Preston Gralla

Music censorship: One more reason to stay away from AT&T

August 09, 2007 3:05 PM EDT
If you needed any more reasons to stay away from using AT&T for telecom services, here's one more. The company recently censored a live music webcast, bleeping out a singer's criticism of President Bush.

According to Reuters, AT&T censored parts of a Pearl Jam live cybercast last Sunday. The band's lead singer Eddie Vedder sang, "George Bush, leave this world alone" and "George Bush, find yourself another home." But no one at home heard those lyrics, because AT&T bleeped them from the webcast.

AT&T admitted that it had bleeped the lyrics, but dodged any responsibility for its actions. It released a statement blaming the censorship on a "mistake by a Webcast vendor" and added that such censorship was "contrary to our policy."

AT&T is trying to have it both ways here, first by censoring criticism of the current administration, and then claiming it's against censorship.

Whether you're a Bush fan or a Bush critic isn't the point here; the point is censorship, which is good for no one at any end of the political spectrum.

Why did AT&T bleep out the criticism? Most likely because Bush's FCC is dead-set against network neutrality, and marches in lock-step with AT&T. The company doesn't want to harm that relationship. So the next time you tune in to an AT&T Webcast, it's safe to assume you're not hearing the whole concert.