Taking a Peek under the Astroturf

Common Cause has been keeping tabs on the faux-grassroots Astroturf groups like Hands off the Internet and TV4US.org which have been lobbying on behalf of the big telcos with the smokescreen that there’s enormous public support for a national cable franchise and against network neutrality.

Now Common Cause has released a new report compiling dossiers on five of these Astroturfers, revealing who’s paying their bills and funding their hundreds of thousands of dollars in television ad buys. Here’s a sample of the intelligence:

If there were an award for Astroturf lobby campaigns, Hands Off the Internet (HOTI) would win hands down.

With its pithy name, viral web cartoons, high profile spokesman (former White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry) and barrage of print and television advertising, HOTI has been effectively injecting the telephone industry’s arguments on net neutrality into the public debate in recent months.

And they manage to do it while hiding their relationship with
their corporate backers.

You can read the full report in PDF, and also check out Common Cause’s first Astroturf report released back in March.


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