Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

There's a really stupid lie that's catching on among tech reporters.  It started with George Ou at ZDNet, and then went to David Berling at the same publication.  Here's what Ou wrote:

It appears that the Net neutrality proponents have been caught in a flagrant lie in their effort to scare the public...

MyDD.com and SaveTheInternet.com along with many other Net neutrality activist sites have accused Cox Communications of deliberately blocking the website Craigslist by quoting a report from our own Tom Foremski.

Well I suppose that would be a lie if I had accused Cox of deliberately blocking Craigslist.  Only I didn't.  Here's what I wrote.

Big companies, through incompetence, malevolence, or economic choice, can control the internet. Without legal protections, they will. So if you like dropped calls and crappy cable service, you'll love what the non-neutral net will look like.

The point I was making is that there is an incentive problem.  Without net neutrality enforcement and with the current non-competitive state of the consumer broadband access market, large network operators won't have a real incentive to fix problems like this one.

Of course, it's easier to pretend like I was claiming that Cox was intentionally blocking Craiglist.  But that is a lie.

I wish the debate weren't this muddled, but it's been a strategy of the network operators to make this issue as confusing as possible.  I've now been called a partisan, a socialist, and a liar.  The Handsoff the internet folk have even bought Google adwords for the search result 'Matt Stoller'.

The reality is that this is a fight that the lobbyists never wanted to have publicly.  They never expected to have to deal with the public, and they're muscling their insider connections as aggressively as possible to prevent us from having a voice.  Even as the telecom companies talk of their commitment to the principles of network neutrality to assuage critics, their front groups are asking constituents to send letters that start with the sentence 'I am writing to ask you to oppose "Network Neutrality." This type of flackery seems to be par for the course.

What's really going on is that there is a conflict between two different ways of doing business.  One way is open to the public.  The other is private, secretive and controlled by lobbyists.  These insiders are reacting aggressively and dishonestly against people advocating for the public's right to participate in determine how we talk as a nation.  It's how DC works right now.  Or rather, doesn't.

Update: The telco trolls in the comments have brought a different post of mine to my attention, which makes it more obvious they are lying. Here's what I wrote back when the Craiglist problem came out:

There's a pervasive myth that there has been no discrimination on the internet against content companies. That is simply untrue. For one, Craigslist has been blocked for three months from Cox customers because of security software malfunctions.
How does this square with me and "many other Net neutrality activist sites have accused Cox Communications of deliberately blocking the website Craigslist"? It doesn't, but I guess that doesn't matter to McCurry and his merry band of liars.

Update, again: Ok, the situation seems to be resolved. The reason some Cox customers couldn't get to Craigslist was due to a software malfunction on Cox's end, which is what I originally wrote. The makers of Cox's security software are even buying Craig a steak dinner as an apology for the error. And Craig Newmark backs me up here on the larger point, saying that what happened to Craigslist is exactly what could happen "if the big guys ignore net neutrality".

Tags: net neutrality (all tags)

Comments

48 Comments

Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

i called my senators today about it, again. still "no position." this time, i threatened them. "i've got a blog, and lots of readers. i don't want to have to make you out to be the bad guys." one staffer seemed to grok the word blog, the other not so much.

keep up the good work, matt. obviously, it's rather easy to slap down the paid shills, but then again, that's why they're paid shills. it's work best left to the stupid and lazy.

by chicago dyke 2006-06-21 08:27PM | 0 recs
Actually, you did lie and you've been busted

Your original post was ironically titled "Please Lie to me about Net Neutrality" and you did.

You wrote: "There's a pervasive myth that there has been no discrimination on the internet against content companies.  That is simply untrue.  For one, Craigslist has been blocked for three months from Cox customers because of security software malfunctions...

The telcos are of course lying about this, claiming that no web sites have been blocked.  And gullible reporters are falling for the lies."

When you used the word "discrimination" you charged something was taking place far more nefarious than a simple software bug in an optional piece of software running on some of Cox Cable customers' PC's (and one that can be easily de-installed.) You charged an intentional act on the part of Cox Cable.

And by the time you made this charge, the problem had be identified and resolved for three months.

You lied, Matt, and you were found out. The only way to get the egg off your face now is to confess, apologize, admit you're a know-nothing and promise to enter counseling.

by bubbadude 2006-06-22 03:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Actually, you did lie and you've been busted

Here's what I wrote:

There's a pervasive myth that there has been no discrimination on the internet against content companies.  That is simply untrue.  For one, Craigslist has been blocked for three months from Cox customers because of security software malfunctions.

Explain how this is saying anything about Cox blocking Cox intentionally for competitive reasons.

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-22 05:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Actually, you did lie and you've been busted

Matt,

You didn't actually use the word intentionally, but the main point of each of your three sentences in that paragraph are intended to imply that point:

Sentence 1: It's a pervasive myth that there has been no discrimination against content companies.

Sentence 2: This is untrue

Sentence 3: Craigslist has been blocked from Cox customers for three months

Why would you talk about Cox blocking Craigs List in the same paragraph as saying there has been discrimination against content companies if that wasn't the point you were trying to make? Coincidence?
 

by 4 a better internet 2006-06-22 06:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Actually, you did lie and you've been busted

Look at what you said in context--you went on to quote Tom Foremski saying that this was caused by a Cox blacklist:

"Back on February 23rd Authentium acknowledged that their software is blocking Craigslist but it still hasn't fixed the problem, more than three months later. That's a heck of long time to delete some text from their blacklist. And this company also supplies security software to other large ISPs."

And this was after you already knew that this was not caused by a blacklist.  You continued to repeat an erroneous claim even after you knew that it was erroneous.  That's lying.

by Jim Lippard 2006-06-22 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

Matt - you did say "welcome to a non-neutral net" as a tag line for the story about Cox.  

by dem1 2006-06-22 04:59AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

Whether you outright SAID Cox was blocking Craigs List, IMPLIED they were blocking Craigs List or just SUGGESTED this activity might lead to nefarious conduct, it was pretty clear the point you were trying to get across.  I'm not going to suggest you outright lied, but c'mon Matt, you attempted to exploit the situation to make your political point.

You're having a field day going after the telecom and posters like myself who support the Hands Off the Internet side of the debate, but all the examples you have cited of sites being blocked were either in Canada, or due to technical reasons, none of them were out-and-out violations of net neutrality.

Ironically enough, we may have our first legitimate case of a blatent violation of net neutrality...and it's NOT by a telecom company, but by a CONTENT provider:

http://blogs.zdnet.com/ip-telephony/?p=1 149

by 4 a better internet 2006-06-22 05:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

Matt:

I've e-mailed you twice now.  I am working on a story about the "netroots" serving as frontgroups for astroturf campaigns; Net Neutrality chief among them.  You have commented about this quite a bit and I wonder if you have any further comment, particularly in light of the alleged scandal re: Jerome and this website.

I e-mailed your yahoo account, so maybe you haven't read my requests yet.  Please check your e-mail and let me know.

I've already written a little about it here:

http://channelchanger.typepad.com/my_web log/2006/06/the_flip_side_o.html

And "The Plank" has a blog post up that says you are following Kos' orders to avoid talking about the scandal.  I hope that isn't true, but here's the post anyway:

http://www.tnr.com/blog/theplank?pid=215 74

Look forward to hearing from you.

by Patrick Hynes 2006-06-22 06:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

Kos has a post on his site about this whole "orders" nonsense that you might want to read.

by LionelEHutz 2006-06-22 08:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

The right is mounting a concerted and vicious attempt to "swiftboat" all these sites in particuliar this site and it's owner and KOS. Karl Rove and his merry band of thugs have decided it's time to put the screws to the INTERNET. When their done it will be another Corp. shopping mall cleansed of any distractions ( Porn & File Sharing) and politically correct ( right wing blogs, chatrooms and news sites only.) Their using the Chinese model and the attacks are just beginning. Isn't Fascism fun?

by Blutodog 2006-06-22 06:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

Grammatical errors aside, this is a complete falsehood.  The COPE Act, passed overwhelmingly by the House, has language barring any blockage of any website.

by dem1 2006-06-22 07:10AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

I don't care what the act says.  I have eyes and ears and see what is developing online and in the streets and what the goal is. As I said they intend to turn the Net into a virtual shopping mall patrolled by the Dept. of  Decency and Political Correctness. Oh, it will be done like everything else the right's been doing to strangle freedom in this country. One small degree at a time. They wouldn't want the frog ( the public) to notice it's  being boiled alive now would they?

by Blutodog 2006-06-22 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

What are you seeing develop online and on the street?

by dem1 2006-06-22 07:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

A society slowly descending into a kind of soft fascism. Until, some event or crisis and then they'll remove the velvet gloves. Look at how these thugs have found their way around almost all the so called built in check and balances of our system. As the popular saying goes, "Locks only keep honest people out."

by Blutodog 2006-06-22 08:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

honest people and incompetent thieves

by dem1 2006-06-22 09:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

How incompetent are they really? If the goal is to grab as much power as possible their doing a pretty competent job of that. If the goal is to rule not govern once again not too shabby a performance. Making Gov't look bad serves they're purpose over the long run since they want to replace the whole thing with Corps anyway. Even big parts of the military are being outsourced. Marx might have been right when he forsaw a time when monopoly capitlaism in the form of Big Corps and trusts would absorb the State and it would dissolve. It sure looks something along those lines  is happening under these guys doesn't it? Remember what Grover Norquist said about shrinking it ( the Fed Gov't) down to a size so small it could be drowned in his bath tub?

by Blutodog 2006-06-22 09:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

You make a point about lying itself that maybe you didn't notice.  Only the whole truth is not a lie.  All else is lying.  I'm sure there is at least partial truth somewhere in there.  Successful lies force people to think beyond their means.  That's what prophaganda is.  Tell the truth in a way that deceives.

As far as censoring the content of web sites by providers I think there are legal remedies in place already.  Not only that forcing the use of law to maintain a web site is perhaps the best cheap advertising possible.  Case in point.  There's a web site that claims to have proof the Bible is a hoax.  It's refused advertising by the mainstream advertisers.  Those who accept it do so under threat of leagal action.  Then they apply rules that negate it's effect.  They're not about to get involved in a "suppression of information" class action suit and let everyone in the country know what they don't want known.  The playing field isn't all that tilted.  The web must stay free to keep it that way of course.

They might decide to shut you down if you keep noticing their lies.  Who are they anyhow?

by Bill1935 2006-06-22 07:19AM | 0 recs
such a typical corporate right-wing tactic

Accuse Matt Stoller of lying! Smear Matt Stoller! Post some random responses that attempt to contradict the previous commenter! Attack Jerome Armstrong for something or other!

Such incredibly typical bullshit corporatist tactics. It pretty much IS swift boating. It's the tired routine of attacking the messengers just to score a point by disproving something they said, no matter how trivial:

"You said AT&T's logo is white, but it's actually blue! You are BUSTED!!!!!"

Notice they don't address the main point of this debate, the supposed benefits of non-neutrality. (Big surprise.) They just go off on little tangents and try to discredit anyone who speaks against their interests.

So, telco trolls and other assorted underminers, enlighten us. No really, please. Tell us about the wondrous pleasures of further de-regulation. We'd love to hear it.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2006-06-22 07:39AM | 0 recs
Re: such a typical corporate right-wing tactic

Huh?  Folks that don't agree with Matt's position on net neut are accused of lying, and then are smeared for pointing out lies on the other side.  Isn't Matt attacking the messanger?  He said that its "fun to villify Mike McCurry" - what's that about?

The benefits of passing pending legislation with the codified FCC principles?  Simple - more investment in faster networks.  That means more manufacturing output and more jobs. More online services.  Competition in video services, which will lower cable bills.   And no one's sites get blocked or degraded.

I'm sure that you've looked at the underlying bill on video franchise reform, correct?

by dem1 2006-06-22 07:56AM | 0 recs
Re: such a typical corporate right-wing tactic

Since when have cable bills actually been lowered after any new telecom legislation has been passed?   This 'your cable bill will be lower' argument pops up every time and have cable bills actually been lowered as a result of legislation?  I don't think so.  

The only bill that I have seen lowered lately is my VOIP bill and that's because Vonage and others are out there and able to provide services that compete with my VOIP provider.  

One VOIP provider -- Verizon -- has had it with competition though and is taking Vonage to court to stop all of that competition nonsense.  

As for COPE having net neutrality provisions in the act, please point them out, because I'm just not seeing them.

Where does COPE clearly state that private ISP's -- not government -- cannot discriminate against any content provider, i.e., cannot favor one content provider's data over another based upon what they are each willing to pay?  Where does COPE state that all data must be treated equally?

Please indicate the section of the legislation where the net neutrality provisions reside.  Maybe I'm blind or my reading cap isn't working properly today, but I'm just not seeing it.  

Here is a link to COPE

Common Cause has their analysis of COPE posted here.
 

by LionelEHutz 2006-06-22 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: such a typical corporate right-wing tactic

In Texas, a statewide franchising bill passed and cable rates dropped by 25%.

If you read Title II, Section 715 of COPE, it clearly states that the FCC broadband policy is adopted.  The first provision of that policy is a prohibition of blocking of web sites.  The second prohibition of that policy is no degrading of services.  So that's where the net neutrality provisions reside. THe FCC principles are found here:  http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/at tachmatch/FCC-05-151A1.doc

By the way, the policy was adopted in September of 2005 - and there's no examples of any adverse affects since then.  I assume they must be working.

by dem1 2006-06-22 09:25AM | 0 recs
Re: such a typical corporate right-wing tactic

Dem1:  You said "In Texas, a statewide franchising bill passed and cable rates dropped by 25%."

Are you saying cable rates dropped 25% statewide?  If so, where'd you get your data?  If not, what specifically are you referring to?

by mitchipd 2006-06-22 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: such a typical corporate right-wing tactic

No - they dropped where competitors started offering an alternative service.  Look at Keller Texas

by dem1 2006-06-22 12:41PM | 0 recs
Re: such a typical corporate right-wing tactic

Relying on FCC policy statements is the problem then.  The FCC is a political animal, so if persons unfriendly to the idea of net neutrality as we see it -- meaning those not siding with the pipe owners -- were to become Commissioners they could simply change the policy statement.  As you said, the policy was changed in 2005.  The 2005 policy statement does not say anything that would prevent the pipe owners from creating a multi-tiered data transmission structure based on what content providers are willing to pay.  That policy statement and the statements from Verizon's CEO on this matter, are what has caused the outcry in some quarters for codifying the concept of true net neutrality because COPE also prohibits the FCC from implementing rules regarding enforcement of the policy statement aside from those related to creating adjudicative procedures.  

Since the FCC is a political animal I'd rather see the structure of the internet protected by law and actual regulations and not rely on the whims of fickle political appointees or the good graces of the telcos who haven't proven that they can be trusted.

re: Texas Cable rates:

I found this web page that has a link to this PDF file that shows cable rates in Texas and there are only two examples where rates were lower from 2005 to 2006.

Where do you get your statistics from re: Texas cable rates?    

by LionelEHutz 2006-06-22 12:18PM | 0 recs
Re: such a typical corporate right-wing tactic

The rates are lowers where competitiors have started to offer service.

As to not trusting the FCC, who, exactly, do you propose enforce net neutrality?  The Justice Department, because they are not a political animal?  Yeah, right.

by dem1 2006-06-22 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

Lucas, I'm sorry but you are misinformed on this.  The site was never blocked by Cox.  Some tech bloggers have dug into this and discovered that it was a technical problem caused largely by Craigs List themselves.

"the truth is that Craigslist is equally at fault and could have fixed the issue themselves long ago if they were simply following the RFCs for TCP/IP.  Many people have verified this to be the case and I took the time to verify it myself."

"Cox communications never blocked anything on the network so this was never a "Net neutrality" issue to begin with since the blocking is being done on a piece of software that users downloaded."

"Craig Newmark could have corrected the problem for everyone globally on his own servers months ago"

The link below has more details on what exactly he technical problem was.  Hope this helps clarify for you what actually happened.

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Ou/?p=250

by 4 a better internet 2006-06-22 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

"Some tech bloggers have dug into this and discovered that it was a technical problem caused largely by Craigs List themselves."

Not correct.  The problem was a bug in the firewall driver in Authentium's software that Cox distributes to customers as part of their optional security suite.  Authentium has taken full responsibility for the problem.  The problem has to do with an interaction with some unusual, but not wrong, behavior by the Craigslist web servers.

I explain the issue in more detail here.

by Jim Lippard 2006-06-22 10:02AM | 0 recs
Matt's NOT the Issue

Must be fun to gang up on Matt.  He can be annoying and does like to provoke.  

But whether what Matt said was perfectly accurate or not is NOT the issue here and it disgusts me to see it become so...especially on the day of the Senate mark-up, when sausage-making at its worst is underway--sausage-making that could have big impacts on this country's future.

Yesterday I was reading about the so called "astroturf" groups that revolve around Sam Simon's Issue Dynamics, which came up while  reading parts of this new book, by Bruce Kushnick (free downloads this week only) about how the Bells have lied and ripped off consumers for the past decade or so (Bruce may seem shrill and overstated at times, but I think he's correct in the essence of his claims).

When I was in grad school in the early 80s, I did an internship with a group headed up by Sam, when it really was a consumer-advocacy group.  I helped write a handbook for creating local community cable "cooperatives." About a dozen years later, Sam apparently now stands as king of the "grassroots for hire" movement and, I'd guess, makes a pretty penny creating the illusion of grassroots support for corporate propaganda and lobbying campaigns.  And, I'd guess that Mike McCurry made out pretty well slinging the same superficial anti-NN sh*t day after day in the past few months.

My point here is that people like Matt (who I noticed on his MySpace site graduated from Harvard) clearly have the political skills to become high-paid, amoral "hacks for hire".  But they chose not to and, I'd guess, make significantly less money for their choice.

I know what its like to try to be an entrepreneur, a professional, a father and husband (and decent human being) while also trying to carve out some (unpaid) time to participate in the ugliness of politics because you care about this country and its future.  And I'm pretty sure that's what motivates people like Matt, Jerome, Markos, etc.  

No, none of them are perfect. But they're working in an arena where the deck has long been stacked against them, and I salute them for standing up to the big-money interests whose only view of the "public interest" is what's good for their stock price (please don't insult my intelligence by arguing otherwise).

Others, like Sam Simon and Matt McCurry, strike me as folks that have become comfortable swimming in the toxic sea of amorality and immorality that is Washington and getting paid handsomely for plying their craft on behalf of the city's paymasters.

And, on the issue of ESPN raised in this thread...I haven't carefully read the article cited, but it strikes me as just another symptom of the "future Internet" favored by incumbents.  It sounds an awful lot like the battles that have raged for years with ESPN and other cable programmers on one side and cable operators on the other...the giants battling among themselves for incremental market power. Nothing new here.

The real issue at stake here is not about this market power struggle among giants (though some opponents of NN claim incorrectly that it is).  It's about the little guys without ESPN's clout (or Google's), and the citizens who want to use the Internet to engage in political dialog and organizing.  

Pipe-owners would love to have ESPN as the greedy content owner (and I'm by no means saying they're not), or even better, swift-boated bloggers, become the issue that captures the public's attention.  

But the real issue is whether our country needs a high-capacity ubiquitous neutral Internet and how best to create it.  

It disgusts me, but doesn't surprise me, to see another important issue get buried in distracting sh*t.  

And that, once again, underscores the need for a high-capacity, ubiquitous Internet, to help level the playing field and wash away the rot in our political and economic systems.

by mitchipd 2006-06-22 08:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Matt's NOT the Issue

Mitch:

This issue would/should go away if Matt simply acknowledges that he was wrong to say that Cox was using a "blacklist" to block Craigslist.

Craig Newmark already made a clear and accurate statement, to his credit.

Why can't Matt show similar integrity, instead of trying to avoid responsibility for the false statements he made?

Matt's not the central issue in the NN debate, but we should demand honesty and integrity from everyone in this and other public policy debates.

by Jim Lippard 2006-06-22 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Matt's NOT the Issue

Why can't Matt show similar integrity, instead of trying to avoid responsibility for the false statements he made?

I wrote that it was a security malfunction, a software problem.  That's what Craig wrote as well.  There was no ill-intent here on Cox's part, and I never wrote that there was.  

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-22 12:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Matt's NOT the Issue

But you did say at the end of your post "welcome to a non-neutral net" - thus implying that the Cox situation had something to do with net neutrality

by dem1 2006-06-22 12:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Matt's NOT the Issue

Matt, as I wrote above, to which you haven't responded:

Look at what you said in context--you went on to quote Tom Foremski saying that this was caused by a Cox blacklist:

"Back on February 23rd Authentium acknowledged that their software is blocking Craigslist but it still hasn't fixed the problem, more than three months later. That's a heck of long time to delete some text from their blacklist. And this company also supplies security software to other large ISPs."

And this was after you already knew that this was not caused by a blacklist.  You continued to repeat an erroneous claim even after you knew that it was erroneous.  That's lying.

by Jim Lippard 2006-06-22 02:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

I believe Craig himself said that the issue has nothing to do with net neutrality, Lucas.

by dem1 2006-06-22 09:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

Matt--It's important to note that the blogs at ZD are essentially editorials, not reporting. George is wrong and looking to demonize anyone who is pro-net neutrality, but it's his opinion.

I blog there, as well, and have been vociferous in my support of net neutrality on the same pages, arguing with George, in particular, across our blogs. Other ZD bloggers are arguing your side, too. So, I don't agree that the site is biased or that it is wrong they have their opinions.

by Mitch Ratcliffe 2006-06-22 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

It was never about Cox directly and it was never about neutrality. Craig himself explains it here, and even gives props to Cox. They were a (dare I say) neutral middleman.

It was a beef between third-parties, the customers suffered, but everyone acted in good faith. It happens every day in every industry and no one suggests we go to Congress to resolve it.

Neutrality legislation would have no bearing on this at all. It wasn't about neutrality in the first place, and the neutrality legislation that I've seen makes an exception for security software (the culprit in this case).

It was an obscure end-user software bug and an unusual setup on the Craigslist servers. So what? I had a bad meal in Sacramento the other day, too. It ain't a federal case...

by ORinSF 2006-06-22 11:06AM | 0 recs
My Comments about Sam Simon

I just got a call from Sam Simon, who I hadn't spoken to for about 25 years (I miscalculated when I said 12 earlier).  The conversation reminded me that, as tempting as it is to "go after" people based on something you hear or read, or because other people are attacking someone else you agree with, and you're pissed off about it (which occurred today), it's not a constructive thing to do--on multiple levels.  

In the few minutes we spoke, I didn't learn enough about what Sam's doing to convince me that Issue Dynamics and its related groups have been doing more good than harm with regard to "the public good"--especially in the telecom area--but it did convince me that: 1) Sam believes this is the case and believes the approach he takes is a practical and constructive one and; 2) I don't personally know enough about the facts to suggest he's only or even mostly in it for the money.

So, in publicly apologizing to Sam for publicly suggesting this is the case without any real backing for my comment, let me invite everyone else in this debate to back off from the heat of the moment--and their personal attacks on whomever--and remember that, while we may have very different perspectives on important issues that mean a lot to us--and even different sets of values--we're all still human beings, not caricatures that are either "good guys" or "bad guys," depending on which side of the debate we stand.

This, BTW, doesn't mean that I agree with Sam that his approach is a helpful one (though I will try to find time to do some homework on that question).   And more importantly, it doesn't weaken my belief that one of the greatest dangers facing our society and our world is the excess power of corporate "persons" in our economic, media and political systems, and that a neutral Internet is one of the few vital infrastructure tools that can help us begin to redress this deeply entrenched imbalance and the corruption it breeds in our political system and the inefficiencies and inequities in feeds in our economy and society.

by mitchipd 2006-06-22 12:21PM | 0 recs
Re: My Comments about Sam Simon

Here's to civility.  I'll buy you a beer next time you're in DC, Mitch.

by Matt Stoller 2006-06-22 12:47PM | 0 recs
Re: My Comments about Sam Simon
Thanks for note Mitch and the civility comment Matt. I would just note too that IDI does a lot more than just telcom work. You might want to look at my note about this at: http://www.bloggerrelations.com/blogger_ relations/2006/06/you_need_to_joi.html Sam
by samsimon 2006-06-23 02:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

In case I wasn't clear in my earlier comment, the idea that Matt was lying about the Cox-Craiglist issue is ludicrous and seems to be the expression of folks who are either politically motivated to swiftboat a strong NN advocate, who enjoy going after Matt because his posts are often pretty pointed and strongly worded (sorta like taking the smart kid in the class down a notch or two), and/or are trying to make a name for themselves by going after a high-profile blogger who is helping to lead the charge on net neutrality.

In a comment, Matt said:

I wrote that it was a security malfunction, a software problem.  That's what Craig wrote as well.  There was no ill-intent here on Cox's part, and I never wrote that there was.
 
I see nothing in Matt's posts to contradict this statement.  So anyone going after Matt on this is just revealing their own motives, not saying anything real about him.

by mitchipd 2006-06-22 01:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

And yet "its fun to villify Mike McCurry"?  

by dem1 2006-06-22 01:20PM | 0 recs
Matt lied about Cox

Matt wrote that Cox "discriminated" against Craig's List, and implied a commercial motive.

In fact, Cox did nothing but distribute a piece of software to protect its customers from attack, and when it turned out that the software had a bug that made it act all weird with Craig's List, they worked very hard with the supplier to get the bug fixed.

Cox advised its customers to de-install the software until the problem was corrected.

Matt lied, and then he lied again when he claimed he didn't lie the first time.

The Internet has a long memory, and this is going to haunt Matt Stoller for a long time if he doesn't come clean.

Look at his boss' problems with the SEC. You have to be a fool to think this is going to just blow over.

by bubbadude 2006-06-22 01:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

Mitch:

I disagree with you.  Ray Dickenson of Authentium explained the issue in response to Matt's post on June 9 (here: http://www.mydd.com/comments/2006/6/8/14 4357/7525/9#9), yet Matt was still referring to this issue as being caused by a Cox blacklist on June 14
(here: http://mydd.com/story/2006/6/14/214831/4 79).

On June 9, Matt had every reason to know that this wasn't a blacklist and wasn't relevant to network neutrality, yet he still wrote the June 14 post which explicitly stated that it was a Cox blacklist and that telcos are lying by not admitting that there are violations of net neutrality occurring, with the Cox case as an example.

Do you really think that's not even an error on Matt's part that he should correct, let alone dishonest?

I try very hard not to make accusations of dishonesty unless I see evidence of not only falsehood, but a falsehood that the person should have known to be a falsehood at the time that the statement was made.  I think Matt's repetition of the "blacklist" claim qualifies.  On the other hand, I don't think Matt's accusations of lying have met a similar standard of evidence.  What does that say about his motivations?

by Jim Lippard 2006-06-22 02:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

I disagree that "Matt had every reason to know that this wasn't a blacklist."  If I'm not mistaken, the comment from Authentium came a day after Matt's original post and was not written in a way that made it clear to non-techies what he was talking about.  I doubt Matt read it and, if he would have, whether it would have been clear what the problem was and wasn't and how it might relate (or not) to blacklists.  

George Ou's claims of "flagrant lying" strike me as most untrue here, and most worthy of questioning as to "motivations."

Though Matt has criticized Mike McCurry pretty often, he's at least acknowledged the possibility that Mike may be poorly informed, not consciously avoiding and distorting the truth--even after Mike has, over many weeks now, continued to make misleading or blatantly untrue statements and been unresponsive to key substantive critiques of his statements. To me, that's a case of prolonged reality-denying deception worthy of motive-questioning.

In my view, the deception on the other side is so great that questions of whether Matt had and should have read and fully understood that comment from Authentium are petty at best and, in most cases, politically motivated to distract and damage outspoken voices in favor of NN (a.k.a., Swiftboating).

by mitchipd 2006-06-22 03:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

Mitch:

I don't think you're evaluating objectively.  At least some of the things that Matt has accused McCurry of lying about are cases where Matt was himself factually in error--for example, about whether common carriage has applied to ISPs.

While I'm sure McCurry has been unresponsive, so has Matt (I've only seen him respond to me once), so has Timothy Karr (though he's more responsive than Matt, he hasn't answered key factual questions about what he's advocating) at SavetheInternet (both on the SavetheInternet blog and on Majikthise).

Well, ultimately I can only speak for myself.  My impression is that while the telcos tend to be selective with facts (and I don't generally find them to be either trustworthy or innovative--they are powerful rent-seeking entities with special government-granted privileges that seem to work harder on lobbying the government than innovating), they tend to be correct about the facts they do use.  By contrast, I've seen repeated inaccurate statements from network neutrality advocates, indicating an unfamiliarity with the technology, telecom law, or both.

My position is one of skepticism, especially about giving the FCC regulatory authority over Internet services that they've never previously had--I want to see people provide good justifications for their positions.  I've made my own attempt at spelling out what kind of network neutrality law could be reasonable.

by Jim Lippard 2006-06-22 06:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Lies and the Lying Liars at ZDNet

Jim,

We may disagree on our evaluation of the debaters, but I will say, based on a very quick scan of your blog posts, that your description of your preferred approach to NN seems like a useful contribution to the substantive debate on how to address the issue.  

One of the problems I see, which I think spurs much of the intensity on the pro-NN side of the debate, is that the RBOCs have demonstrated over the years that they'll use both their market and lobbying power for anti-competitive purpose (cable operators as well, though less notoriously).  

So the idea of not having any legislation aimed at protecting end-users' freedom of Internet access and expression is a scary one for a lot of people, as evidenced by the many groups supporting the Save the Internet group.  When the RBOCs say "trust us" when it comes to competitive issues, its not very credible.  And with only one or two providers in most areas, there's not enough competition to provide the market discipline necessary to constrain anti-competitive behavior.  That being said, the question of what to do about it is not a simple one--especially in today's political environment.

Anyway, I'll check out your blog posts on the NN issue when I have more time.  

by mitchipd 2006-06-22 10:05PM | 0 recs
Neutrality = "Consumer Pays"

"Freedom of Internet access" in this context merely means that the consumer gets stuck with the bill.

The net result of any of the net neutrality bills floating in Congress right now is simply to prohibit third-party billing which puts the whole thing on the poor consumer.

The arguements for this approach are exactly parallel to those for the abolition of the corporate income tax: "they just pass the costs on the consumer anyway."

Net Neutrality should be called "The Google Bottom-Line Protection and Network Investment Prevention Act of 2006."

by bubbadude 2006-06-23 03:42AM | 0 recs
Matt admitted to being a know-nothing at YearlyKos

Didn't he?

by bubbadude 2006-06-22 04:34PM | 0 recs
by travis22 2006-07-01 12:25AM | 0 recs

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