The Other Timothy B. Lee
by Matt Stoller, Thu Aug 03, 2006 at 07:59:19 AM EDT
This is just disgraceful. A guy named Timothy B. Lee published an Op-Ed on net neutrality reiterating the telecom positioning, and claiming that the market for broadband services is competitive. It is not. Timothy B. Lee sounds an awful lot like Tim Berners Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web and strong net neutrality proponent. And Timothy B. Lee comes from the 'Show-Me Institute', a fake think tank that defends the teaching of Intelligent Design and is funded by corporate interests and foundations with a right-wing ideological slant. As a 501(c)3, they don't have to release their donor list, but you can get a sense of who they are from reading the bios on the Board of Directors page.
Ok, so the corporatists dug up a shill from an ideologically oriented corporate funded think tank, had this guy write an Op-Ed rehashing fake arguments about competitiveness and broadband, and weirdly enough, his name sound almost exactly like world-reknowned expert Tim Berners Lee, who takes the opposite position.
And where was this Op-Ed published?
Congratulations, grey lady, you should be proud of yourself.
Update: Timothy B. Lee himself defends the teaching of Intelligent Design, not just the think tank. And here's a picture of him. Pretty hilarious.
Update again: Timothy B. Lee got all into a snit over this post. Apparently, it's all just an honest mistake. He had he name Timothy B. Lee when he was born, you see. It's not his fault that his Op-Ed was placed on the most valuable piece of opinion real estate in the world, even though this seems to be one of his first public statements in a heated debate that's been going on for four or five months with many famous people involved on both sides. It's just an accident that the New York Times happened to print an Op-Ed on technology issues from someone whose claim to credibility is that he's widely cited, and whose name just happens to sound just like a legendary figure who invented the World Wide Web. Surely this confusion is not at all intended, as it would only serve to help the telecom companies and Lee believes in a fair public discourse, not one clouded by misinformation.I was also unfair to Timothy B. Lee's defense of teaching Intelligent Design. In his piece on education policy, another area where Lee passes the Colbert credibility test as a policy expert, he curiously he leaves out his personal opinion that Intelligent Design is nonsense and speaks in well-understood code to the ID promoting crowd.
The dispute in Kansas isn't ultimately about the merits of the theory of evolution, or whether all the alternatives are, as opponents argue, based on religious faith. The bigger fight is about who gets to impose their beliefs on whom.
Wow, belief versus belief, who is right? Who knows, it's all relative in fake libertarian land?!? Oh wait, I have to apologize again, since that's not what he personally believes, it's only what he wrote down. My mistake. I was confusing Timothy B. Lee for someone who panders to a right-wing donor base.
Update again: I'm also sorry I found his picture hilariously creepy. My bad. Don't laugh at it, admire it. It is almost the face of the man who invented the World Wide Web.
Final update: I don't really care about Timothy B. Lee one way or the other. I'm stupified by the New York Times Op-Ed Editors, who have apparently decided that it's their job to cut and paste any random submission from a 'think tank'. Or maybe there just aren't editors anymore, it's all just interns due to cost-cutting.
Actual final update: Tim sent me an email - he does have a record of blogging about this topic, though I have been following the debate fairly carefully and hadn't noticed him as an important or relevant participant. I did a Google News search and looked through his archives on the Show-Me Institute.