February 28, 2008 | By Richard Esguerra

The Telecom Immunity Battle on YouTube

Last week, proponents of telecom immunity spent loads of money on a slick, partisan, fear-mongering, television attack ad that is flat out wrong about the Protect America Act and severely misleading on all other counts. The video is on YouTube, but the built-in comment and voting system have been disabled by the ad's sponsor, "Defense of Democracies." (Note to Defense of Democracies: eliminating free debate and voting is not a good way to defend a democracy.)

According to an article by FactCheck.org in Newsweek: "The group also declined to provide a list of lawmakers being targeted by the ad, but we've learned that they include [a number of Democratic representatives], all of them first-term lawmakers who may be vulnerable in their reelection bids." The partisanship is desperately vicious, and the sponsor should have recognized that attack ads like this utterly backfired in the 2006 election.

In contrast, defenders of civil liberties simply gave regular people a platform to speak for themselves, then posted the results to YouTube:

mytubethumb play
%3Cobject%20width%3D%22480%22%20height%3D%22395%22%3E%3Cparam%20name%3D%22movie%22%20value%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fv%2Fi1m35EzVCpw%3Fautoplay%3D1%22%20%2F%3E%3Cparam%20name%3D%22wmode%22%20value%3D%22transparent%22%20%2F%3E%3Cembed%20src%3D%22https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fv%2Fi1m35EzVCpw%3Fautoplay%3D1%22%20type%3D%22application%2Fx-shockwave-flash%22%20wmode%3D%22transparent%22%20width%3D%22480%22%20height%3D%22395%22%3E%3C%2Fembed%3E%3C%2Fobject%3E
Privacy info. This embed will serve content from youtube.com

The House and Senate are still negotiating over the terms of the final surveillance bill -- take action to keep lawmakers from granting immunity for lawbreaking telecoms!


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