“Civil Rights” Leaders, Politic365 bloggers, CBC Members Get Paid, the Public Gets Played on Network Neutrality.
Is there any part of the black political class that isn't for sale, or hasn't been already been leased by Comcast, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile, AT&T or Time-Warner? While the old school politicos at least try to hide the hands of their paymasters, the young guns pretend being a shill is almost an honest living. It's not.
A lot of people with loud voices get their public policy notions from the same places they get their condo payments. As a principle this is neither complicated nor controviersial. Every sixth grader understands it, and every Supreme Court law clerk.
Some corporate mouthpieces however, have brand identities to look after, as designated representatives of oppressed minorities, or elected Democrats and their hangers-on, whose careers depend on passing themselves off as standing for the little people. For them, obscuring, hiding or simply downplaying the importance, even the identities of their corporate benefactors can be pretty important.
Back in April, Black Agenda Report revealed that
“...the NAACP, National Action Network, the National Urban League, the Hispanic Technology and Telecommunications Partnership, League of United Latin American Citizens, Minority Media and Telecommunications Council, and Rainbow PUSH all object to a proposed Federal Communications Commission rule that would force them, whenever they weigh in on matters before the FCC, disclose who they're getting money from.”
...All of them... have in recent years backed state and federal legislation that keeps cities and towns from regulating cable networks or laying their own cable. They've all endorsed laws that bar cities and towns from spinning up their own broadband services which might compete with those of their donors or provide services to poor communities, to schools, libraries and small businesses in their communities that their donors do not. Every one of them opposes network neutrality and backs the digital redlining of black, brown and poor communities. Every one of these so-called civil rights organizations in recent years has backed the privatization or outright giveaway to their wealthy donors vast amounts of the electromagnetic spectrum which could and should have been set aside for community broadcasters and the public good. And of course, these corrupt “civil rights organizations” have unreservedly backed each and every proposed broadcaster and telecom merger, from AT&T's failed attempt to buy T-Mobile to the Comcast-NBC deal and they're lining up right now to back Comcast's current attempt to buy Time Warner cable as well.”
As reprehensible as all this is, the efforts on the part of these dinosaur “civil rights” organizations to conceal their ties to donors at least speaks to their shamefaced awareness that there is or ought to be a standard of decency and moral accountability, even though it's a standard they'd prefer to evade. Sadly, the empowered and amoral generation of black wannabe fixers, stooges and operatives that came after them have no such standards.
Not two weeks ago in a David Pakman interview, Kristal High, the editor of Politic365 not only outed herself and Politic365 as well as corporate mouthpieces, she affected a tone of mild outrage at the notion that Politic365's “incubation” in the bowels of the Minority Media Telecommunications Council, a notorious telecom shill operation and her own consultant agreement with a firm that did PR for telecoms were in any way related to the one-sided opinion pieces Politic365 carries on telecom mergers, cable regulation and network neutrality. At Black Agenda Report we know a little something about carrying one-sided opinion pieces. The difference is that ours are our own and those of our authors, not something a soulless corporation is paying us to say.
The interviewer pointedly asked High why, if her opinions were indeed her own and not those of her corporate sponsors, she didn't express them for free.
Kristal High was seconded by Lauren Victoria Burke, also of Politic365 who in an open letter to journalist Lee Fang and our friend Yvette Carnell tried to pretend that getting funded by the telecoms makes her and the crew at Politic365 experts worth consulting before anybody writes anything serious about the public good and network neutrality, and that fingering them as corporate stooges might actually be libel or defamation.
This was almost bankrupt as the tone-deaf TV One interview forrmer CBC staffer and current corporate lobbyist Angela Rye did with North Carolina's G.K. Butterfield and disgraced former Maryland congressman Al Wynn in response to reports that the CBC, at the urging of their former staffers turned lobbyists, were leveraging their brand as tribunes of the oppressed to represent corporate banksters, military contractors, telecoms, private schools, payday loan operations and other interests. It couldn't be a real story, they said, because they're the black experts at all this, and nobody had talked to them.
In the real world, corporate operatives like Burke,Ghatt and High and Rye are experts at two things. The first is getting paid, and the second is reliably representing the interests of those who pay them against those of the people. No doubt, they're looking forward to long and lucrative careers.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report and a state committee member of the GA Green Party. He can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.