Washington Post Questions Anti-Sat Merger E-Mails
November 26, 2007 at 5:42 AM (PT)
Did the NAB submit anti-satellite merger e-mails to the FCC under the names and addresses of individuals who did not approve of the messages?
The WASHINGTON POST reports that its check of 60 people who were listed as submitting nearly identical anti-merger e-mails showed that most either did not answer their phones or had phones that were disconnected, and of the 10 people reached, nine said they did not send e-mails to the FCC and one said she remembered filling out something, but does not recall taking a position on the merger,
60 people who were listed as submitting nearly identical anti-merger e-mails showed that most either did not answer their phones or had phones which were disconnected, and of the 10 people reached, nine said they did not send e-mails to the FCC.
The paper says that the e-mails point out a larger problem with the flood of issue-related e-mails hitting WASHINGTON these days, asking, "Are the hundreds of millions of narrow-interest e-mails that deluge official WASHINGTON each year a useful measure of public sentiment? Are they even being sent by real people?" The issue has been previously raised with the wave of anti-indecency comments sent to the Commission, many of which have been generated by a single organization, the PARENTS TELEVISION COUNCIL.
Dennis Wharton Responds
In response to the POST's article, the NAB's DENNIS WHARTON said that the organization has the names, postal addresses, IP addresses and dates for all of the e-mails, and that he has "a high degree of confidence in this. They had to physically type in their name and address. It was a fairly rigorous process." DEMOCRACY DATA AND COMMUNICATIONS CEO B.R. MCCONNON II notes that "The Internet makes things so easy ... People move through the process like they were clicking on next, next, next." MCCONNON said that his and other online advocacy firms sometimes have to remind e-mailers that they sent messages that they had forgotten they sent.