Rev. Jesse Jackson cries foul over attacks on media position


RainbowPushRainbow PUSH founder The Rev. Jesse Jackson says that attacks on his group, NAAPC, the Minority Media & Telecommunications Council and others over their stand on media issues are unwarranted, counterproductive and are deepening the divisions between social justice groups and advocates working toward the same goal: “social justice and equity.”

“We can disagree without dehumanizing others and sending mainstream media mobs to launch targeted smear campaigns on organizations and their leaders,” he said in a statement sent to B&C/Multichannel News.

Looking to put more civility in civil rights issues, Jackson said that he found being labeled a shill for big media “highly offensive” as well as inaccurate.

Various civil rights groups have come out in support of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal to use existing authority to advance universal broadband service (so-called Sec. 706 authority) to justify new network neutrality regulations. That is the position advocated by most ISPs, at least as a preferable to the alternative.

That has prompted some of the most passionate advocates of that alternative — reclassifying Internet access under some Title II common carrier authority — to suggest those diversity groups are simply parroting the big media line.

Those groups argue that Sec. 706 is a way to get the rules returned without discouraging the innovation and investment that could benefit minority and small businesses.

They take issue with the suggestion that the big media companies, some of which contribute to them, are doing their thinking for them.

At a recent conference MMTC President David Honig said that MMTC, Rainbow Push and the over 40 other groups that joined in supporting the FCC’s Sec. 706 approach to new net neutrality rules had studied the issue and did not believe a Title II approach made sense, an approach he called risky and irresponsible.