree with each other. Although we do tend to be skeptical of Internet
> regulation, we're certainly not of one mind about what needs to be
> regulated and who should do it. AEI is a real think thank, not an advocacy
> organization pretending to be a think tank.
>
> The article is riddled with factual errors that I've asked Esquire to
> correct, but it has declined, just as it declined to make proper
> corrections to the blogger's previous story alleging the FCC had censored
> 500,000 signatures from a petition in support of Title II. See:
> http://www.esquire.com/blogs/news/comcast-astroturfing-net-
> neutrality?fb_comment_id=fbc_734581913271304_735710019825160_
> 735710019825160#f35206a395cd434
>
> The blogger came to my attention when he was criticized on Twitter by
> journalists who support net neutrality for that shoddy piece of
> sensationalism; see the dialog around this tweet: https://twitter.com/
> oneunderscore__/status/489212137773215744
>
> The net neutrality debate astonishes me because it rehashes arguments I
> first heard when writing the IEEE 802.3 1BASE5 standard (the one that
> replaced coaxial cable Ethernet with today's scalable hub and spoke system)
> in 1984. Even then some people argued that a passive bus was more
> "democratic" than an active hub/switch despite its evident drawbacks in
> terms of cable cost, reliability, manageability, scalability, and media
> independence. Others argued that all networking problems can be resolved by
> throwing bandwidth at them and that all QoS is evil, etc. These talking
> points really haven't changed.
>
> The demonization of Comcast is especially peculiar because it's the only
> ISP in the US still bound by the FCC's 2010 Open Internet order. It agreed
> to abide by those regulations even if they were struck down by the courts,
> which they were in January. What happens with the current Open Internet
> proceeding doesn't have any bearing on Comcast until its merger obligations
> expire, and its proposed merger with TWC would extend them to a wider
> footprint and reset the clock on their expiration.
>
> Anyhow, the blogger did spell my name right, to there's that.
>
> RB
>
>
> On 7/22/14, 9:07 AM, Paul WALL wrote:
>
>> Provided without comment:
>>
>> http://www.esquire.com/blogs/news/comcast-astroturfing-net-neutrality
>>
>> Drive Slow,
>> Paul Wall
>>
>
> --
> Richard Bennett
> Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute
> Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy
> Editor, High Tech Forum
>
>
>


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