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.

1 comment:

Bernie O'Hare said...

Jeff, Thanks for making people aware of this. It's important to recognize that special interest groups will try to influence public debate, even in the blogosphere. I have no problem with diverse opinions. But when a sock puppet or astroturf group fails to disclose who they are, it diminishes not only their arguments but those of others who may even agree with them. And in the end, we all lose. Thanks again.