The AT&Tea Party: We’re in the Business of Silencing People & Net Neutrality

These are indeed strange times we live in where even when we’re repeatedly told we should not be surprised as to what goes down, especially in the world of politics-goes down. It was surprising to learn that AT&T is one of the biggest backers of the Tea Party and together they are working overtime to try to get rid of the Democratizing concept that has made the Internet so powerful called ‘Net Neutrality‘.

I guess one shouldn’t be shocked at the hypocrisy of the Tea Party which claims it takes issue with big corporation but then generously supports their agenda. I’m more upset with Apple which uses AT&T and upset that my hard-earned money which pays for this Iphone is going to uplift a political party that many of feel are racist and in opposition to many of our concerns.

As for Net Neutrality, for those who don’t know about this concept, it essentially says all data is to be treated equal. This means the little blog in the middle of Iowa can be accessed just as easily as the NY Times in NY. All websites are essentially one click away metaphorically speaking.

What telecoms have been doing to the tune of over 100 million dollars in lobbying money in 2009 alone with AT&T leading the way is try to change the basic structure of the internet and re-create the very conditions that drove us away from traditional media to the internet in the first place.  Instead of everyone being ‘one click away’ they want to create a tiered system where websites and companies who pay top dollars are one click away while everyone else could be 2, 3, 4 or not even on the system at all.

This means if I am living in Oakland, California and wish to present additional information to the rest of the country about some important event like the tragic Oscar Grant shooting from 2009 I would no longer be on par with the mainstream outlets.  My information could be slowed down or even blocked.

Hence, someone in NY might click on the Oakland Tribune site and get the information immediately, but it might take a couple of hours or maybe even a day or two to be visible to on my website or the websites Indy media SF, ColorlinesYouth Radio or the SF Bayview. The sad part is that person in NY might not even know this additional information had been slowed down or suspended by AT&T, Comcast or some other ISP that may have a political agenda that they want to carry out that is in stark contrast with your content.

The person on the receiving end of the information will do as they’ve always done since the internet been around and click on a link expecting to move seamlessly from one site to the next. When one site is slowed down or not accessible they move onto another. So again what AT&T wants to do is make sure the NY Times loads up quickly while the small blogger comes up slowly.

When one considers how so many people have been able to come up, challenge traditional media with other facts and various narratives to a story, net neutrality has leveled the playing field.  Unfortunately the big telecoms do not want this..and apprently neither do the Tea Party and several prominent gatekeeping civil rights orgs and politicians they have spent money on.

AT&T sponsored National Urban League Centennial Celebration. Was that part of their strategy to reach out to Civil Right orgs and get them to echo GOP talking points on Net Neutrality?

Initially the Net Neutrality debate was partisan with mostly conservative folks against it. AT&T decided that one of their strategies would be to use their money and influence to get key civil rights leaders to come on board. This may have included generous sponsorships they’ve given folks over the years with everyone from Jesse Jackson of Rainbow Push to Marc Morial of the National Urban League whose centennial celebration they recently sponsored.  Their defection and non-commital responses to supporting net neutrality was even welcomed and celebrated by top conservative bloggers like Andrew Breibart the man behind the Shirley Sherrod controversy .

Jackson has noted both in his statement to the FCC and publicly that he and Rainbow Push give ‘voice to the voiceless’. How does one have a voice without Net Neutrality protections?

Even more troubling is seeing members of the Congressional Black Caucus standing alongside the AT&T/Tea Party. How does this happen in 2010 where CBC members were just a couple of months ago complaining about racism where they were called ‘Nigger’ and being spat upon by the Tea Party members, are walking now hand in hand? Oh yeah that happens when big time lobbying money enters the picture. I guess folks can afford  to buy a clean handkerchiefs to wipe away the spit and ‘let bygones be bygones’ as far as the racial insults are concerned as they all stand under the money tree-lined umbrella of AT&T. Peep this article called ‘Hey, Capitol Hill: Who’s Your Daddy ? AT&T‘ to get a better understanding the pervasiveness of this telecom giant.

NAACP head Ben Jealous

AT&T and the telecoms even got Ben Jealous and the NAACP which relied heavily on the freedoms of the internet to launch a campaign to try to save Troy Davis from being executed to take a ‘neutral position on Net Neutrality. Remind me to let Ben know they spelled the word ‘endorse’ wrong in their clarification statement.

In recent days an online petition was put together by Color of Change pushing CBC members to step up and get on the right side of this issue. That would be away from the position of the huge telecoms.

It’s our hope that all of us stop and take a long hard look at what’s going on with Net Neutrality and not allow this important issue to get away from us the way it did when it came to media consolidation.  If you recall, back in the days leading up to that landmark telecommunications bill of ’96 we heard similar arguments from the big media corps on how giving them all this power would be a good thing for consumers. We also saw there were handfuls of Black and Brown folks who tried to jump in bed with the Clear Channels of the world. They were told they would have better opportunities. Have things gotten better since  the Consolidation? Turn on your local radio station and the answer is more than obvious-‘Hell Naw’.

The ‘Clear Channeling of media has been horrific. Again, its the main reason so many of us fled to the Internet. We wanted something better. We wanted our individual voices to be heard.  If we allow the telecoms to gut Net Neutrality with the help of the Tea Party and a handful of civil rights leaders leading the charge we will be talking about what a big mistake this was 15 years from now. Don’t let history repeat itself.

written by Davey D

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21 comments on “The AT&Tea Party: We’re in the Business of Silencing People & Net Neutrality

  1. Very interesting homie! We can’t rely on Jesse Jackson or the Black Caucas. They don’t say or do the things that will put us in a more positive position as African-Americans.

    The NAACP….lol….what a joke that’s not funny! Racist,midly racist and kinda racist people laugh at special instrest groups such as the NACCP. They should strike fear in the hearts of the bias and/or racist.
    We all saw how they treated Shirley Sherrod without even considering her entire speech.

    Dont’ get me started on the Black Caucus. Eddie Bernince Johnson was giving away college money to her well to do grandchildren, while ignoring some poor single mother who actually needed the money.

    Major corparations are afraid of a mega boycott. ATT is under fire for being dishonest about DSL speed. I am debating about going through with it, as I recieved my settlement letter.

  2. Very good read. I heard about net neutrality but didn’t really comprehend. Thanks to this article I now understand.

    Thanks for keeping me up to date this information should be published across the board.

  3. Yeah, it is a sign of the times when the rich (and faux-racists) throw a so-called tea party…that’s one change I can believe in!

  4. Does anyone know where can I find a list of companies who support the Tea Party or The GOP? I would really like to kno where my money goes

  5. “I’m more upset with Apple which uses AT&T and upset that my hard-earned money which pays for this Iphone is going to uplift a political party that many of feel are racist and in opposition to many of our concerns.”

    Well, shit, Davey. I don’t have much sympathy for you there. I have the cheapest phone on the market and it’s not just because I’m cheap and broke (I am), but I also don’t want to give any more money to these cheap labor using crooks than I have to. (Net10, baby!). I never did understand the dancing in the streets when the Iphone was released. Created ZERO jobs in America. “ooh, it works, though. there’s finally a product that works”. Then we found out those ma fuckas don’t work afterall!

  6. On may levels my iphone reference is rhetorical.. meaning that an iphone like most cell phones are owned by forces that are trying to dead net neutrality.. same with my cable which I have no choice of getting.. we have these everyday products that are often connected to things we pretty much’s a dilemna that all of us including myself face where we have good product connected to bad business..It’s no different then me seeing dead prez or the coup at a clear channel owned and operated venue produced by a clear channeled own company. No one was asking for sympathy.. just making a larger point..

  7. I remember when you first informed us on the Net Neutrality problem with AT&T. To thinking there was a solution with Verizon & Google, which was fruitless.

    I was so outraged, at hearing of the news at the beginning I didn’t get the Iphone4 when I wanted one and have been thinking of going to Verizon.

    I’ve been so torn about what has been going on with AT&T & Verizon, with so many people saying they have to have Verizon in certain areas. I remember years ago, AT&T would pick up everywhere & known for being able to use every cell tower. But this is no longer true, especially in rural areas. I don’t know if Verizon took them to court or what. But, when this happen as I have noticed Verizon plans or more expensive than AT&T;s, Because they know that people have to use their service in certain areas, and that is why they are saying all other cell co.’s are no good. Just as when you only have one cable company to choose from in a town (as my mom do) their cable bill is outrageous, with limited channels!

    This has already started happening with the cell companies delaying messages. I noticed a while back especially with my friends that have cell phones with companies like Cricket & pay $45 for unlimited talk, text, & data. They may not get your message for 24 hours. And in the fine print it say they have the right to limit the data, but most people don’t take the time to read this. I know Sprint is one of these companies.
    I’m sorry I have no solution to the problem. I just felt compelled to share what I have found out as to what is going on with these cell and cable companies.

    Peace! And thanks again Davey D!

  8. the NAACP = NATIONAL ASSOCIATION for the ADVANCEMENT of CERTAIN PEOPLE. Good article Daveyd , I cant say i’m shock by this move, It’s the american way…..

  9. I hear ya Sherry what AT&T has done is similar to Clear Channel and then some… They are everywhere and increasingly in the entertainment sector either as a sponsor or main presenter.. They understood that by marrying their company with lifestyle endeavors it would insulate them from boycotts. In other words.. so what if u drop their cell phone service, your still paying for their cable service, or even worse you may go to civil rights org that they are underwriting which means your ability to organize will get you know where..
    How deep is this.. well lets start with the Blogging While Brown conference.. this was an org dedicated to filling the void for Black folks in cyberspace.. AT&T is the main sponsor of their conference..
    They hold down CBC weekend, Urban league and Rainbow Push conferences.. They shell out hella money on both sides of the aisle.

    Its not hopeless i just think we have to find a more penetrating solution.. and keep in mind comcast and verizon are just as bad..

  10. My question to you Davey is who paid YOU to right this article?!? This is so out of your lane! I read your articles because you cover hip hop not net neutrality or whatever. THIS DOES NOT PASS THE SMELL TEST PEOPLE!!!

    There are a WHOLE BUNCH of corporations lobbying on the other side of the argument and it looks like Davey got his check!

  11. Who paid me to write this article? You did Leroy jenkins.. and if u came to my site to read Hip Hop than u haven’t been here for a minute.. also I been talking abt net Neutrality for over 5 years..And leroy if I ever got a check.. you show it to me cause I could use the money..

  12. well for one Mr jenkins you should talk with james I’m not him..

    second.. since I been on this issue long b4 free press maybe they are using mine… But you wouldn’t know that since you ‘come to my site all the time to read hip hop’ and never once came across the 30+ articles. I’ve written on this topic.. but that’s ok.. liars are never that time do ur homework homie.

    Third.. the arguments are pretty basic.. anyone with half a brain can figure that out.. whether they are uttered by free press or donald duck..

    I’m still waiting for this check I got.. you stated this publicly, so I’m waiting.. until then I will assume you to be a shield and poor one at that..

  13. Shield!?! Shield for who? No shield here i’m just tired of ignorant black men like you and James Rucker attacking our civil rights leaders. If it wasn’t for the NAACP or the CBC you wouldn’t even be able to post the BS that you post! You would be on the back of the damn bus! Its this crab in a bucket mentality thats what’s wrong with black folks! It seems to me that you have more in common with the Tea party than AT&T!

  14. like i said.. shield…that would be u Mr Leroy Jenkins….btw thanks for the check and feel free to come back again but step ur game up next time..betcha didn’t think I wrote so much on one topic?

    memo to self: call James Rucker and see if we can get Free Press talking points on Leroy Jenkins (Boy ya gotta love AT&T…and they ignorant asses..)

  15. LOL save it Leroy… Remember u came on my page and lied….U lied about me getting paid and about what I actually do… so ur credibility is shot…
    All of us put in workfor our communities.. aint no kings and queens here.. Now if u put in work, identify yourself share your track record and we can go from there…if not I will consider u AT&T…save the crab and the barrel speech for the guy down the street…

  16. Whatever, I wish i had AT&T money behind me but unfortunately i don’t! Thats a cop out and you know it! I’m just a black guy thats sick and tired of you losers attacking our civil rights leaders trying to make a name for yourselves! I would have so much more respect for you Davey D if had taken part in the struggle to get our civil rights rather than attacking folks that did!

    Really is that all that you can come up with? That i’m being paid by AT&T!?! So if a black man doesn’t agree with your stance on something he’s being paid by your enemies? Get a life Davey D!

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