Re: M. Stahlman’s comments on PFF event [cr-95/9/11]


Sender: Stanton McCandlish <•••@••.•••>

For those that didn't see it in it's entirety, I'll reproduced Mark's
original fully. It's not that long, so no big deal.

Mark: Esther, Barlow and Stewart were all invited, just like you were.
There's not conspiracy here.  EFF does not have any formal ties with PFF,
and I think we all regard them somewhat warily.   That said, I agree you
got a raw deal. Had I been in your shoes, I'd have simply gotten up and
left in the middle of it.  Would have made a strong statement and
embarassed them.  Then again, I'm possibly less patient than you are. <shrug>

If at least 10% of the attendees were shocked and irritated enough to
approach you about what was going on, that suggests to me that probably
50% or more noticed what was happening, and that's pretty bad PR for PFF.
Maybe they'll learn from this.

As for your observation that the old left-right dichotomy is useless
these days, I'm pleased to agree with you completely.

> From: Cyber Rights <•••@••.•••>
> To: "Multiple recipients of list •••@••.•••" 
> Subject: Re: Left vs. Right? [cr-95/8/21]
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> Sender: Mark Stahlman <•••@••.•••>
> Folks:
> I'm just back from the PFF (Newt's thinktank) Aspen "Summit Conference
> on Cyberspace and the American Dream" (http//  The
> earlier version of this event produced the "Magna Carta for
> Cyberspace" -- a Richard Moore criticism of which helped to produce
> this list.  This event was a lesson for me and perhaps for you as
> well.
> Billed as an exploration of the practical implications of the "Magna
> Carta" and including what appeared to be a surprising left/right,
> computer/policy, inside/outside collection of speakers, I was hopeful.
> Naively hopeful.  Far from being an open forum forum the discussion of
> ideas and impacts, the event was a carefully orchestrated handoff.
> The digital baton was passed from Al Gore to Newt Gingrich.  And, it
> was WIRED, EFF and their allies (Media Lab, GBN, CDT, "the digerati",
> etc.) who did the honors.
> There were seven digital "experts" on the panel of 25 people sitting
> in the middle of a conference room for two days -- EFF's Esther Dyson,
> JP Barlow and Stewart Brand, WIRED's Kevin Kelly, mSoft's Nathan
> Myrvold and Sun's John Gage -- and me.  The event was moderated by PFF
> senior fellow and military/intelligence analyst Michael Vlahos.  He
> picked the order of speakers and ran the show -- much like a moderated
> list.
> He let me speak only three times in two days.  Why?  Because he knew
> (as did all the others) that I wasn't part of the program.  I'm
> against technocrats (i.e.  ex-socialists) like Toffler, I'm against
> Beltway heavies who think they are revolutinaries, I'm against
> cyberspace-has-a-mind-of-it's-own idiocies and they knew it.  With a
> very heavy-handed zeal to avoid discussion of any basic issues, he
> simply ignored the fact that I had my hand up.  It got tense when I
> had speak over him once -- after that the open mikes were no longer
> open.  Of the 200 or so people in the room, 20-30 came up to me and
> said, "What the hell is going on?" and "Don't let them get away with
> it."  In the metaphor of the day, this was a very Old Media event not
> two-way, not New Media.
> If you were wondering why Newt was interviewed on the cover of WIRED
> last month ("Friend and Foe") or if you were wondering what ever
> happened to EFF then the answer may lie within.  There is a kind of
> Digital Mafia out there.  They want to align with whoever is in power.
> EFF began as an "outside" and "grassroots" organization when Bush was
> in.  Clinton/Gore came to town and they got appointed to NII panels.
> Newt came to town and they left (in tatters it would seem) to retreat
> to San Francisco -- but with a Newt alliance cemented in Aspen.  It's
> old power politics.  Left and right meet in cyberspace.
> My suggestion is simply that their days are numbered.  Recognise them
> for what they are and don't help them co-opt the media which will
> ultimately bring them down.  Focus on the anti-propaganda capacity of
> the Net.  Expose hidden agendas and refuse to put up with one-way
> media -- including heavy- handed moderators.
> In the process, all those old ideologies -- left and right -- which
> gave us this mess will need to be discarded.  It's not that they
> didn't work.  They worked just fine -- to divide and conquer.  We've
> got a new reality.  Use it.
> Mark Stahlman
> New Media Associates
> New York City

<A HREF="">          Stanton McCandlish
</A><HR><A HREF="mailto:•••@••.•••">        •••@••.•••
</A><P><A HREF="">         Electronic Frontier Foundation
</A><P><A HREF="">   Online Services Mgr.      </A>

 Posted by --  Andrew Oram  --  •••@••.••• --  Cambridge, Mass., USA
                 Moderator:  CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)

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