Shame on the GOP and Dems in California: Gutting Community Oversight of Broadband

If we ever needed evidence about how both major political parties are in the pocket of the telecommunications industry’s very deep pockets, all we need to do is look at California. The new cable law kills the historic and critical role local governments have played in ensuring cable systems are held accountable and required to do public service. Now all franchising (the licensing of cable systems) will be governed by a single statewide agreement. Doling out these “one-size fits all, lowest common denominator” deals will be the feckless Public Utility Commission.

Democratic honcho Fabian Nunez, the Speaker of the Assembly, concocted the new law. Yesterday, GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed it. According to the Los Angeles Times, “AT&T spent $18 million through June lobbying and running television and full-page newspaper ads urging consumers to support the Nuñez bill — and then to thank Nuñez after it passed the Legislature.” [registration required]

The argument that Nunez and his Verizon and AT&T pals made to pass the bill was that only by gutting local oversight could California see cable competition. Boy, these folks should be ashamed. They have removed the key mechanism designed to ensure broadband networks serve local needs. There won’t be any serious competition—in either price or content. Just a few extra giants who are now free to run roughshod over both the cable TV and broadband business.

But money and power talks—and Nunez, Schwarzenegger and company played ball. Both parties in California have helped turn over a sizeable part of the country’s broadband resources to the very same interests which eliminated network neutrality.

PS: We note in the Los Angeles Times story the generally approving comments for the bill from USC’s Jeff Cole, the executive director of its Center for the Digital Future. Cole should have said [and the reporter should have identified if he did] that his center’s “Board of Governors” includes executives from AT&T (and other interests that supported the bill). As I said, money talks—with policymakers and too many “educational” institutions.

porn 69 moviesporn videos 69position 69 pornporn 69ingporn 6th gradeporn inch 7 penis70 pornoporn 70 s Map

BBC’s Web 2.0 Deal with Microsoft: The Devil are the Details

The English-speaking world’s preeminent public service media group just signed a “memorandum of understanding” with Microsoft. The “Beeb,” as its sometimes called, is transforming itself into a cutting-edge digital service. It is embracing the ethos of social media, Web 2.0, in order to establish meaningful interactive links with users/viewers and creators. The BBC understands that its public service mission requires it to offer and connect to all forms of media, including blogs, user-generated video, mobile, broadband, etc. What is likely to emerge will be a model for public service digital telecommunications.

But while we understand why an interest and alliance with Microsoft is tempting, we think it also raises some troubling questions. Microsoft’s new business model is about unleashing all of its resources—Windows Live, Messenger, Massive, etc.—to promote targeted advertising. Microsoft is using its content and software resources to track and pinpoint eyeballs for commercial purposes. BBC new media director Ashley Highfield, who just met with Bill Gates, said that “Microsoft is not just a key supplier to the BBC, it is also a key gateway to audiences that the BBC needs to reach.”

We think this could lead the BBC down the wrong road, allowing it to become another way the public is sold to marketers. The BBC should beware becoming a digital advertising Trojan horse for Microsoft.

Also see: Why the BBC and Bill Gates need Each Other. Steve Busfield, MediaGuardian. Registration required.

BBC press release.

AAAA: You Can Run Ads—But You Can’t Hide

The leading advertising trade group, AAAA, is worried about the industry’s image. According to Advertising Age, it has hired “one of the country’s largest PR firms to conduct a public-image campaign on behalf of the business.” Ad industry leaders hope to “stave off negative headlines” by using the same flackery shop which represents McDonalds.

The announcement by the American Association of Advertising Agencies coincides with what’s known as “Advertising Week.” There are dozens of events and conferences in New York City this week, as marketers and advertisers engage in a love fest about the power—and future of marketing. The new AAA PR campaign led by Golin-Harris plans to proactively place positive stories with reporters. No doubt they will have an impact, given that most news outlets have embraced many of the same problematic and disturbing digital marketing tactics. Make no mistake—AAAA members and their brand-focused clients are largely determining the future of broadband media.

But the ad industry can’t hide the fact that their plans not only threaten our privacy, but also undermine our quality of life. Using the power of the new media to get all of us, individually, to consume more cars, fast-food, drugs, etc. will help bring us a world further out of whack.

In the opinion of this blogster—the Ad industry won’t have an easy PR ride.

[Source: “Just Make it Stop: 4A’s Hires PR Help. Matthew Creamer. Ad Age. Sept. 25, 2006]

What Scott Cleland (and Co.) Doesn’t Get About Net Neutrality

A few words here in response to the endless missives coming from Mr. Cleland about network neutrality—via his blog at Mr. Cleland was once known for his in-depth, informed and passionate analysis about the intersections between technology and policy. But now Mr. Cleland has become, shall we say, outright dyspeptic. He is convinced—we assume sincerely—that network neutrality advocates are either greedy monopolists themselves (Microsoft) or monopolists in the making (Google). Mr. Cleland and others conveniently claim that the battle over network neutrality is just a digital food fight among giants.

But we want to make it clear, again, what the network neutrality fight is about. It’s having a U.S. digital media system where all forms of content can conveniently and affordably be created & distributed—to TV’s, PC’s, and mobile devices. Network neutrality is a policy where access to content doesn’t depend on the whims of the owners of your network, operating system, or e-commerce provider. It means maximum freedom in the broadband era, an enhancing of our democracy. That includes the right to receive any kind of content you want—now. In the not too distant future, the ability of programmers and political leaders to effectively communicate ideas will depend on their access to the “triple play” distribution system. The battle for network neutrality is to ensure we have no digital gatekeepers—including AT&T, Comcast, as well as Microsoft, Google, Yahoo!, etc.

Mr. Cleland’s backers wish to control that future—otherwise they would have to content themselves with only the (considerable) revenues from fair-minded distribution. Comcast, AT&T and the others all want to be King of the broadband domain. But in a digital democracy—there shouldn’t be lords of the realm, only citizen/users/creators.

So, as we go off for a few days to the place where they are also helping decide the future of our broadband system (Advertising Week in NY), we ask that Mr. Cleland pause and reflect. We hope he will join us in saying, “A curse on all your houses—those that wish to domineer and overly profit from a media system that belongs to all of us.” Imagine—a broadband environment run on behalf of all the people.

Telco’s Plot New Challenges to Localism and Cable Broadband

The telephone broadband giants—AT&T and Verizon—say they are stepping up efforts to scuttle the local cable franchising process. According to Light Reading, they “are working hard at the state level to push statewide franchises into law…” While the phone lobby hopes that Congress will pass the Stevens/Barton/Rush telecom give-away bill this session, they acknowledge that they were blind sighted by the fierce support for network neutrality. “For many of us it’s just been really frustrating,” says Jeff Brueggeman, AT&T VP of regulatory planning and policy in Washington.” As noted in Light Reading, Brueggeman told a conference that he and his colleagues didn’t see the net neutrality log-jam coming. So that’s why they plan to continue state-by-state, to secure laws that preempt the ability of local governments—and their citizens/residents—to ensure broadband services really benefit the public.

Both Stevens and Joe Barton made statements yesterday urging Congress to pass the law. Hopefully, they will fail. Their bill doesn’t really provide for video competition. It just sets the stage for a more powerful broadband monopoly.

But, we want to discuss localism for a moment. There has been a long-standing federal policy that our electronic communications system is supposed to empower and serve local voices—real communities. Much of the current debate on the FCC’s media ownership rules involves effectively defining and ensuring such localism. But there has been no more meaningful policy supporting localism in the electronic media than cable franchising. For whatever its flaws, it provides the only real opportunity for actual community members to play a key role shaping multichannel broadband systems (including ensuring local programming needs).

We hope that with a new Congress—assuming the Barton/Stevens/Rush conglomerate give-away fails—will look anew at the role of localism in the debate about Telco broadband video service. Meanwhile, further state pre-emption [already passed in Texas, Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kansas, Virginia, and New Jersey -with California soon to also formally approve] must be vigorously fought.

Glover Park Group—Rupert Murdoch’s Flack Comes Out Against Open Net/ Sen. Stevens Uses Stealth Verizon-Paid Poll to Undermine Public Interest

The folks at the Glover Park Group—who last year helped conduct a stealth campaign to aid Rupert Murdoch—are now assisting Sen. Ted Stevens wreck the U.S. electronic media system. Stevens’ Commerce Committee released a poll yesterday slamming “onerous Net Neutrality regulations.” The Verizon-paid for poll illustrates how desperate Sen. Stevens and his phone/cable monopoly allies are (nothing about Verizon’s sponsorship is cited in the release or the poll—something the Commerce Committee should apologize to the public for).

Stevens and company can’t really speak about the substantive issues involving Internet Freedom—because they lose. So Stevens and allies now appear to be hanging their argument supporting a closed Internet on a poll finding that only “very few registered voters are familiar with the issue of network neutrality.” As if the lack of public awareness about an important policy issue means something is wrong with it! Hello. Has the Senator been swallowing those tubes, instead of using them to get his talking points from the Glover Park Group flackery shop?

Now, to the “bipartisan” Glover Park Group (which did the poll with Public Opinion Strategies). Aren’t we tired of Democrats who take the big bucks and the public interest be damned? This poll was written to help phone companies scuttle policies designed to provide community oversight of electronic media. The poll should come with a warning: “this is a political tool.” That Stevens, Glover Park, and Public Opinion would hold it up as some objective measure is a sad joke. It’s a lobbying love letter for Verizon, AT&T, BellSouth and the USTA. It asks questions about network neutrality purposely designed to undermine it as an issue. Perhaps that’s why the poll doesn’t reveal who funded it. Such well-known Democratic operatives as Howard Wolfson, Joe Lockhart, and Carter Eskew run Glover Park. In 2005, the group helped Rupert Murdoch organize a campaign designed to keep bringing in extra cash for his Fox TV empire. Press reports say they also have worked for big cable companies as well.

By helping the phone lobby create a closed Internet, the Glover Park Group is undermining the country’s democracy. What great credentials alongside working for Fox.

title abc loan96 loans auto monthloans 5000 no check creditafrica loan microloans interest 3.9accedemic group loanpayday advantages of loansurl payday add loan Map

Google’s Alliance with Rupert Murdoch and Fox News

We think Google founders’ Larry Page and Sergey Brin need to revisit what they personally hope to ultimately contribute to society. Google’s deal with Rupert Murdoch’s Fox, including its sites, supports a media empire that has engaged in jingoistic journalism (to say the least!). Hey, Google guys. Don’t you recall what Fox did to help get us into a war that has unnecessarily cost so many, many, thousands of lives—let alone caused so much destruction?

Helping Rupert Murdoch out is exactly what Google is doing. Google’s signed a much-publicized deal with Fox Interactive Media (FIM) last month, making it the “exclusive search keyword targeted advertising sales provider” for Murdoch’s “community.” But Google is also working with the rest of Murdoch’s FIM properties, including,,,,, etc. Google will be giving its pal Murdoch a minimum of $900 million over a three-year period, as part of its revenue sharing deal.

I know people will say it’s only business—and that if Google didn’t make the deal, a Yahoo! or MSN would. But that’s not the point. You need to be careful about who you choose as your business partners. So despite the positive PR Google gets when it creates a for-profit foundation, there is something ultimately wrong-headed about the company. Helping Rupert Murdoch sell interactive ads and promote the Foxnews brand is another indication that Google’s legacy may be one rich with cash—but not corporate moral clarity.

Bush White House Saves Ken Tomlinson’s toochis* at BBG

Ken Tomlinson survived a vote of no-confidence yesterday only because of White House support. Tomlinson, the chair of the Broadcast Board of Governors (BBG), kept his job with the key vote delivered by Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes (representing Sec. of State Condi Rice on the BBG board). In essence, it was the President—or more likely Tomlinson’s pal Karl Rove—that kept him in charge of the U.S. overseas propaganda/and news service. Tomlinson’s activities were criticized recently by a State Department Inspector-General report. Among the charges: Tomlinson spent time on the job working on his horse racing business.

Democrats on the BBG board supported two resolutions: his dismissal as chair while an inquiry continues and one that would have reduced his authority. Tomlinson, you will recall, was also forced to give up his other Bush Adm. high-level job last year—chair of the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Both at CPB and BBG, Tomlinson has engaged in a variety of activities that were deemed unprofessional—if not illegal. But he also gave the White House what it wanted. At CPB, Tomlinson created a behind the scenes pressure campaign to stifle the (occasionally) more serious journalism of PBS and NPR, and put GOP party operatives in overall control. At the BBG, we assume Tomlinson’s role has ensured that its various services are fully incorporated with the overall Administration game plan for its “war on terror.” Think `psyops’ and government PR. Tomlinson would have also actively quelled any internal dissent about the BBG’s mission, coming from the more idealistic news types at VOA. The blind loyalty he has received from the White House raises the question of exactly what Tomlinson’s has been doing for them at the BBG. We hope reporters and others will help us find out. I’d like to place a bet on it!

* toochis

loans refinance amoritizationamatorize loan ahome iowa in 203k loansloan 100 10loan mortgage 2nd bad creditadvance loancredit car alaska loan badloan cash advance michigan Map

Bud.TV: Beer and Burlesque Come to Broadband/What the show “Replaced by a Chimp” tells us about the future of Digital Media

We are unleashing the most powerful media system every developed. Two-way, lightening-fast, personalized. Ubiquitous, as we are connected everywhere: PC, TV, mobile. How does some of the Fortune 500 intend to use this new medium? Well, Anheuser-Busch’s Bud.TV is about to unleash at least seven broadband video channels. They already have programs in production. One is called “Replaced by a Chimp.” For each show, they will “grab a profession, such as a waiter, or a bartender, or a trial attorney and replace those people with a chimp, and film the reaction of the consumers who happen to be in the same environment as the chimp. And then, at the end of the show, the consumer will vote on whether the chimp should stay and continue on the job…” That’s according to Bud’s VP of digital marketing and brand entertainment. [Read the three-part iMediaconnection series here.]

While we think such a show has some unthought-of of possibilities (replace a President, Congressperson or DC-based ad industry lobbyist anyone?), what Anheuser-Busch and so many others plan to do with branded entertainment raises many serious concerns (not the least of which is that though they claim otherwise, Bud will be reaching the under age drinking age population via these methods). Bud intends to air what it calls a “documentary,” –it will be peppered with “product placements.” They are signing up well-known actors, such as Kevin Spacey and his TriggerStreet Productions, to create short films—and ultimately help endorse– their adnetwork. Bud.TV is negotiating with Rupert Murdoch so it can get a MySpace page for one of their “characters.” They are talking to NBC/Universal as well. They will use viral strategies to get consumers to make commercials for their beer, which will be shown on its very own channel–named “BudTube.” (I couldn’t make all this up if I tried!).

But hey, broadband and digital media will soon all be about interactive marketing, brand pushing, and data collection. I guess I better chill. After all, I might miss Bud.TV’s “happy hour” program. They’ve named it the “4:55 Show.”

PS: As we noted yesterday, advertisers and programmers want to return to the good old days when they jointly created content. We acknowledge that the 1950’s Today show star J. Fred Muggs might approve of the Bud Chimp idea.

Returning to the Bad Old Days of Advertising Created Content: Time Warner’s Studio 2.0

The so-called tattered “wall” separating editorial content and advertising will soon be totally obliterated. So eager/desperate for ad dollars, a vast array of websites, TV networks, and others on the broadband highway are willing to do anything to please marketers. Financially powerful brands are using their clout—and online access–to create a web of channels and other content designed to promote products. It’s going to be an ad, ad, ad, ad world.

Take, for example, Time Warner’s new “digital ad content division,” which it named “Studio 2.0.” This unit will “integrate brands and develop programming specifically for ad sponsorship,” noted Ad Age. Time Warner and others want to give us a torrent of ad-created content designed to promote greater consumption of the products which pay them the most [think junk food, fast cars, and beer]. A model for such efforts, they proudly claim, is radio and early television. Radio broadcasting broke its promise to the public that there would be substantial commercial-free (known as sustaining) programming. Program schedules were created and packaged by ad agencies. TV networks also worked closely with Madison Ave. to help promote brands. For example, NBC’s evening TV news program was called “The Camel News Caravan,” named after its sponsor—Camel cigarettes. Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz could be seen smoking cigarettes on their popular “I Love Lucy” series. Philip Morris was the sponsor.

Here’s what a senior Warner TV exec. said about the mission of Studio 2.0. “We view this an a natural extension of what we do every day as content creators, and we’re adapting to the digital environment. Since advertisers were intimately involved in the early days of television, it makes sense for them to be involved in this arena, too.”

Yikes! I hope they add that quote in Time Warner’s annual corporate social responsibility report!

Here’s an excerpt from the Time Warner Studio 2.0 announcement: “What has become eminently clear is that our advertising partners in our traditional television businesses are anxious to work in collaboration with the creative community to develop original digital content,” said [Bruce] Rosenblum [president Warner Bros. TV Group]. “At our core, we are a content creation company and Studio 2.0 is a natural, yet extraordinarily exciting, extension of our television production businesses. We are confident that…Studio 2.0 will successfully provide advertisers with cutting edge tools that will integrate their brands with inventive digital content in fresh, impactful and meaningful ways. At the same time, Studio 2.0 will present our creative partners in our television production divisions with a vibrant platform to express their vision in expanding digital arenas…” The complete release is here.

The role that advertisers are playing in the creation of content (see Bud.TV, for example) and with media companies such as Time Warner, Viacom, and Fox is more than troubling. It will require more than disclosure, although such prominent notifications about the financial arrangements and placements will be necessary. Web 2.0 must become more than a series of virtual advertorials. We will be returning to this topic in the months to come.

us loans adverse home creditaffordable loan onlineloans all construction about home newloans 1st improvement homeloan 54 37 payday day payrate loans adjustableloan cash advance personal payday loannet cash payday advance loan Map