Saturday, June 25, 2011

What a mess! GLAAD, EqualityCalifornia, AT&T, and the threat to Net Neutrality


by Ken

I don't know if you've been following the fracas, so far focused mainly on GLAAD (the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) -- leading to the resignation of executive director, Jarrett Barrios earlier this week -- surrounding the disclosure that a number of organizations that over time had accepted substantial contributions from AT&T and even had a man with close ties to the company on their boards had filed statements of support for AT&T's plan to dismantle Net Neutrality which were in fact written by AT&T. (GLAAD does oustanding work on public, notably media, misperception on LGBT issues. The universsally admired work of its highly energetic and highly effective staff can't have been made easier by the hubbub of these last couple of weeks.)

Yesterday FDL's Teddy Partridge reported this latest development (links onsite):
Troup Coronado, AT&T Handmaiden, Leaves Equality California Institute Board

By: Teddy Partridge, Friday June 24, 2011 10:56 am

Having slithered off the GLAAD board of directors amidst other departures announced in that organization’s long-awaited statement, Troup Coronado, Esq., — the AT&T handmaiden who’s the source of all this travail in LBGT organizations that took “stands” on the T-Mobile merger and net neutrality — has left the Equality California Institute Board of Directors as well.

It’s a good thing, too, since Troup Coronado’s anti-gay efforts in the Heritage Foundation and the GWBush Administration are coming to light, as well as his smarmy history of breaking “ethics” rules in place during the Wild West Denny Hastert/Tom Delay era as a House lobbyist.

Earlier this week, Equality California withdrew a letter to the Federal Communications Commission from its then-Executive Director, Geoff Kors, about net neutrality. Here is I-ED Carroll’s recent e-mail and his letter to the FCC withdrawing that letter:
On behalf of Equality California I have sent the letter copied below to the FCC withdrawing our previous letter. As it says in the letter it was never our intention to oppose Net Neutrality.

And on behalf of myself I made an error in an interview yesterday with Chris Geidner in which I said that Equality California doesn’t have a policy with regard to our policy positions. In fact, there is a policy that allows the Executive Director to make decisions on policies that are core to the mission of Equality California. On issues that are outside of our core mission, such as support for our friends in labor or in the reproductive rights community, there is a policy that requires the board to weigh in if a board meeting is timely, or directs the matter to the Executive Committee. In the event of an urgent policy choice the ED can seek counsel from the Board President. I apologize for any confusion this might have created. I’ve only been Interim ED for 7 weeks!

Jim Carroll

June 22, 2011

The Honorable Julius Genachowski
Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW, Room 8-B201
Washington, DC 20554
RE: Withdrawal of letter dated October 12, 2009 – Broadband Industry Practices (WC Docket No. 07-52)

Dear Chairman Genachowski and Commissioners:

On October 12, 2009, Equality California submitted a letter to the Commission urging the preservation of an “open and accessible Internet” and requesting an effort to reach out to the LGBT community. It has come to our attention that the phrase “open and accessible Internet” can be taken to indicate opposition to net neutrality, which was neither our intention nor our organization’s position. We fully support the principles of net neutrality.

Accordingly, we request that you withdraw our letter of October 12, 2009.

Very truly yours,

Jim Carroll
Interim Executive Director
Equality California

Equality California promises a statement shortly; when I receive it I will append it as an update to this post.

Teddy, you'll note, is pretty tough on the orgs who've taken Troup Coronado into their bosom. Actually, it's not entirely clear that he has been engaged in unremitting evil masterminding.

For that matter, there's been a lot of anguish in the LGBT community over the vilification of AT&T. It's pointed out that the company has an unusually good record on its treatment of LGBT employees as well as its financial support of LGBT organizations and causes -- money that's admittedly a drop in the bucket for a company of its size but that may spell life or death for the recipients of its largesse, always hard-pressed for cash, and obviously much more so in the desperate climate following the economic meltdown. Was it wrong for orgs to accept, even welcome support from a source that has long seemed on board with their causes?

It seems kind of far-fetched that AT&T planted Troup Coronado on those boards as the linchpin of a scheme to infiltrate LGBT orgs to engineer the support that will put their anti-Net Neutrality crusade over the top. At the same time, it's a little scary to discover that some LGBT activists don't understand how damaging the AT&T-engineered breach of Net Neutrality will be, not just for LGBT causes, but for everyone who isn't a top-dollar supporter of the corporatist state.

Net Neutrality sounds like such an abstract, minor technical issue, sort of the way "media concentration" did all those years when annoying Cassandras were warning of its danger to free and open expression. Well, nothing ever was done to slow the onrush of media conglomeration, and here we are in a world where an alarmingly paltry number of media moguls control an alarmingly large portion of what passes for mass-consumed news.

If the result hasn't been quite as dire as the Cassandras warned (at least not yet), it's in good part because of the unforeseen rise of the Internet, making possible the widespread dissemination of non-corporate-blessed content. Thank goodness the corporatists won't be able to get their grubby mitts on that!

Oh, wait.

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At 5:29 AM, Anonymous Lee said...


I'm switching back to Verizon after a year of Comcast. Verizon offered me a better deal and I already have the FIOS equipment. Fri after clearing up the money I owed Verizon ( they pad their bills) a work order was issued to port my phone back to Verizon. I watched as my Internet was cut off. I got back on the phone with Comcast and got someone probably in India who wasn't interested in helping me ( more about that later) Anyway I was getting no where so I called back and got a really nice lady who wanted to help. Less than 10 minutes later I was back online and while we were waiting for the wireless router reset we got to talking.I always wondered why channel lineups were dependent on zip codes. Because local Politicians can say yes or no to a channel. The Mayor of Lancaster PA about an hour from here said NO to MTV, so Comcast doesn't carry it for subscribers in Lancaster. I also learned that Comcast is being flooded with calls about Current TV and KO.Right now I can watch Current on Comcast, but Verizon only carries it on the next tier which would cost me another 15.00 a month.Oh and folks at Comcast get 8 minutes to resolve issues before they are docked.

The next Net fight is going to be over streaming and bandwidth.

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the co-chairs of GLAAD who is STILL on the Board is another Conservative Republican with a long history with Troup Coronado... (pulled from another site): He is "a guy named scott e. miller and his glaad bio mentions his work for president george herbert walker bush:

Earlier in his career, Scott served in the George H.W. Bush administration in Washington, D.C. He worked at the U.S. Department of Labor in the areas of Affirmative Action and Equal Employment Opportunity, and later at The White House in Presidential Personnel where he recruited individuals for political appointments within the administration. Scott earned his bachelors degree in communications with a focus in public relations from the University of Alabama in 1988. He is a native of Birmingham, Alabama.


miller also served on the board of SF's now-defunct academy of friends. search the BAR archives for the recent history on AOF. miller left the AOF board before the group collapsed. BAR articles are here:"

Miller does not seem to have done anything for civil rights that did not come with a chance to rub elbows with the stars. If he did, it is not on his bio.

The other co-chair is a straight woman who had the forward written for her book by someone vocally against equality for gay people.

I have heard from many that Barrios fell on his sword to save the organization. While we are looking for answers to what happened with GLAAD, I agree with others that it is fair and necessary to ask what the co-chairs knew, and when they knew it.


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