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Democracy & Technology Blog Free Press: Holier than thou

National Journal notes ($) that while Free Press frequently taps the media to slam its opponents as fronts for special interests who won’t reveal their funding, much of Free Press’s own funding is concealed.

Free Press staff members “want to call everyone else a front group … [but] they don’t subject themselves to the same scrutiny,” [Phil] Kerpen [of Americans for Prosperity] contended. The charges of Astroturfing that Free Press aims at other groups, [Mike] McCurry [a former White House spokesman, who now runs Public Strategies Washington, a government-relations firm whose Arts+Labs coalition supports the telecoms in the net-neutrality debate] said, carry “a little whiff of hypocrisy.”

Always better to debate the arguments, isn’t it? Shooting the messenger is usually an act of desperation that tends to reveal the weaknesses in one’s case. As this revelation shows, it can also make one look foolish.
The article points out that Free Press — which is urging Democratic policy makers to regulate the Internet and enact subsidies for media professionals — is “firmly allied with media professionals who provide content to niche markets.” It’s former press chief, Jen Howard, is now the press secretary for FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, and its talking points and arguments match the statements of administration officials.
According to McCurry, the group and its allies “hate everything about capitalism, corporations and profit-making.”

Hance Haney

Hance Haney served as Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, in Washington, D.C. Haney spent ten years as an aide to former Senator Bob Packwood (OR), and advised him in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the deliberations leading to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He subsequently held various positions with the United States Telecom Association and Qwest Communications. He earned a B.A. in history from Willamette University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.