All activism must not be neutral

As the net neutrality argument heats up, pro-regulation groups are bashing AT&T’s efforts to mobilize their employees against the measure.  When AT&T sent an email detailing the issue and inviting workers to post comments opposing net neutrality, Free Press, a liberal media reform group, called them the a-word – “AstroTurf.”

Free Press, of course, admits to doing the same thing – but argues that their email messages to subscribers driving traffic to online comment forms are somehow different.  Their activists, apparently, REALLY oppose net neutrality; AT&T’s employees acting through fear of losing their jobs.

AT&T workers should be fearful of losing their jobs – regulating AT&T’s internet will have an impact on its bottom line.  Free Press has a flimsy argument if you think about it – but it certainly wasn’t made to evoke thought.

Health care (Astro)Turf wars

Team Obama is not worried about the opposition to their health care overhaul plans.  Robert Gibbs called for Americans to look upon them with a “jaundiced eye” and called the efforts the most derogatory of inside-the-beltway epithets, “AstroTurf” – fake grass roots.  And it’s certainly not uncommon in DC.

But erstwhile Republican Senator Arlen Specter may be surprised by Gibbs’s characterization, as he ran headlong into this opposition…

As did Congressman Lloyd Dogget…

…And Congressman Russ Carnahan….

The Democrats’ answer to these protests are paid radio ads that will be airing in the districts of key Democrats whose support for the President’s health care goals may cost them votes in 2010.  You can listen in here.

So on one side we have upset people confronting their elected representatives.  On the other, we have radio ads produced by a national entity telling voters what’s good for them.  I’m sorry, which one was the fake grassroots?