Tuesday, January 08, 2019

The Real Crisis Is Not at the Border. It’s How the Media Enables Trump’s Lies.

Two years before CBS booted him for sexual misconduct, then-Executive Chairman Les Moonves was asked about the circus surrounding Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“It may not be good for America, but it's damn good for CBS," he said. “Who would have expected the ride we're all having right now? … The money's rolling in and this is fun," he said.

If that sounds familiar, you might also remember CNN President Jeff Zucker praising candidate Trump’s constant availability to the media as reason enough for the network to run wall-to-wall coverage of nearly every Trump rally in the weeks prior to the general election.

Their decisions to go all-in on Trump in 2016 may sound a distant echo today. But it’s one that is still being heard and felt in the wake of the networks’ decision to air Trump’s Tuesday-night speech about a border crisis that doesn’t exist and a wall that U.S. taxpayers don’t want to pay for.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

How We’re Getting Net Neutrality Back


A year ago today, the Federal Communications Commission under Chairman Ajit Pai made one of the worst, most abnormal decisions in the agency’s history.

It ignored public consensus and voted to strip away the Commission’s authority to protect internet users from companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon that want to block, throttle or de-prioritize the online content people want to see.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Trump’s Global News Network and the ‘Fiction of Reality’

My initial reaction to President Trump’s call earlier this week for the creation of a new, state-run global-news network was: “Wait. Don’t we already have that?”

We do. Sort of.

In the midst of World War II, the U.S. government created Voice of America (VOA) to transmit pro-U.S. propaganda to German citizens who might want a different view than the messages being broadcast by Josef Goebbels and the Nazi information machine.

Following the war, VOA morphed into a global network with a principal aim of countering the pro-Soviet narrative with one of our own.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Why Pai Lied About Net Neutrality Comments


Ajit Pai has a lot of explaining to do.

The Federal Communications Commission chairman will go before a Senate oversight committee on Thursday just days after 
an investigation by his agency’s inspector general revealed that the FCC had been ... umm ... less than truthful when it insisted a cyberattack crashed its public-commenting system during last year’s Net Neutrality proceeding.

On Tuesday, four Democratic members of the House Commerce Committee sent a series of questions to Ajit Pai, seeking to understand what the chairman knew about the comment system’s failure and when he knew it. 

The questions speak to a curious timeline where Pai and his staff took considerable pains to bolster the FCC chief information officer’s claim that the May 2017 crash was due to outside forces beyond the agency’s control.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Net Neutrality Is Not Dead Yet, or Ever

In a hilarious scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” a would-be corpse protests when a relative attempts to deposit him prematurely on a cart stacked high with bodies.

“I’m not dead yet,” he tells the body collector.

“He will be soon. He’s very ill,” his relative says, to which the man insists: “But I’m getting better.”

Net neutrality is getting much better thanks to the fierce public opposition that’s met Trump-administration efforts to kill off the principle that protects the open internet…

More at the Seattle Times

Monday, June 11, 2018

Net Neutrality Can Still Be Saved

Originally published at HuffPost

A future without net neutrality is here. Well, almost.

The Federal Communications Commission will take away the rights of internet users on Monday. Officially, the repeal of the 2015 net neutrality protections ― a repeal that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Trump pick, had pushed for ― will take effect.

That means that internet providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon will be able to block, throttle and otherwise interfere with online content without any real legal consequences.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Red Alert for Net Neutrality: What You Need to Know


Starting this Wednesday Net Neutrality supporters will raise the alarm in defense of an open internet.

Since December of last year — when the Federal Communications Commission voted to strip internet users of their Net Neutrality protections — millions of advocates of every political stripe have been organizing to nullify the ruling and restore the safeguards we expect every time we go online.

This week and next, we are joining with organizations and online companies are calling on the Senate to pass a “resolution of disapproval.” If passed by both chambers and signed by the president, the resolution would reinstate the Net Neutrality protections we won in 2015. These baseline open-internet rules prevent companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from interfering with our rights to connect and communicate.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Addressing the Federal Overhaul of the Lifeline Program and Its Effect on Low-Income New Yorkers


Testimony of Timothy Karr, Free Press 
Before the New York City Council Committee on Technology
February 28, 2018 

Hello. My Name is Timothy Karr and I’m the senior director of strategy for Free Press. At Free Press we fight for everyone’s rights to connect and communicate, which includes advocating for policies that promote universal access to an affordable and open internet.

As such, we often cross swords with the Federal Communications Commission. And we’ve been particularly busy during the Trump administration. President Trump appointed as FCC chairman a person who’s devoted his career to handing telecommunications giants special favors at the expense of the people he’s supposed to be serving.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Net Neutrality Politics is Local

“All politics is local,” the late House Speaker Tip O’Neill famously said. O’Neill is less known for another saying that also holds true: “You can’t assume anything in politics. That’s why every Saturday I walk around my district.”
It’s easy for cloistered Washington politicos to assume that Net Neutrality is dead, undone in December by the Trump FCC and its Verizon-friendly chairman, Ajit Pai. But any elected official who follows O’Neill’s advice and walks beyond the Beltway is hearing a very different story.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Trump’s Appalling Record on Internet Freedom at Home Makes Him a Weak Champion of Rights Overseas

Donald Trump wants to make the internet great again … in Iran.

But it’s another story when it comes to defending online rights in the United States.
On Tuesday, Under Secretary of State Steve Goldstein told the Iranian government to stop blocking social-media sites being used to help organize protests across the country. Goldstein also encouraged Iranians to use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) to circumvent state-network controls.
Goldstein’s comments followed up to a Trump tweet from earlier in the week calling out the Iranian leadership for “[closing] down the Internet so that peaceful demonstrators cannot communicate.”
Indeed, Iran has gone to new extremes to restrict its people’s access to the free and open internet.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Trump's Secret Weapon against a Free Press

Originally published at BillMoyers.com

Journalists in Manila had very little time to cover Monday’s meeting between President Donald Trump and his Philippine counterpart Rodrigo Duterte. But it was enough to witness one aspect of the budding bromance between these two world leaders.


As soon as journalists began asking questions about Duterte’s deplorable human-rights record, security shooed them from the room. Duterte pointed at the departing reporters and said, “Guys, you are the spies.” This elicited a laugh from President Trump, who feels a kinship with anyone who opposes a truth-seeking press.

According to Human Rights Watch, at least 177 journalists have been killed in the Philippines since 1986, making it one of the deadliest countries to be a reporter. Of these, nearly half were targeted for their coverage of politics, corruption, crime and human rights, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Block the AT&T-Time Warner Deal — But Not Because Trump Hates CNN

AT&T’s plan to take over Time Warner has hit a snag at the Justice Department.
According to press reports, top DoJ officials have told AT&T executives that they may need to divest Time Warner’s Turner Networks — including CNN — for the regulator to approve AT&T’s multibillion-dollar acquisition of the media giant.
Some of those reports also suggest that dumping DIRECTV, AT&T’s recently acquired satellite pay-TV platform, might also be a route to approval.
Still, speculation is rife that the DoJ is putting the brakes on the merger at the behest of President Trump, a fierce critic of CNN, which has pulled few punches in covering his administration.
In 2016, Trump made a campaign pledge to reject the AT&T deal if elected president. “It’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few,” he said in a speech just two weeks before the general election.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Breaking ideological gridlock from the bottom up

Originally published at OpenDemocracy.net On a cold Thursday morning in January, a small group of advocates gathered outside the imposing edifice of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, D.C. They opened the trunk of a red Ford Fusion parked nearby and began unloading more than 20 white banker’s boxes. Within minutes, they had assembled a makeshift cardboard podium. Inside the boxes were more than a million signatures collected in just two weeks from people across the country. Each person had signed an online petition urging the FCC to protect Net Neutrality, the democratic principle that ensures the internet remains free and open and prohibits the companies that control high-speed internet access from blocking or throttling content.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Five Reasons to Fire FCC Chairman Pai

Originally Published at Huffington Post

The Senate majority is charging forward with plans to vote to reconfirm Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai for another five years. Rehiring Pai to head the agency that oversees U.S. communications policies would be a boon for the phone and cable companies he eagerly serves. But it would hurt everyone else who needs this agency to put our communications rights before the profits of monopoly-minded media giants.

Usually nominations to agencies like the FCC sail through without a dissenting vote. But based on the last five years he spent at the agency (and his past eight months as designated chairman), it’s clear Pai doesn’t deserve another term.

That’s why Free Press Action Fund is urging the Senate to reject Trump’s nominee and why thousands of people are calling Capitol Hill before the vote — expected as soon as Monday — and asking their senators to fire Pai.

And for good reason.