In the past week or so, two very similar “advocacy” (re: lobbying) ads have been running frequently around here. [We are so lucky in the DC area.]

Both feature the same ominous-sounding narrator warning of dire consequences that will befall the viewer if we don’t contact our representatives immediately.

One tells us that Google is standing in the way of good old American competition and that without the legislation, Americans will not be able to save umpteen billions of dollars on their television bill.

The other warns of the impending disaster from government regulation of the internet if Congress is allowed to pass something called net neutrality (which they don’t explain).

Not surprisingly, both these little slices of propaganda are funded by the giant telecommunications companies. Basically, they boil down to this.

On one hand the telecoms want their pet Congress critters to pass laws allowing them to bypass local franchise agreements that cable companies are subject to, thus making it much easier to make money from broadband services they want to sell.

On the other hand they don’t want Congress to enact any laws restricting them from manipulating the traffic that flows across their broadband lines, allowing them to make even more money by giving priority to other services that are willing to pay extra tolls.

In both cases, they conveniently ignore the fact that the lines they run to our homes use the public right of ways and that much of the development costs making the the whole system possible were paid for by tax dollars.

Hypocrisy hardly seems a strong enough term to cover this.

If you’d like some good information about these issue, check out Susan Crawford’s excellent FAQ on net neutrality.

net neutrality, telecom companies