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AT&T CEO Gets Blasted on USAToday

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson interviews with USAToday, and the crowd goes wild with disapproval.

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AT&T CEO Gets Blasted on USAToday
[ Social Media]

The first newspaper to introduce color into the world of black and white print media is still going strong, effectively transitioning to Internet-based content. This, of course, is not newsworthy. However, because USAToday.com allows comments, every so often, there are social media issues that some companies have to deal with; and when USAToday interviewed AT&T’s CEO, readers let their displeasure with AT&T be known in the comments. This, apparently, didn’t sit well with the publication, and so, the comments were removed.

USAToday’s message seems to be, “If you don’t like the way you’re being criticized via Internet comments, delete them.” Before that, however, some tidbits from the AT&T interview. Understandably, the focus of USAToday’s interview with Randall Stephenson addressed the potential T-Mobile acquisition.

As expected, Stephenson’s content was full of corporate-speak, as well as a desire to twist the largely-negative reactions to the AT&T/T-Mobile deal. While that approach is understandable, responses like these are baffling:

The large majority of Americans, when they go to buy cellphone service, have a choice of at least five providers. In 18 of the top 20 markets, the customer has a choice of five different competitors. It’s a fiercely competitive market today. It will be a fiercely competitive market after this deal is done. We don’t see that changing.

Meaning the reduction of choice by one is a good thing and will benefit consumers? If Stephenson is referring to AT&T customers who may or may not be able to access an AT&T-powered 4G network, well, good luck with all that.

While Stephenson indicates the potential merger is to improve AT&T’s infrastructure — something they themselves are incapable or unwilling to do, apparently — it is believed this attempt is merely a grab that increases the company’s customer base. When consumers lack alternatives, the ruling companies understand the power that comes from having choices decreases as well. In turn, less AT&T customers would be inclined to leave the service because of ridiculous Internet connection caps.

Considering the negativity surrounding AT&T in general, it’s no surprise USAToday readers let loose on Stephenson in article’s comment section. What is surprising, however, is the idea that USAToday would delete comments for being too critical of AT&T. According to a couple of comments, the article originally produced over 100 comments, and apparently, these were reset by USAToday, something the following responses indicate.

From reader floydcash:

why do they keep erasing all the comments and starting over? Must be ATT doesn’t like all the angry responses. Corporations looking out for corporations. Got to love our media.

Reader tiny_toes supports floyd’s position:

To funny . 100 comments bashing the thought of this merger & all the posts are reset . It looks like Randall Stevenson & AT&T can buy off more than politicians .

While this writer can’t confirm or deny whether or not there were over 100 comments, it’s easy to see that, of the 32 that remain, the disdain for AT&T and the T-Mobile deal is palpable. If USAToday’s readers are anything to go by, the public is almost unilaterally against AT&T merging with T-Mobile. Unfortunately for the American Telegraph and Telephone company, having the CEO address these concerns didn’t work as planned.

Of course, it might help if these kinds of people would stop telling us how a reduction of choice is good for the consumer.

AT&T CEO Gets Blasted on USAToday
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  • http://www.arcanasphere.com MrAndrewJ

    Judging by the comments elsewhere on this site, ethics stop having to do with angry commenting. Homophobia, racism, name calling, invented motivations and fictitious courses of action are all fair game to the angry anti-corporate commenter.

    It could be that USA Today didn’t want so many lies and hateful slurs associated with their site. That could be cause to simply nuke all comments from orbit. But that, too, is speculation. ;)

    • Chuck

      Andy ,
      Most of those news sites have an abuse/offensive tab on every comment that is posted . It is impossible to get overly hateful or offensive . It would seem that the interview between AT&T & USAtoday came with ” strings ” . It was probably meant to be more of a PR ad than a real interview /

      • Stu

        Seems like the majority of, “interviews” are now nothing more than a PR ad. Sadly, journalism has gone away from hard, hitting, investigative reporting, to free PR for whatever company, politician, actor, etc. who chooses to utilize it.

        I wish that wasn’t the case, but anyone who thinks differently must have access to a media source that I’m not aware of. I use to wonder at people who didn’t keep up with the news and how they could be so uninformed; Now, I’m starting to believe that they might me the most informed of us all. They don’t have to hear biased interviews and opinions of news moguls on a regular basis and therefore can formulate an opinion without all of that potentially affecting that opinion.

      • http://www.arcanasphere.com MrAndrewJ

        If they didn’t want comments then why not just shut the feature off?

        -AndREW

        • Sean

          They won’t turn off comments due to their expressed desire to know “what you think” for interaction about most stories, and their ass would be showing even more if they conspicuously shut off comments just for this article.

          We guffaw at the audacity of state-run media from despotic regimes, as we should, but we should know it’s not black and white (i.e. us = free, they = oppressed). It’s a spectrum.

          This kind of thing just shows you the business end (no pun intended) of their power, and pushes us a few happy, shiny, polite notches towards the other end of the spectrum.

  • http://www.glitterdesignz.com/ Glitter Desingz

    AT&T is the well known lab of technology which provide us lots of unbelievable things….

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