[RETRACTED] Comcast Using Civil Rights As Cover To Scuttle Appointment Of Gigi Sohn To FCC

from the ratfuckery dept

This article has been retracted due to a significant, highly regrettable error. I misidentifying the author of a press release calling for the Biden administration to withdraw the nomination of Gigi Sohn to the FCC.

The original story incorrectly conflated the author of the piece, Rosa Mendoza, CEO of a nonprofit named ALLVanza, with Rosa Mendoza, an executive at a Comcast-linked public relations firm.

I apologize for the error. I failed to live up to my own standards of professionalism and rudimentary fact checking.

Editor’s Note:  In addition to Karl’s apology above, I would separately like to apologize for this mistake. As an organization, we pride ourselves on getting things right down to the finest details, and we failed spectacularly here. We failed to live up to our long held standards and beliefs regarding carefully vetting the information we publish, and will revisit our policies and processes for reviewing articles, and seek to avoid such errors going forward. — Mike Masnick

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Companies: comcast, global strategy group

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Comments on “[RETRACTED] Comcast Using Civil Rights As Cover To Scuttle Appointment Of Gigi Sohn To FCC”

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bradda (profile) says:

press is paid too

“If the press does cover claims made by these co-opted civil rights groups, they’re usually covered much like this piece at Bloomberg; just as good faith alliances for the betterment of humanity”

Any PR firm worth their salt pushes their own “news” pieces too these days, so I usually assume the friendlier news coverage is paid for as well. The PR firm writes the news articles.

Ellie Marks (user link) says:

Gigi Sohn

Thanks for this great article. Gigi is extremely qualified and these lies are nothing more than a smear campaign. Telecom infiltrates everywhere- media, legislators, non-profits- you hit the nail on the head. And why? To make the most possible $$$ without any concern for public safety, public health, or the digital divide, It is shameful and Biden should realize what is occuring here.

Rosa Mendoza says:

Complaint against Karl Bode for his factually incorrect statements

Mr. Mike Masnick,

I write to file a complaint with you, Floor64 and Techdirt against Karl Bode for the factually incorrect statements he made about me and my organization, ALLvanza in his article: Comcast Using Civil Rights As Cover To Scuttle Appointment Of Gigi Sohn To FCC.

In this article, Bode falsely accuses me of working for a K Street policy and lobbying firm named Global Strategy Group that has Comcast as a client. The fact is that I have never even heard of Global Strategy Group (with all due respect to that firm), much less worked for them. In the article he provided a link to a Rosa Mendoza who works at Global Strategy Group, but anyone who knows anything about Latino organizations or who works on telecom policy issues would have been able to tell Bode, immediately, that the Rosa Mendoza who works for Global Strategy Group is not me.

Frankly, all Bode had to do was to compare our two pictures—even Bode should have been able to tell that this picture of me, from the ALLvanza website, is not the same individual that he linked to in his article. Clearly, he couldn’t be bothered to do even a minimal amount of fact checking before lodging his central accusation: that Latino organizations and leaders are co-opted by telecom companies to do their bidding. And the only “proof” he offers for this outrageous claim is that I secretly work for Global Strategy Group, which I don’t.

But that doesn’t stop Bode. He claims Latino organizations are given cash for a shiny new event centers in exchange for parroting any policy position that comes across our desks, even if it dramatically undermines our constituents. Yet no Latino organization that I know of has an event center, let alone a shiny new one. And who is supposed to determine what is in the best interest of the Latino community, the guy whose only interaction with us is to give us the back of his hand and who can’t even distinguish one Latina from another? I believe the organizations that have been working with Latino communities, collectively for hundreds of years, should get to express an opinion about what is best for our communities without getting attacked for it.

He claims our organizations are nothing more than astroturf while describing the oldest, largest and most grassroots Latino organization I know of—the 93-year-old League of United Latin American Citizens. LULAC has 132,000 members, and Bode links to an opinion piece by one of them from Tucson, Arizona without realizing that one member of LULAC does not necessarily speak for the entire organization. But then what does Bode really know about LULAC or any Latino organization for that matter? Absolutely nothing—which is why he feels entitled to make these bigoted claims about groups he knows nothing about. I encourage Bode to go to the LULAC National Convention, as I have, get up in front of a crowd of thousands and tell them they are astroturf… he may learn a few things. But having dealt with internet trolls my whole life, I doubt Bode would be hurling the kind of insults he throws around online when face to face with his intended targets.

Bode claims he has seen minority groups routinely used as marionettes to push policies that actively hurt their constituents for 22 years. But what he really wants to do is to scare us into submission, to shut us up with hateful accusations and to leave the telecom policy discussions to men, like him, who think they know what’s best for us and who have dominated telecom policy discussions for far more than 22 years. With people like Bode pushing for Gigi Sohn’s confirmation, it’s no wonder that she is having difficulty getting confirmed. Beating people into submission doesn’t typically get them to rally to your cause.

The fact is that Mr. Bode, and Techdirt for that matter, is going to have to learn to allow new voices from diverse communities—voices like mine—to discuss how various telecom policies affect them and their constituents without going straight into the same gutter that the racists inhabit. No true progressive should use that strategy to try to win an argument.

In compensation for publishing this false and damaging misinformation about me and my organization, I demand that Techdirt immediately publish a retraction and apologize to me for stating that I work for Global Strategy Group on behalf of Comcast, when I do not. Further, I demand that you apologize for accusing minority groups of being bought off by telecom companies and not representing the interests of the communities we represent.

I also request that Floor 64, Techdirt and the Copia Institute conduct a diversity audit of your board, employees and authors and publish the results publicly so your readers can get an idea of who you speak for and represent. Finally, I request that Techdirt provide an opportunity for Latino organizations, including ALLvanza, to publish articles on telecom policy issues of our choice on your platform.

Our communities have gotten the Bode treatment for more than 22 years. It’s time to try something different.

Rosa Mendoza
Founder, President and CEO of ALLvanza

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