IPcentral Weblog
  The DACA Blog

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

More on Muni Ownership
(previous | next)

This debate is quickly degrading into name-calling, with any free-market argument now dismissed out-of-hand as coming from "sock puppets." This is unfortunate, because a lot is at stake in the debate, not the least of which taxpayer dollars.

The king of the sock puppet line, Glenn Fleishman, faults our latest studies on municipal ownership, which is hardly a surprise given his track record on the subject. What is surprising, and disappointing, is that he declines to take on any of the substantive economic arguments presented in the studies by Tom and Adam.

Deeming your opponents' views unworthy because of their disclosed sources of support is convenient for two reasons. First, it relieves you of actually having intellectually to engage the substance of their argument. Second, it appeals to species of moral vanity that holds only you are pure and principled in your views and any opponents are irredeemably compromised -- call this the "Diogenes the Cynic" syndrome. I am honest; my opponents are charlatans. I am sure that position gives one comfort, but it does little to advance the substantive debate.

Glenn does, as he has in the past, acknowledge that we disclose our funders. Yet I suspect Glenn doesn't praise us for that because he views it as a reflection of our intellectual honesty, but rather because it makes it that much easier for him to tar us with the sock-puppet brush. I won several journalism awards in part by highlighting funding in policy debates, but I knew that sometimes organizations are paid to say things, and other times organizations are paid because someone likes what they're saying. All the difference in the world lies in that causal chain. And, not to disparage our efforts in this area, but it is hardly surprising that a pro-market think tank opposes government disruption of markets.

Indeed, PFF makes a poor corporate stooge on this issue. The High-Tech Broadband Coalition, which includes 6 trade associations, is spending serious coin pushing municipal broadband buildouts. Thus, they're on the opposite side of us in this debate. Yet looking at the HTBC trade associations' member lists, I counted 13 companies that are PFF funders, including Intel, the most prominent proponent of HTBC's agenda on this issue. If we write for our funders why are we on the opposite side of Intel and the twelve other funders? I should note it is in Intel's and HTBC's corporate interests to do what they're doing, and I respect them for that; more hotspots mean more routers and more use for Celeron chips. Glenn doesn't write about this money, but I'm not asking him to, because just as PFF scholars don't write their views based on corporate funding, I don't believe the so-called consumer advocates push municipal broadband because they're partnering with corporate interests.

This debate will continue. Corporate money will be spent on both sides. Reports will be issued by both sides. It's my hope that everyone looks critically at the data available and avoids name-calling. That's my view as a taxpayer, anyway.

posted by Patrick Ross @ 6:26 PM | Municipal Ownership

Share |

Link to this Entry | Printer-Friendly

Post a Comment:

Blog Main
RSS Feed  
Recent Posts
  EFF-PFF Amicus Brief in Schwarzenegger v. EMA Supreme Court Videogame Violence Case
New OECD Study Finds That Improved IPR Protections Benefit Developing Countries
Hubris, Cowardice, File-sharing, and TechDirt
iPhones, DRM, and Doom-Mongers
"Rogue Archivist" Carl Malamud On How to Fix Gov2.0
Coping with Information Overload: Thoughts on Hamlet's BlackBerry by William Powers
How Many Times Has Michael "Dr. Doom" Copps Forecast an Internet Apocalypse?
Google / Verizon Proposal May Be Important Compromise, But Regulatory Trajectory Concerns Many
Two Schools of Internet Pessimism
GAO: Wireless Prices Plummeting; Public Knowledge: We Must Regulate!
Archives by Month
  September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
  - (see all)
Archives by Topic
  - A La Carte
- Add category
- Advertising & Marketing
- Antitrust & Competition Policy
- Appleplectics
- Books & Book Reviews
- Broadband
- Cable
- Campaign Finance Law
- Capitalism
- Capitol Hill
- China
- Commons
- Communications
- Copyright
- Cutting the Video Cord
- Cyber-Security
- Digital Americas
- Digital Europe
- Digital Europe 2006
- Digital TV
- E-commerce
- e-Government & Transparency
- Economics
- Education
- Electricity
- Energy
- Events
- Exaflood
- Free Speech
- Gambling
- General
- Generic Rant
- Global Innovation
- Googlephobia
- Googlephobia
- Human Capital
- Innovation
- Intermediary Deputization & Section 230
- Internet
- Internet Governance
- Internet TV
- Interoperability
- IP
- Local Franchising
- Mass Media
- Media Regulation
- Monetary Policy
- Municipal Ownership
- Net Neutrality
- Neutrality
- Non-PFF Podcasts
- Ongoing Series
- Online Safety & Parental Controls
- Open Source
- PFF Podcasts
- Philosophy / Cyber-Libertarianism
- Privacy
- Privacy Solutions
- Regulation
- Search
- Security
- Software
- Space
- Spectrum
- Sports
- State Policy
- Supreme Court
- Taxes
- The FCC
- The FTC
- The News Frontier
- Think Tanks
- Trade
- Trademark
- Universal Service
- Video Games & Virtual Worlds
- VoIP
- What We're Reading
- Wireless
- Wireline
Archives by Author
PFF Blogosphere Archives
We welcome comments by email - look for a link to the author's email address in the byline of each post. Please let us know if we may publish your remarks.

The Progress & Freedom Foundation