Monday, July 31, 2006

Black Support Bought by AT&T; Will Damage Access to Internet for Poor

By Bruce Dixon, The Black Commentator.

America's black misleadership class, which is nearly indistinguishable from its black business class, has struck again. In a stunning coup, a mainline African-American voting rights group has been enlisted on the side of AT&T and other telecom monopolies in their legislative push to privatize the internet and roll back hundreds of agreements with local communities that force these monopolies to extend internet and cable service to poor and rural communities around the country.

A time-worn corporate technique for dishonestly manipulating public opinion is to create what are called in the world of public relations, industry-funded organizations and front groups.

For this legislative sales season, the telecommunications monopolies have created a deceptively named corporate mouthpiece called Hands Off the Internet. Its chief public spokesman is former Clinton White House official Mike McCurry. A look at the Hands Off member organizations reveals a list of the usual suspects like the American Conservative Union, the Center for Individual Freedom and the notorious National Association of Manufacturers. As bankrollers and hosts of the party, one expects to see AT&T and Cingular listed, and they are.

Renting Black Republicans is neither a new nor a big deal, so the National Black Chamber of Commerce, which recently fronted for the proposed privatization of Social Security on the grounds that fewer African-Americans lived to collect it, is along for the ride too. In their attention to detail, the telecom monopolies have even rented the traditional contingent of black preachers, constructed them a website and bestowed upon them the title of Ministerial Alliance Against the Digital Divide. Full Article


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