Verizon, AT&T and the manipulation of public opinion

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Filed under: Co-option (If You Can't Beat 'Em...), Propaganda and Disinformation

Bruce Kushnick


by Bruce Kushnick
for Nieman Watchdog,
Nieman Foundation for Journalism
at Harvard University

April 4, 2007

Needed: Blacks, Hispanics, disabled, deaf, low-income and the elderly to support the telecoms”™ positions on anti-consumer FCC rulings and legislation.


Astroturf””An organization set up by a large corporation or corporations to put forward the corporate agenda but to look like an authentic ‘grass-roots’ group.

Co-opted””An authentic group that is given funding by a large corporation or corporations, where the group lobbies for corporate initiatives even if they are contrary to the needs of its members.

Skunkworks””A well coordinated campaign funded by large corporations (or industries) that incorporates Astroturf and co-opted groups, research think tanks, PR firms, lobbying firms, state and federal politicians to put forward the corporate agenda on a specific topic.

Over the last few weeks numerous groups have been lobbying and hyping the corporate position of AT&T and Verizon for relaxed cable franchise requirements or to stop any net neutrality legislation.

Some of these groups are working together to supply a message that blacks, Hispanics, seniors, low income, deaf or disabled persons care about these issues – and that they back the AT&T and Verizon positions.

Read the whole article at Nieman Watchdog

Bruce Kushnick has been a telecom analyst for 24 years, and is currently the chairman of Teletruth, an independent customer advocacy group focusing on broadband and telecom issues, as well as executive director of New Networks Institute, a market research firm. Teletruth was a member of FCC Consumer Advisory Committee in 2003-2004 and has worked with the Small Business Administration”™s Office of Advocacy on competitive issues. It also helped to create the Broadband Bill of Rights, and research through Teletruth’s phone bill auditing services has led to class action suits and major refunds for phone bill overcharging. His new ebook, $200 Billion Broadband Scandal, is available here.

Thanks to: PR Watch