Is shooting the messenger always a bad thing? Most of the time, but recently I read a piece by Danny Bakewell, Jr., expressing his outrage that the Free Press admitted to using manipulative, subliminal techniques to influence public opinion on the lower rungs of the American ladder, to wit, poor minorities. The subject was Net Neutrality (something everyone loves, right?) where the thrust was to prevent large private companies like Comcast and A T and T from kinking up the free Internet that we all know and love. The Free Press abhors these giant Internet Providers limiting usage of the Internet. So far, so good. The large Internet Providers seek to charge customers more based upon higher tiers of services at higher prices. Bummer. That eliminates the lower-income minorities and women, Bakewell says. Bakewell does not object to the Internet remaining free for all users anymore than President Obama does, who happens to be a strong supporter of Net Neutrality, or a free Internet. What Bakewell, president of the NNPA (National Newspapers Publishers Association), says is that the Free Press seeks openly to manipulate poor minorities and black women through deliberate psychological manipulation designed to scare them into believing that their Internet privileges are in peril from the big Internet Providers. The message that the Internet should remain forever free and accessible to all is a good message. But it is the deliberately manipulative means of achieving the end that Bakewell challenges as racist. He contends that because many of the minority voters targeted by the Free Press as too dumb to get it without cartoons and story-telling, the Free Press presentation of net neutrality is not only insulting, but racist as well.
So is the Free Press racist for their déjà vue cartoon with a big, modern public drinking fountain labeled ‘Premium Users’ and a small drinking fountain labeled ‘Everyone Else?’ Is there a subconscious hook to the ‘White’ and ‘Colored’ drinking fountains of yesteryear? It feels like it to me. And the Free Press openly-revealed plan to manipulate through story-telling techniques instead of sticking to the issues seems a bit Goebbels-inspired to me.