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Thursday, July 22, 2004

Suprisingly Uncivil Discourse
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Let's hope Professor Tim Wu was misquoted in the July 21 edition of the newsletter called the "Telecom Policy Report" [Lexis subscription required]. For there he is quoted as making some very intemperate and unbecoming remarks about Professor Christopher Yoo's paper on Net Neutrality released by PFF last Friday, and the program at which Professor Yoo and a distinguished panel discussed his paper.
It is one thing to debate important issues in a serious, yet civil way. Here at PFF we pride ourselves on doing that, and we have a well-deserved--and hard-earned--reputation for doing so. We are not used to having others, and certainly not other academics, make statements to the effect that the authors of our papers are "opportunistic" or that the papers lack "any serious intellectual basis." And we don't take kindly to it.
Again, we are happy to provide a forum for serious debate on important communications policy issues, and, in that spirit, here is a link to Professor Wu's paper on broadband regulation. Readers can judge for themselves the merits of Professor Wu's position versus Professor Yoo's.
Let's make one other matter perfectly clear. In the spirit of ensuring a diversity of views at our program, as Professor Wu acknowledges in the Telecom Policy Report piece, I invited him to participate. He is quoted (or misquoted, I hope) as saying he "declined the invitation, because the PFF agenda was decidedly one-sided. The whole thing seemed a bit unbalanced to me." This is quite remarkable. Because when I tracked him down, he personally told me in a phone conversation that he very much would have liked to participate, but could not make it work because of a travel conflict. Then he sent me an e-mail that in its entirety reads: "Randy--I'm grateful for the invitation, but I think the logistics are ultimately too complicated for me. Hopefully there will be another time. Yours, Tim."
I'm pretty doubtful there will be another time. And, I think that, if quoted correctly, Professor Wu owes some apologies.
Finally, as anyone knows who was at the program, after Professor Wu declined the invitation to participate, we found others that espoused views similar to his to ensure balance.

posted by Randolph May @ 5:23 PM | General

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