Teletruth News Alert: October 01, 2007

Harvard's Nieman Foundation for Journalism Watchdog Project;

Corporate-funded research designed to influence public policy,

"Whenever I receive new data or a report, the first question I ask is, does it pass the smell test? It is clear that we are in the age of "stink tanks,” in which corporate-funded think tanks and well-paid, credentialed academics are hired to make corporate arguments and give the appearance of being independent experts."

Groups/experts mentioned in this and related articles are: American Enterprise Institute, AEI-Brookings, Brookings Institution, Analysis Group, Beacon Hill Institute, Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Criterion Economics, Heartland Institute, Heritage Foundation, Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI), Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, New Millennium Research Council, NERA, Pacific Research Institute, Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies., Progress and Freedom Foundation, Progressive Policy Institute, TeleNomic Research, U.S. Internet Industry Association

Previous Astroturf and co-opted groups mentioned: Alliance for Public Technology, American Association of People with Disabilities, Consumers for Cable Choice, Gray Panthers, Internet Innovation Alliance, Latino Institute, (LULAC) League of United Latin American Citizens, National Association of the Deaf, NAACP, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Consumers League, National Hispanic Council on Aging, NBCSL, Netcompetition, Telecommunications for the Deaf, TRAC, TV4US, and Video Access Alliance.

Reports by well-known think tanks and individuals funded by telecoms are helping quash competition, increase phone rates and set up a corporate-oriented Internet system. Is there any reason to trust these reports? Or to trust experts who testify before regulators without revealing the sources of their funding?

We believe the recent Federal Trade Commission’s report on broadband connectivity and the Department of Justice’s comments on Net Neutrality are just two instances of analysis based on the testimony of these 'experts', many funded by Verizon and AT&T.

New Millennium Research Council and their some of their affiliates with AT&T and Verizon.

FTC Speakers with ties to AT&T, Verizon, New Millennium or both.


1) The Internal Revenue Service should remove their non-profit status, with Congressional authorization and direction if necessary.
2) The IRS should consider imposing penalties for violation of non-profit status.
3) The Justice Department should investigate bringing criminal and civil charges for defrauding the government.
4) Congress should require disclosure of all related payments from all corporations, associations, etc., by individuals seeking to testify at any public hearing or other event before the FTC, FCC, Congress, state and federal regulatory and governmental agencies.

This is Teletruth's 10th article in our telecommunications, broadband and Internet series for Harvard Neiman's Watchdog Project. Two other articles pertaining to astroturf and co-opted groups include:

• Verizon, AT&T and the manipulation of public opinion.
Needed: Blacks, Hispanics, disabled, deaf, low-income and the elderly to support the telecoms’ positions on anti-consumer FCC rulings and legislation.

• Press gives a free pass to citizens groups allied with telecoms
At a New Jersey utilities board hearing on cable franchises, three guys from Verizon – the elephant in the room – go unnoticed by the regulators, and by the press.

More about “Skunkworks, Astroturf and Stink Tanks"

More about Teletruth

Teletruth is a nationwide, independent, volunteer customer alliance focusing on telecom, Internet and broadband issues. Funding has come mainly from expert witness testimony, assisting in the successful settlement of two class action suits resulting in millions of dollars in refunds, the sales of ebooks and telecom forensic auditing services, with over $10 million in refunds by our auditing staff. Teletruth has no corporate affiliations or political ties.