Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Il.) is the lone Democrat on the House Telecommunications Subcommittee sponsoring the Barton-Hastert broadband media monopolization bill of 2006. A former “activist,” Rush now appears to be siding with his long-time “top contributors” SBC (# 4) and Verizon (#18). Rush’s support has enabled House Commerce Chair Joe Barton to claim his bill has bi-partisan backing, reports Broadcasting & Cable magazine. The Barton-Hastert-Rush bill weakens the ability of communities to ensure that the broadband digital media environment truly addresses issues of inclusion, discrimination, public service, and opportunity. SBC (now AT&T) has an important presence in Chicago, so it’s not suprising that they could readily “reach out and touch” a local pol. But it’s shameful that Rep. Rush has helped give political cover to big telecommunications lobbying interests. It should be noted that Rep. Rush has also received money from the cable lobby–but ultimately they also stand to benefit from the Barton giveaway bill (we will turn to the bill in our next post).
For too long, politicians on both sides of the aisle have allowed themseleves to be no more than puppets for the media lobby. The list of Democrats who–like Rep. Rush–have placed the interests of the media monopoly over their constituents–is a sad commentary in itself. But in the the case of Rep. Rush, he may be taking AT&T’s dollars–but it makes no sense.