TV4US

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

TV4US describes itself as a coalition "advocating on behalf of American customers who deserve new choices, better service and lower costs in their television service." [1] The public interest group Common Cause called TV4US "the very definition of Astroturf: an industry-backed campaign that gives the appearance of widespread grassroots support." [2]

Personnel

TV4US "is co-chaired by President Clinton's former Deputy Chief of Staff Steve Ricchetti and Republican strategist Charlie Black," according to Common Cause. In 2001 and 2002, "they led the AT&T-backed Voices for Choices organization in opposition to the proposed Tauzin-Dingell telecom bill." [3]

Main article: Internet Freedom and Broadband Deployment Act

Kelley Gannon is identified as a TV4US spokesperson in multiple news accounts. [4] But Gannon actually works for the Fleishman-Hillard PR firm, according to Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter (see below). [5]

Lobbying and Public Relations

TV4US retains Joe Eyer of the firm Dewey Square Group as a lobbyist, according to the online database Lobbyists (accessed March 28, 2007).

"Fleishman-Hillard is repping the TV4US coalition, which wants to streamline cable TV regulation to allow easier market entry for telecoms," reported Jack O'Dwyer's Newsletter in June 2006. "Kelly [sic] Gannon, who joined F-H from the National Assn. of Chain Drug Stores, serves as TV4US spokesperson. The coalition is running a series of ads, but Gannon said she could not discuss ad buys with O’Dwyer’s." [6]

"Gannon is coordinating her activities with Charlie Black, chairman of Burson-Marsteller’s BKSH & Assocs. lobbying wing and former Republican National Committee spokesperson, and Steve Ricchetti, President Clinton’s former deputy chief of staff," added O'Dwyer's. [7]

Local Branches

TV4US Wisconsin

Thad Nation is identified in news reports and in press releases as the executive director of "TV4US Wisconsin," which is based in Milwaukee. [8] [9] [10] He is also the "owner of the public strategies firm, Nation Consulting," and is described on the firm's website as "a seasoned public relations professional, having run the communications efforts of two Governors in different states, operated as a press secretary for both state and national parties, and worked in a variety of state agencies." [11]

In May 2007, TV4US Wisconsin gave "all 132 state lawmakers ... a thick binder full of the names of constituents" who it says "are demanding an end to the cable monopoly and want choices in the video market." The state bill that TV4US is supporting "would eliminate most local regulation of cable TV franchises in favor of minimal supervision by state agencies," reported Madison's Capital Times newspaper. AT&T also hired 16 lobbyists in Wisconsin, including the state Democratic Party chair, Joe Wineke, to lobby for the state "Video Competition Bill." [12] The bill's lead sponsors are State Representative Phil Montgomery of Ashwaubenon and State Senator Jeff Plale of South Milwaukee. [13]

However, the list of bill supporters in the TV4US binders included two lawmakers who voted against the bill in the state Assembly. "Apparently I couldn't convince myself," joked state Rep. Joe Parisi. The other legislator, state Rep. Sondy Pope Roberts, "said she made the discovery after a constituent called to say her husband's name was also erroneously included. ... Pope Roberts said she is now skeptical of the entire binder." Parisi questions the "piles of letters that all look alike that are generated by a large lobby group spending thousands and thousands of dollars." TV4US Wisconsin's Thad Nation couldn't explain why Pope Roberts was listed, but said Parisi's name might have been included because he signed up for email updates on the group's website. [14]

Members

From their website: [15]

Contact Information

TV4US
PO Box 100246
Arlington, VA 22210-3246
Phone: 888-346-1400
Email: info AT wewantchoice.com
Website: http://www.wewantchoice.com

SourceWatch/Congresspedia Resources

External links