I had a very interesting email exchange today with Thomas Cheplick, a reporter at the Heartland Institute. For those of you paying attention over the past few years to the Telecom sector, you’ll remember The Heartland Institute as a Sock Puppet Organization that “that call themselves independent but have ties among each other and to the industries about which they are stating they have an objective opinion.”
Apparently, Mr. Cheplick is writing an “article” on the recently announced Miami Beach Free Wi-Fi network. We are certainly in favor of local city governments trying to help local residents and provide a valuable utility, especially when it is used to enable city workers and public safety services to get roaming internet access to better do their jobs and to save the city and taxpayers money.
But Mr. Cheplick’s bias against any such initiative, as well as the bias of his employer, shows through clearly in his initial email requesting NYCwireless comment. He even goes so far as to outright lie about the reasons behind the closure of other Muni-Wi-Fi networks (hint: it has something to do with the fact that the providers of such networks, such as Earthlink and MetroFi, either exited or went out of business). It seems clear to me that whatever Mr. Cheplick writes, its going to be heavily one sided, with a strong slant towards supporting big business and a big slant away from wanting to help local residents help themselves. Something to be aware of in case you come across Mr. Cheplick’s “article”.
Interestingly, I’ve met many conservatives and liberals alike that are big supporters of people and small local governments helping themselves. Its a mystery to me why anyone (unless you are an executive as a large Telco or Cableco) would be against people becoming self-sufficient. But then again, I don’t have an agenda paid for by an incumbent big business.
And yes, Mr. Cheplick, you are correct that “off-the-record” can be a two way street. So perhaps you’ll think twice about being naughty around the holidays. Hopefully, this public post will nicely match the lump of coal that was surely left in your stocking this year.