Flashback Video: Brad plays AT&T CEO in pro Net Neutrality animation...
By Brad Friedman on 5/12/2010, 12:55pm PT  

It seems the corporate lobbyist/GOP strategy for opposing everything is now officially to charge: "It's a Government takeover of [fill in the blank]!!!"

No matter what it is. And no matter whether it's actually a "government takeover" of anything or not.

As the rightwing corporatists seem to feel the strategy found some purchase in the healthcare insurance reform debate, it looks like they'll be recycling this line for just about everything. (See our recent coverage of the CA power company's "power play" to use a "government takeover of electricity" scare to trick voters into supporting the outrageous Prop 16.)

The latest corporate scheme/campaign to employ the strategy is the AT&T-funded telecom industry's latest assault on Net Neutrality. Assuring the Internet stays open to all would be a "government takeover" of it, according to the newly launched propaganda campaign (their first deceptive video is posted at the bottom of this article) which kicked off yesterday with the help of, naturally, Grover Norquist.

The new, cynical assault on the public also offers us a good excuse to re-post a pro Net Neutrality campaign video in which your humble host played a small but enjoyable role...

Via Think Progress last night...

Net neutrality, a guiding principle for preserving a free and fair Internet, means that Internet service providers are not allowed to discriminate based on content for its customers. However, telecommunications firms — like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and others — are firmly against net neutrality because they would like to increase their profits by deciding which websites customers can see, and at what speed. The telecom industry has dumped hundreds of millions of dollars into a lobby campaign against net neutrality. As the FCC now takes up net neutrality rule making, the industry is pushing an “outside approach” of hiring front groups and astroturf operatives.

This morning, representatives from various front groups launched a new coordinated campaign to kill net neutrality. Speaking on Capitol Hill, these front groups took turns decrying the evils of the principle of a fair and unbiased Internet.LULAC, which is funded by AT&T, called Net Neutrality “Obamacare for the Internet.” (LULAC was not present at the press conference. The Hispanic Leadership Fund, another group funded by the telecom industry and opposed to net neutrality, spoke at the event. We apologize for the error.) Americans for Prosperity — a corporate front group founded by oil billionaire David Koch but also funded by telecom interests — unveiled a new ad smearing net neutrality as a “government takeover” (the initial ad buy is $1.4 million dollars). And Grover Norquist, representing his “Americans for Tax Reform” corporate front group, said net neutrality is like what China does, “putting policemen on every corner, on the street or on the Internet.” Watch the video.


Think Progress has also obtained a PowerPoint document said to detail the telecom industry's planned campaign to, among other things, target "libertarian minded internet users and video gamers."

Yeah! Those suckers will buy anything if you call it a government conspiracy, I guess.

[Update: CNET's Declan McCullah disputes the above aspect of the story, reporting that the PowerPoint presentation came from students not affiliated with the telecom industry. ThinkProgress has replied in kind with an update to their story, disputing points from McCullagh's report.]

* * *

Industry front-group Americans for Prosperity's new 30-second video spot, describing Net Neutrality as a "Washington take over of the Internet" follows...


* * *

For those unfamiliar with the issue of Net Neutrality, here's a short, cute and instructive video animation released in 2007 by the pro Net Neutrality forces of SaveTheInternet.com in which yours truly had the pleasure of voicing the role of then AT&T CEO (now GM CEO) Ed Whitacre...


P.S. That's my friend Mimi Kennedy of PDA (and of Dharma & Greg) playing the role of "Rita".