|May 15, 2006||EDITORIAL ARCHIVES|
Pro-Internet Democracy Blogs Run Ads for Corporate Takeover of Net: Another Example of Why BuzzFlash Won't Accept Advertising
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
Right now there is a fierce Capitol Hill war being waged over whether the Internet will continue to belong to the citizens of America or will start to move down the path that cable television went: only the big players will survive as fully accessible content providers, as the Telecom broadband providers start to set up toll gates on the Net.
To make this account simple: advocates of democracy on the Internet with virtually no barriers for content entry are known as proponents of "net neutrality." The Telecom companies who want to start charging tolls for content, among other nefarious plans, are the bad guys.
Right now, many of the leading progressive blogs on the net are running ads by the bad guys. Not only are these ads promoting the corporate takeover of Internet content, they are totally misleading, along the lines of the nuke industry running ads on "How Nuclear Leaks Make Your Community Healthier."
The ad in question leads to an Orwellian flash that tries to convince the viewers that the government is trying to "interfere" with the Internet and that this will destroy it, which is exactly what the people behind the ads are trying to do.
Here's what the ad says, before you click through to the flash: "Don't Regulate The Internet! See The Truth About Net Neutrality. Don't let the Government Regulate the Internet. Make up your own mind. It's about the future of the Internet!" (See http://www.dontregulate.org/)
If you watch the ad, you find it is sponsored by a coalition misleadingly called "Hands Off the Internet".If you look at the members of "Hands Off the Internet," they are the very Telecom companies who have given large donations to members of Congress to pass legislation -- now having cleared a House Committee -- to allow them to squeeze democracy out of the Internet in order to increase their profits. Members of the cynically named "Hands Off the Internet" coalition include AT&T, BellSouth and Cingular, along with some "front" organizations that again employ the Bush tactic of sounding like they are on your side when they are trying to get away with grand larceny. As many on the Net have noted with contempt, the group is masterminded by former Clinton Press Secretary Mike McCurry.
Okay, so where do these misleading ads show up in droves? Why, on progressive Internet blogs, that's where: blogs who are exhorting their readers to oppose the bill being sponsored by the Telecoms to assert private ownership over a public common carrier. (The FCC last year opened the way for this pernicious legislation by ruling that the Internet was not a common carrier, even though telephones are.)
A BuzzFlash reader pointed out this entire scam to us and how he had tried to get the progressive sites to have the ad removed on their sites, but to no avail. The ad is part of a package offered by a company known as BlogAds. (Click here if you want to know which liberal blog sites financially benefit from BlogAds.)
We don't know if all the sites listed on BlogAds are running the ad for a corporate coalition that wants to turn the Internet into another profit center of branded pablum and propaganda. But we checked three on Sunday night, May 14th, and they all were: Talking Points Memo, Raw Story and MyDD.
BuzzFlash has nothing but respect for the blogs listed on the liberal BlogAds network. We can safely assume they all support "net neutrality" and a pro-democracy Internet. Frankly, otherwise they would be committing suicide. So, it's not like they are seeking these "kill the open net" ads out. But they are trapped in an advertising contract, it appears.
We don't know their agreement with BlogAds, if it allows them to pull misleading and politically sabotaging ads from their sites, but the deceptive ads were still up on the three sites we looked at on the weekend of May 13-14 -- and, we can assume, on many of the participating BlogAds sites.
This is the deal with the devil you make when you start to depend on advertising. You end up in bed with the very people who would like nothing better than to see you shut down in the end. They are paying you in the short term, in order to pass legislation that will knock you off the Internet in the long-term.
If anyone ever asks again, why BuzzFlash doesn't accept advertising, let this example be your answer.
Building progressive values on the Internet and restoring democracy to the people of America requires rejecting the alluring dollars of corporate America, because they are running the nation now, not us.
And if they take away "net neutrality," the Orwellian propaganda of the Republicans and corporate America will have no counterbalance.
The prominent blogs who work with BlogAds are good people with good content and excellent commentary. We read them and post them. They are hard working heroes.
But BuzzFlash takes no advertising. And, this predicament for the BlogAd blogs shows you why.
Any banner ad you see on BuzzFlash is for a premium that we chose because of its quality. We have never accepted a fee for choosing a premium and we don't accept any sort of advertising dollars.
The lamentable news account of the ads for the Telecom front group is the best illustration we can find of why.
We are completely reader-supported and only accountable to you. We will not allow a slick Bush-like thoroughly misleading PR stunt to run on BuzzFlash. And what's worse, it's an ad that holds a gun to the head -- through the Telecom legislation it supports -- of every website on the Internet.
Advertising on BuzzFlash.com? Now, you know why we "just say no."
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
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