FreePress wants transparency for everybody but FreePress

October 2, 2009

FreePress’ standard gameplan is to avoid engaging issues on the merits by constantly attacking opponents as biased corporate “shils” or “astroturf” that no one should listen to. I have long been up front that I represent broadband interests. FreePress, and their supporters, however, do not live up to the transparency standard that they demand of others.

For example, FreePress’ urged Washington Post reporter Cecilia Kang to post that The Washington Post editorial opposing net neutrality “The FCC’s Heavy Hand” should have disclosed the Post’s ownership of cable properties. On that basic point of transparency/disclosure I agree.

However, when it comes to the news, Ms. Kang appears to have failed to disclose her increasingly obvious bias for promoting FreePress and their net neutrality agenda.

  • First, in Ms. Kang’s postReaders ask for disclosure that Washington Post owns Cable Co.” Ms. Kang focused on, and quoted only, FreePress’ Derek Turner’s comments, when there were several other varied comments to highlight.
  • Second, Ms. Kang was selected by the FCC Chairman’s press spokesperson, Jen Howard, (who just joined the FCC from FreePress) to moderate a high-profile panel immediately following FCC Chairman Genachowski’s net neutrality speech on 9-21-09.
  • Third, Ms. Kang wrote a major puff piece that lionized Ben Scott, FreePress’ point man on net neutrality: “Net Neutrality’s Quiet Crusader — Free Press’s Ben Scott Faces Down Titans, Regulators in Battle Over Internet Control.” The piece reads more like hero worship than journalism.

People should ask why is FreePress so intent on distracting people from focusing on FreePress’ lack of transparency? What is FreePress hiding?

Take their deceptive brand — “FreePress.” They claim to stand for freedom of the press, but not the “free press” most Americans understand or the freedom of the press in the First Amendment. A real “free press” is one that is not limited by Government.

Ironically, FreePress is an activist proponent of the opposite — more government control of the press! (Am I the only one that sees the irony that the press is often unwittingly advancing FreePress’s agenda to take away true freedom of the press?)

  • FreePress co-founder and board member, Robert McChesney quoted” on government intervention in journalism: “Only government can implement policies and subsidies to provide an institutional framework for quality journalism…The democratic state, the government, must create the conditions for sustaining the journalism that can provide the people with the information they need to be their own governors.”
  • McChesney quoted in Monthly Review: Advertising is the voice of capital.  We need to do whatever we can to limit capitalist propoganda, regulate it, minimize it, and perhaps even eliminate it.”
  • Josh Silver, FreePress’ co-founder and Executive Director, proposes new federal taxes to fund more government-subsidized media:“Barring the creation of a trust fund, Congress must find a significant steady revenue stream that is not subject to annual appropriations.  One such possibility is a tax of 0.5 percent of the purchase price for every home electronic device: multimedia players, cable and satellite set-top boxes, video game systems, televisions, etc. Those devices that entertain America would in turn be supporting programming to inform, educate and enlighten.”

In short, it amazes me how people who constantly listen to FreePress demand transparency for its opponents, aren’t interested in demanding the same transparency from FreePress.

What is FreePress hiding?

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