Book IV: If Jeremy spoke in class today and no one heard him, did he make a sound?

AT&T erases political speech from the blackboard

by scut

Originally published Aug. 9, 2007

This was posted yesterday in the news section of the Pearl Jam web site. Pearl Jam, of course, is not only the best live band in the world, but one that takes its politics pretty seriously, from its failed attempt to break up the monopoly that is Ticketmaster to their use of carbon credits and green power as much as possible on tour (indulgences though they may be).
After concluding our Sunday night show at Lollapalooza, fans informed us that portions of that performance were missing and may have been censored by AT&T during the “Blue Room” Live Lollapalooza Webcast. When asked about the missing performance, AT&T informed Lollapalooza that portions of the show were in fact missing from the webcast, and that their content monitor had made a mistake in cutting them. During the performance of “Daughter” the following lyrics were sung to the tune of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall” but were cut from the webcast:– “George Bush, leave this world alone.” (the second time it was sung); and– “George Bush find yourself another home.”This, of course, troubles us as artists but also as citizens concerned with the issue of censorship and the increasingly consolidated control of the media.

AT&T’s actions strike at the heart of the public’s concerns over the power that corporations have when it comes to determining what the public sees and hears through communications media.

… If a company that is controlling a webcast is cutting out bits of our performance -not based on laws, but on their own preferences and interpretations – fans have little choice but to watch the censored version.

What happened to us this weekend was a wake up call, and it’s about something much bigger than the censorship of a rock band.


AT&T, by the way, contributed $1,889,638 to Republicans during the 2006 election cycle (as well as $1,014,630 to Dems – way to hedge your best, guys!).  Also, interesting from a historical perspective is that AT&T contributed more to the Dems until 1996 when the Telecommunications Act was passed.  Sure, it was supposed to increase competition between the companies, but what happened was the number of major media companies dropped from about 80 in 1986 to six in 2005.

hmm.  Since then, the Repubs have had the advantage in AT&T money…  and the numbers during the 2000 and 2004 election cycles are much higher (especially when you factor in that SBC was allowed to buy AT&T in 2005 and their money should therefore be included in the total).

Also interesting to note that AT&T was part of a class-action lawsuit for allowing the government access to spy on users without warrants.

Maybe this is why so many Democrats took it up the ass on the whole warrantless wiretap program; their corporate money masters won out over the Fourth Amendment. Nice job, Congress! Good looking out!

Throw the bums out. All of them.

This also makes me wonder what sort of things iPhone users – who can only choose AT&T (which was already broken up as a monopoly once, back in ’83, now, 10 of the 22 ‘baby bells’ that were created following that event have already been incorporated back into AT&T) – are missing on the internet…

Allowing all of our media options to consolidate into the hands of the few didn’t work at the turn of the last century and it will only work against us again.

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