Radical Group Free Press & the Murky World of 'Media Reform' Enforcers

You know, this whole FCC torpedoing AT&T’s planned T-Mobile merger is nonsense. As I have written about often, I think the merger’s a mini jobs stimulus plan which can inject jobs into the economy far beyond anything that may happen at the company post-merger.

We sorely need that here in America. This privately borne proposal is just one such plan, one which would provide some needed fuel for new American jobs. Up to 96,000 by AT&T’s estimation.

Yet the FCC’s got the company by the proverbial short hairs, firmly believing that its judgment is better than those who are taking the risk and making investments needed to build out new broadband facilities for Americans. Consequently, as one industry observer dryly noted:

“This is central planning at its most repugnant.”

Yes it is. And, it’s got some powerful cheerleaders from the media-Marxist crowd jumping up and down with profound excitement.

Leading this pack is the holier-than-thou radicals at Free Press.

Holier-than-thou because, though they claim AT&T’s Washington money has corrupted communications policy, it is they who have raked in millions from murky “progressive” foundations – the latter actively working this past decade to corrupt and “transform” America by laundering – often from hidden / non-transparent sources – approximately $100 million to kneecap telephone, cable and media companies with new rules, regulations and costly proscriptions.

Not surprisingly, Free Press sits atop the list of “media reform” foundation grantees.

Between 2003 and 2009, Free Press received at least $15.4 million in IRS-disclosed grants from foundations, including a third of that from Schumann (almost $4.7 million), as well as grants from the Partridge Foundation ($1.5 million), OSI/FPOS ($1.26 million), Ford ($1.1 million), Park ($1.125 million), and the Sandler Foundation ($1 million).

Examples of some of these grants include:

Ford Foundation

  • $100,000 in 2006 for research and content development for state and local issues

  • $300,000 in 2007 to leverage knowledge about electronic media policy on the ongoing debates on media reform

  • $300,000 in 2008 for general support to promote diverse and independent media ownership

  • $400,000 in 2009 to support independent media ownership

Joyce Foundation

  • $50,000 in 2006 to organize Future of the Media town hall meetings

Open Society Institute

  • $200,000 in 2004 to help fund the National Conference on Media Reform

Park Foundation

  • $250,000 in 2005 for the Campaign for the Future of Public Broadcasting

  • $250,000 in 2007 for media reform work to take place in 2008

Schumann Center for Media and Democracy

  • $478,000 in 2003 as a challenge grant of $600,000 to advance citizen action on media reform

  • $500,000 in 2008 for general support to advance citizen action on media reform

(Source: FoundationSearch.com)

This cash has helped Free Press stay busy in Washington. Very. Not coincidentally, during the span of time that they and others on their side have been involved, we’ve seen the fall of bi-partisan efforts to craft communications policy – where guys like Republican Tom Bliley could reach across the aisle to Democrat Ed Markey and actually agree on telecom competition law.

Today, that’s largely gone.

Now, any policy that involves “access to knowledge” or “media reform” policy – such as Net Neutrality, or the ownership of the “pipes” by telephone, cable or wireless providers – almost reflexively divides Congress and policymakers across party lines. This phenomenon threatens to strangle technological progress, taking us back to the inglorious past of stultifying monopoly regulation rather than confidently into the future, protected by innovation, industry best-practices and competition.

Such a state of affairs could not have occurred without the “progressive” foundation-driven echo chamber, of which Free Press plays a leading role.

Sadly, the cost of their corruption is immense. Through their work – which has captured not just the FCC, but also the Administration and virtually the entirety of Washington’s left-leaning policy apparatus – America stands on the brink.

Through their work, private enterprise – imperfect as it is – has become a dirty word, a casus belli instead of the miracle it is in lifting billions out of poverty and squalor.

Liberty-loving individuals must fight back against these oblique forces who desire “repugnant central planning” to “right” the world of all of its “evils.” At every chance we must ask: Who are these foundations; how are they funded; and why does anyone call them “public interest” advocates when it appears through any rational analysis that they are hellbent on undermining capitalism and the American way?

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