Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Corporate-Funded Astroturf Group Tries to Manipulate Local Debate
Hands Off the Interent, a fake grassroots organization that adopts phony 'public interest' rhetoric on behalf of its industry backers, tried to manipulate local debate on net neutrality. On Monday, Lehigh Valley Ramblings, a popular blog, posted a well-informed argument for net neutrality, noting that blogs like LV Ramblings would go extinct in the highest-bidder internet that telcom companies like AT&T envision.
It didn't take long for a paid flack from Hands Off the Internet--a textbook example of an astroturf group--to post an innocent-seeming comment in reply to the LV Ramblings post. HandsOff43 attacked "so-called net neutrality," and ended the comment with, "We at Hands Off the Internet are trying to educate consumers about the unintended bureaucratic sluggishness net neutrality regulations will surely bring. I hope this was informative."
After LV Ramblings's Bernie O'Hare called him on the sleazy attempt to ape the legitimacy of real citizen action, HandsOff43 returned with a second post. Its lead sentence:
"Bernie, We at Hands Off The Internet have nothing to hide except the facts."
I couldn't have said it any better.
For the record, the Save the Internet Coalition doesn't take a single penny from corporate sources.