Comcast Hires People Off The Street To Fill Seats At FCC Hearing

from the better-to-keep-out-those-net-neutrality-hippies dept

We pretty much ignored yesterday’s FCC hearing concerning Comcast’s traffic shaping activities, as the whole thing seemed like a bit of grandstanding. However, it’s fairly stunning to find out that Comcast has admitted to hiring people off the street to fill seats at the hearing, blocking out many Comcast critics who were turned away once the room was full. Comcast claims that they hired the people merely to act as placeholders for Comcast employees (since, apparently, Comcast employees are too important to actually show up on time and wait in line like everyone else). However, as the picture at that first link shows many of the “paid” sitters stayed throughout the event and either slept or cheered on Comcast.

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Companies: comcast, fcc

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Comments on “Comcast Hires People Off The Street To Fill Seats At FCC Hearing”

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21 Comments
rwbronco (user link) says:

Few People Stayed - Scores Left Out

From the article:

“Some of those placeholders, however, did more than wait in line: They filled many of the seats at the meeting, according to eyewitnesses. As a result, scores of Comcast critics and other members of the public were denied entry because the room filled up well before the beginning of the hearing.”

Explain to me how a few people staying in the courtroom keeps scores of critics and “other members of the public” out of the courtroom…sure if a few stay – a few critics are denied entry. It’s not 3 critics to 1 random seat filler. Don’t hype it up by making it sound like every critic that wanted in couldn’t get in because the 2 college students shown in the picture were sleeping.

Also who is “other members of the public?” and why is it necessary to lump them in with the critics? If they’re against Comcast’s practices – they’re critics…they don’t have to be journalists or have a weblog to be called “critics.”

Stupid one-sided journalism.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Few People Stayed - Scores Left Out

Well, if ‘scores’ were kept out, maybe it was ‘scores’ who were payed to take up seats. I haven’t read TFA, but does it give numbers? Do they say how many (or how few) people Comcast paid to be there?

Comcast critics, Comcast-paid stand-ins, and other members of the public are three sepparate groups. Yes, critics and other members of the public may be, but don’t have to be, the same people. However, The stand-ins are not “other members of the public” because they were paid by an interested party to be there and probably had no other motivation to attend; other members of the public at least had something to offer which was not tainted by a payoff.

Top says:

Free Press mirror

Relying on “Comcast critics,” who have an incentive to make this seem like a grand conspiracy, as sources, and then taking pictures of two random people in the audience (who very well may have been there at the behest of Free Press) is poor journalism. The folks at Free Press have a habit of screaming that the sky is falling — and always on them, and by extension, the concerned public that is being shut out. Free Press and their ilk are just upset that they got beat at their own game — overloading public hearings with “concerned citizens” that all walk to the mic carrying Free Press talking points.

Comcast may not be innocent in the whole Net Neutrality game, but using line standers is hardly reason to claim the whole hearing was a sham.

MaxB says:

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest this is the text book definition of “making a mountain out of a mole hill.” They paid people to stand in line and if after these people received their payment they chose to stay and watch the hearing don’t they revert back to being the same “members of the public” that Free Press likes to talk about? Just a thought?

Coaster says:

AHAHAHAHAHA I just read the entire article…

This is from the last line – Unlike Comcast, Free Press did not pay anyone to stand in line…

And THAT is the entire story. Comcast only paid those people (and we don’t even know how many) to stand in line. They sat through the whole thing of their own accord. That makes them members of the general public at that point. Free Press is just upset that they didn’t think of it first.

brajabu says:

Apparently Comcast is paying people to comment on the internet also. I don’t think there are really this many people who honestly have to search their souls to understand why paying people to attend a public meeting is a scumbag thing to do. Unless you are a financial dependant of afformentioned scumbags. Problem is that these companies have soiled there own reputations so badly, that when I read support for their underhanded practices. I automatically assume said supporters are working for these companies, and only digging a deeper dirtier public relations mess for themselves.

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