For Shame!

by on August 3, 2006 · 104 comments

Matt Stoller thinks my New York Times op-ed is “just disgraceful.” Why?

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.

For the record, I’ve had the name “Timothy B. Lee” since before Mr. Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web. Of course, that doesn’t rule out the possibility that the vast right-wing conspiracy contacted my parents in anticipation of the network neutrality debate and convinced them to name me Timothy B. Lee.


Also, for the record, I think the theory of intelligent design is nonsense, but I’m not so arrogant as to believe I’m entitled to dictate to other parents what they teach their children. And my co-author Will isn’t exactly an ID apologist either.

As for working for a fake think tank, I can only assure Mr. Stoller that my employer does, in fact, exist. He’s more than welcome to come to St. Louis and see it for himself any time he likes. And I wasn’t aware that being a libertarian disqualified one from participating in policy debates.

Of course, Mr. Stoller was so busy calling me names that he never got around to explaining what’s fake about my argument.

Update: I should also mention that the label “corporate funded” is inaccurate. Like most think tanks, we do raise money from corporations, but to date, less than 10 percent of our budget has come from corporate sources. Most of our money comes from individuals in Missouri, such as those on our board of directors, who like our perspective on the issues.

Update 2: Oops, I forgot to include a link to Stoller’s post. Apologies!

Update 3: This is fun! In addition to being a corporate shill at a fake think tank making fake arguments, Mr. Stoller felt compelled to update his post with the important news that my picture is “pretty hilarious.” It’s hard to argue with that kind of devastating criticism!

Update 4: At the request of Mr. Berners-Lee’s publicist, I’ve contacted the New York Times and asked them to add a clarification indicating that I’m a different Timothy B. Lee. And to respond directly to Seth’s insinuations: it didn’t occur to me that this would be a problem, and if it had, I would have mentioned to the Times that they might want to add a clarification.

  • enigma_foundry

    Well, since they also gave money to Gambaro, I suppose they are Democrats?

    Unsure of what PK stands for.

    In anycase, I happily voted for Jeff Smith…

    But Tim, I am much more interested in the substance here and I don’t think you’ve adressed the issue which is: How can I maintain individual liberty, including right to freely asscoiate, when corporations who control the interent (and we are talking about monopolies in many locations) have clearly shown, through the examples I have listed above, that they will filter or censor content ????

    Answer???

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    I addressed those examples here:

    http://www.techliberation.com/archives/036617.php

    What’s striking, I think, is that on a continent with hundreds of millions of people, those are the best examples the advocates of regulation can come up with. Maybe the larger companies will do bad things in the future, but there’s no sign of them doing anything so far.

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com eee_eff

    Well, since they also gave money to Gambaro, I suppose they are Democrats?

    Unsure of what PK stands for.

    In anycase, I happily voted for Jeff Smith…

    But Tim, I am much more interested in the substance here and I don’t think you’ve adressed the issue which is: How can I maintain individual liberty, including right to freely asscoiate, when corporations who control the interent (and we are talking about monopolies in many locations) have clearly shown, through the examples I have listed above, that they will filter or censor content ????

    Answer???

  • http://www.techliberation.com/ Tim Lee

    I addressed those examples here:

    http://www.techliberation.com/archives/036617.php

    What’s striking, I think, is that on a continent with hundreds of millions of people, those are the best examples the advocates of regulation can come up with. Maybe the larger companies will do bad things in the future, but there’s no sign of them doing anything so far.

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