Some Questions for FreePress on “Astro-Turfing”

August 20, 2009

FreePress launched another effort to discredit my views and those of others in a new “Unmasking Astroturf” campaign where they called me the “Astro-turfer-in-chief.

I have some questions for FreePress on “astro-turfing.”

1. How is it “Astro-turfing” when I am fully disclosed and routinely communicate is a pro-competition e-forum funded by broadband interests?

It is not news that I work for company interests or that I philosophically believe, like broadband companies do, that competition is better for consumers and the economy than government regulation.

  • My mission and purpose are fully transparent and public.
  • My views are authentically my own and not synthetic as the epithet “astroturf” implies.
    • Why would it be surprising that I would work for entities whose core positions I agree with, just like people work for FreePress because they agree with FreePress?
    • A great thing about America is that one has constitutional rights to free speech and to assemble with whom one wants to.
  • Given that FreePress is often loose with policy facts it does not surprise me that FreePress is loose with process facts as well.2. Why does FreePress shoot the messenger rather than the message?

    Often ad hominem attacks are employed to distract focus from the substance and merit of a debate. It appears FreePress does not want people to be “open” to hearing my analysis or arguments that:

    3. How is it “astro-turfing” to be accurate?

    FreePress called me the “Boy who cried socialism” to imply that, like the “boy who cried wolf,” I have somehow not been truthful about what I have said about FreePress’ views.

    • Well I haven’t commented on a recent interview by FreePress’ co-Founder, Mr. Robert McChesney in the Bullet, the Socialist Project newsletter, but since FreePress was the one which raised the subject in an inaccurate effort to discredit my truthfulness, McChesney’s interview confirms that I was indeed accurate — given how unabashed FreePress’s co-founder is about FreePress’ socialist views and agenda in his most recent public interview.

    4. How transparent is FreePress about its backing?

    It seems fair that if FreePress is questioning and disparaging the transparency of groups who promote views in opposition to theirs, that FreePress would be interested in bending over backwards to be transparent about their funding and supporters.

    Who are FreePress’ biggest donors?

    Does FreePress accept significant in-kind contributions of any kind from corporations?

    Does FreePress consider large individual contributions from employees of companies to be just individuals for transparency purposes?

    Does FreePress believe its allies should also be transparent about their funding and supporters? e.g. New America Foundation, Public Knowledge, Open Internet Coalition, etc.

    In closing, I am thankful to have the opportunity to systematically counter FreePress’ spurious charges.



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