Judicial Watch has obtained documents that show that Free Press, a progressive group funded by George Soros and other leftist benefactors was colluding with the FCC to push through its plan for the government control of the internet known also known as net neutrality.
In December 2010, the FCC voted 3-2 to pass its net neutrality program, despite the fact just seven months earlier a federal appeals court ruled that the FCC had exceeded its authority in seeking to regulate the Internet and enforce “net neutrality” rules.
For those of you who are not familiar with Free Press, it is a group dedicated to the exact opposite of its name. The group not only sees access to all media (including high speed Internet) as a civil right, it also believes the the Government should have control of the message to “guarantee” that all sides are fairly represented. Of course its their definition of “all sides” and “fairly represented.”
This is no hyperbole. For example one of the groups founders Robert McChesney is the former editor and current board member of the Marxist magazine Monthly Review, which has a fifty-year history of supporting Communist movements and regimes.
McChesney strongly believes in government control of the medium and the message.
In a 2000 article — titled “Journalism, Democracy, and Class Struggle” in Review, McChesney laid out his goal of using media as a tool for socialist change:
Our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism…
In 2009, McChesney said the following about capitalism and the media:
- “Any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself.”
- “There is no real answer but to remove brick by brick the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles.”
- “We need to do whatever we can to limit capitalist propaganda, regulate it, minimalize it, and perhaps even eliminate it.”
The advocacy arm of the the group, the Free Press Action Fund lobbies in Washington against media corporations. According to Free Press’ website, “the U.S. media landscape is dominated by massive corporations that, through a history of mergers and acquisitions, have concentrated their control over what we see, hear, and read, ignore the needs of the local communities, and suppress racial, gender, and political diversity.
Free Press seems like the “perfect group” to work with the Obama administration against the needs and freedoms of the American people. And that’s just what they did.
Via a FOIA request, Judicial Watch uncovered internal correspondence showing unusual coordination by some officials at the FCC and Free Press in pushing the “net neutrality” agenda in the run up to the controversial FCC vote in December:
- On November 1, Jenn Ettinger, who acts as the “media coordinator” for Free Press’s “Save the Internet” project, wrote an email to Margaret McCarthy in FCC Commissioner Copps’s office: “I wanted to gauge your interest in doing an oped [net neutrality] by Commissioner Copps for the Albuquerque Journal,” Ettinger wrote. She even offered to write the piece herself. “I’m happy to help draft, or place if need be.”
- On November 2, 2010, Free Press Associate Outreach Director Misty Perez Truedson sent an email to John Giusti, Chief of Staff to Commissioner Copps asking if Copps would write an op-ed for the Albuquerque Journal in advance of a November 16 hearing on Internet access: “Would Commissioner Copps be interested in drafting an Op-ed in advance of the hearing? It’s a great way to get the word out and to spark conversations in advance of the event,” Truedson wrote. “We’re working on the op ed..”
- Giusti wrote back on November 9. “We’re working on the op-ed,” he said, adding his fellow FCC staffers McCarthy and Cinelli to the email chain. The documents also include a series of emails sent to set up meetings between Copps and former Free Press President and one of founders, John Silver. “We are starting to get a good sense of how we’d like to proceed during the next three tricky months on NN [net neutrality]…” Silver wrote in the same October 8, 2010, email: “I think it may make sense for us to get together next week when I’m in town.” The documents also include a written summary of a phone call between Silver and Copps on November 28, 2010, just prior to the FCC vote in December: “Silver emphasized that a strong net neutrality rule is critical to preserving the Internet as a vibrant forum for speech, commerce, innovation, and cultural expression…” the summary noted.
- On November 12, a draft of the op-ed was sent by Copps’s staff to Free Press. Copps’s staffers were still eager for input from their allies at the activist group. “Attached is the commissioner’s Op-Ed,” wrote Copps’s media advisor, Joshua Cinelli, to Ettinger. “Margaret asked if you would be so kind as to triple check the event details in the last paragraph. Give me a buzz if you need anything else.”Later that day, Ettinger wrote back with her approval to Cinelli, CCing McCarthy. She named an additional co-host in the final paragraph, but reassured Cinelli that “otherwise all the details were correct.” The piece had been given the Free Press seal of approval and submitted for publication. “The oped looks great and I’ve sent it to the Journal,” Ettinger wrote.
- One set of documents includes correspondence between FCC Special Counsel David Tannenbaum and Free Press Policy Director Ben Scott establishing lists of speakers for FCC “internet workshops.” Among the speakers proposed by Scott: “Joe Respars (ran online activism for the Obama campaign – he’s at Blue State Digital);” “Alex Nogales – National Hispanic Media Coalition;” “Jay Stanley – ACLU;” and “Clothilde de Coz [redacted] Reporters without Borders.”
- When Tannenbaum asked Scott about inviting a speaker from Color for Change in a November 17, 2010 email, Scott writes: “Yes – we know them well. I should have put James Rucker on my list. He’s very good. Up and coming civil rights leader. They are awesome. (Color of Change is the group founded by former Obama Czar and truther Van Jones. It is the group that tried to lead an unsuccessful boycott of the “Glenn Beck Show”). However, you should be aware that Color of Change is rather highly politicized. They are lead on the campaign to strip Glenn Beck of advertisers. And Van Jones is one of the founders. Not that these things should dissuade you from inviting them – I just wanted you to know.”
Americans from all political persuasions should find the Free Press/FCC Collaboration frightening. For all intents and purposes, Free Press is a group dedicated to usurping the First Amendment, and the Obama administration is using them as a resource for policy.
“Net neutrality is just another Obama power grab. This is nothing less than the Obama administration’s attempt to stage a government takeover of the Internet under the guise of ‘net neutrality.’ So it should come as no surprise that Free Press, the hard left organization with socialist ties, is improperly driving the so-called net neutrality agenda from inside the Obama administration. The FCC is supposed to be an independent agency that follows the law,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The American people should be deeply troubled by the fact that the Obama administration, on issue after issue, seems to be run by shadowy leftist organizations. Our government is supposed to be ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people’, not ‘of the Left, by the Left, and for the Left.'”
There is much more to this story. I recommend you go to Judicial Watch read all the documents to arm yourself with the truth, before its too late.