Update: Apology to Craig Settles

I owe Craig Settles an apology for my snarky aside in my piece on what the broadband stimulus does. Craig has written his own rebuttal to the NY Times piece, in which he explains that the reporter lifted a single quote from a 30 minute interview out of context. In private correspondence (as well as in a comment on the original post), he has shown himself an advocate for rural broadband and certainly not a tool of industry. He also gets high ratings from Jim Baller, one of the real heroes of munibroadband and broadband policy generally.

I’ve amended the original post to take out any reference to Craig and the out-of-context quote.

Stay tuned . . .

I Suggest Giving Comcast What It Asks For . . . . Heh, Heh, Heh . . . .

As the FCC’s examination into our complaint against Comcast winds down, with what looks like a win for us (although with an opponent like Comcast, I am not going to celebrate a win until after the order is voted), Comcast has increased its efforts to woo McDowell and Tate with a show that “the market” will magically cure all ills by cutting a non-aggression pact with Vonage and a new ex parte filing listing all the wonderful things it has done since the Commission put our complaint out on public notice, which is an obvious sign that no regulatory action is necessary since it is merely coincidence that Comcast (and other broadband providers) have been scrambling with ever more serious urgency as the resolution of the complaint moves closer. Ah Comcast “Change we can believe in until all you stupid regulators go away and we can get back to crushing folks like insects beneath our fiber-coax heel.”

More of interest to us legal (and less credulous) types, Comcast filed a lengthy rebuttal to Marvin Amori’s magnum opus on Commission jursidiction. Marvin’s piece was, of course, a response to the Comcast filing after the Boston Hearing, that asserted the FCC had no authority to sanction Comcast or regulate Comcast’s broadband in the first place. Mind you, Comcast told the a California district court otherwise, and got a stay of the pending class action for blocking bittorrent as a consequence. But the first lesson of law school is that consistency is only a virtue if it serves your client. In any event, this most recent filing (which has not yet shown up online for me to link to) is therefore either the rebuttal to FP’s reply or merely the Nth go round in a “permit but disclose” proceeding.

This is reflected by Comcast’s argument, which largely rehashes previous arguments about the limits of Commission authority and whether Comcast had proper notice it could be subject to a civil complaint and civil sanction. Fair enough. Time now for the FCC to decide and then on to the D.C. Circuit. That’s what process is for, to get the arguments out so we can get a judgment and get on with our lives.

But Comcast does raise one new argument, and an intriguing one at that. And ya know, I think the Commission ought to give it to them. Heh, heh, heh . . .

Why am I chuckling? See below . . . .

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Tell Me Again How Professional Journalists Have Higher Standards Than Us Mere Bloggers.

I generally don’t consider myself a “citizen journalist.” While I believe strongly that bloggers can be journalists, I don’t believe that bloggers are journalists simply by being bloggers and imitating their favorite left-wing or right-wing pundit. For me, the importance of blogging is that it creates genuine conversation and give and take, a willingness to rediscover once taboo subjects like politics and public policy. You know, the stuff it became no longer polite to discuss because none of us fragile souls could handle disagreement, so we had to leave it to the experts.

But occasionally, one sees a pompous soul defending “traditional journalism” and arguing that it is positively dangerous and unsafe to let the mob of “citizen journalists” loose upon an unsuspecting world. And next time I encounter such a poor misguided soul, I intend to ask him or her about Scott Glover and his hack job on Chief Judge Alexander Kozinski, as published in the LA Times.

As documented in several posts at Patterico’s Pontifications, it would appear that Scott Glover was “played” by one Cyrus Sanai, although perhaps “played” is the wrong word. Sanai appears to have pursued a relentless vendetta against Kozinski, and found a willing ally in Glover. As Kozinski’s wife explains in this rebuttal, Glover’s descriptions of the items on the website are at best misleading and at worst outright efforts to sensationalize things circulated all over the internet (typically with the “not work safe” heading). For example, what Glover describes as “video of a half-dressed man cavorting with a sexually aroused farm animal” turns out to be a a fairly popular Youtube video of a man who had gone to relieve himself in a pasture fending off an aroused donkey. (The San Francisco Chronicle, apparently wishing to demonstrate the further virtues of trained journalists over bloggers, characterized the video as images of bestiality.

As a result of this rather shoddy bit of professional journalism, a well respected judge has been made an object of ridicule and disgust, Kozinski declared a mistrial and initiated an ethics investigation of himself — costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars for no good purpose, and a lawyer with a reputation for vindictiveness is boasting how — with the help of such skilled professional journalism — he brought down a federal judge who dared defy him. Nice.

And the response of the LA Times? Kozinski should have just ignored the story. Boy, says the Times Editorial Board, that would have sure shown those blue noses who still read newspapers! I rather agree with Patterico, however, who notes that the real question is why did the LA Times put this story on its front page? Not since Bob Balaban manipulated Sally Field to go after Paul Newman in Absence of Malice has a reporter so willingly served as the tool of another to report something so accurately and yet untruthfully. It is merely the crowning insult that the LA Times should editorialize that Kozinski is somehow at fault for not telling them to bugger off — preferably in front of a camera for the amusement of the masses and future storage at alex.kozinski.com.

To repeat, I make no claims to being a “citizen journalist” simply because I blog. And I respect the work of real journalists no matter what medium they use. But after incidents like this, professional journalists should hardly wonder why so many bloggers feel they can replace them.

Stay tuned . . . .

Debunking some Telco Disinformation.

Given the success of recent pro-net neutrality videos, it comes as no surprise that the telcos have launched their own. You can watch their cartoon on the Hands Off the Internet website (direct link here).

As one might expect from an org primarily funded by cable and telco groups, it contains a few exagerations, misstatements, obfuscations, and the occassional outright lie. My friends at Mediacitizen have written this rebuttal. Savetheinternet.org has also posted a page on the telco anti-NN cartoon, with a link to this point by point response.

But, for those readers seeking more indepth analysis of just how much nonesense the “dontreghulate.org” cartoon dishes out — combined with the trademark snarkiness you’ve come to expect here at “Tales of the Sausage Factory” — please read below. Takes me back to my old days watching Mystery Science Theater 3000.

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