Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Bellsouth - Caught with Hand in Cookie Jar!

BellSouth. By any means necessary?

Fighting municipal fiber builds isn't a cause that justifies throwing away all your ethics. Bellsouth's behavior in Louisiana should have consequences throughout the company. When BellSouth's Bob Blau makes a speech in D.C., the respect he's earned is diminished if his company falsifies the truth down south. Some great work from the Lafayette Independent, picked up by David I. and Broadband Reports.

"Engaging in the sleazy business of push polling is a bridge too far for us.... Cox Communications allegedly used the tactic last summer when City-Parish President Joey Durel announced his fiber-to-the home intentions. But this latest incident was the first time that the sponsors behind this type of blatant push polling were immediately identified and we could pin the tail on the donkey. As soon as the push poll started last week, a number of city residents contacted local media when they were dragged through the spin cycle. ...

Consider its dark side. Think about the unsuspecting recipient of a call who believes he or she is actually participating in a genuine and straightforward "information gathering" exchange with the caller. Push polling slyly attempts to switch off our political message "defense filter" by convincing us the purpose of the call is to get our opinion on the topic. But, of course, that's not why they're calling. The greatest danger from the practice is its capacity to spread lies and disinformation about candidates or issues without the perpetrator having to take ownership of the lie. Consider some of the questions from last week's poll:

  • 'Since LUS rations water, how would you feel about receiving your cable 2-3 days a week?'
  • 'Since the law separates church and state, how would you feel about losing your cable-based religious programming?'
  • 'Do you want Big Brother watching your Internet and e-mail usage?'

When negative political advertising runs on TV, as disgusting as it often is, campaign finance laws require disclosure of the source of the ad, and we can measure the disinformation with the credibility of the opposing candidate or camp. Push polling tries to deny us, as voters, the ability to connect the dots between the lie and those who benefit from its telling. It should have no place in Lafayette."

It's time for Duane Ackerman to make sure his company lives up to his ethical standards. Bellsouth already donates too much money to the sleaziest folk in politics, lining up alongside Verizon and SBC with literally millions of dollars.

(Reprinted from ISP Planet.)