Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blackburn for sale, cont'd.

A nice, sweet article from the Commercial Repeal about Congressman Blackburn's representation of corporate interests over public welfare...

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn challenges pro-net neutrality group
By Bartholomew Sullivan
Memphis Commercial Appeal

WASHINGTON -- When it comes to Internet neutrality, is corporate financial influence an interest or a bias?

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said Wednesday that she understood the "interests" represented by AT&T and two Internet start-up companies but needed clarification on the "bias" of the nonprofit media reform group Free Press.

During a House Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearing, Blackburn pressed for information about the media reform group's sources of funding.

Free Press champions preserving an open Internet and neutrality rules preventing companies from slowing or blocking traffic for their own competitive advantage. It also opposes media consolidation.

"I think it might be instructive to us, if we read your testimony, and as we try to figure out, you know, the bias that you bring to the argument, if you could detail to us where Free Press gets its funding," Blackburn said.

S. Derek Turner, Free Press' research director, agreed to provide the information but added, "Free Press takes zero corporate money. We're completely supported by our members and by foundation support."

Blackburn has reintroduced a bill that would prevent any entity but Congress itself from regulating the Internet and has become a leading advocates of a hands-off approach to the telecommunications industry.

Free Press' website indicates it is supported by several major foundations, including such well-known philanthropies as John D. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Haas Foundation, The Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation and George Soros' Open Society Institute. Soros is a Hungarian-American financier and supporter of liberal causes.

Free Press spokeswoman Jenn Ettinger said it had more than 500,000 members nationwide.

The Republican-controlled subcommittee later voted 15-8 along party lines to repeal the Federal Communications Commission's new "network neutrality" rules.

Check out some of the comments from unhappy folks in the 7th District.