For years, we've covered how slimy DC-insiders and secretive "lobbying" firms have a list of "interest groups"
that they "fund" in order to use them to support various initiatives they don't really care about. The telling quote from someone involved in these astroturfing efforts:
"You go down the Latino people, the deaf people, the farmers, and choose them.... You say, 'I can't use this one--I already used them last time...' We had their letterhead. We'd just write the letter. We'd fax it to them and tell them, 'You're in favor of this.'"
AT&T has been working overtime on this front, and we've seen random groups
who really are unlikely to have any interest in the AT&T/T-Mobile merger come out in favor of it, culminating in the ultimate in ridiculous arguments, from a rural education group, that the merger would help kids do better in school
Of course, this still goes on because there's almost no downside. We can call it out every time it happens, and most people just don't seem to care very much. But, every so often, actual members of these groups recognize the problems with such things, and they speak up. Broadband Reports has the news of how GLAAD's boss has been pressured into resigning
after membership grew quite concerned about GLAAD's sudden endorsement of the merger -- and some connections between the company and the organization are suddenly being scrutinized. Whether or not you agree with the merger, it seems pretty sleazy to line up random interest groups in support of or against it.
It's tragic that this is the way of DC. It's not about doing what's right, or focusing on the best argument possible. It's a purely cynical land grab about who can do whatever it takes to get certain things rammed through. It's nice that, just once, there are repercussions for some of the organizations that let themselves be flat-out used in this manner.Permalink
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