By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The talented and defensive Jarrett Barrios

Jarrett Barrios

The Boston Globe today reports on Jarrett Barrios’ resignation as president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation after the organization endorsed the merger of AT&T and T-Mobile without revealing that AT&T is a major funder.

As the Globe story notes, Politico has been all over this.

If you’re interested in some background on Barrios, Kristen Lombardi wrote a terrific profile of him for the Boston Phoenix in December 2001, when Barrios was a young, up-and-coming state representative getting ready to run for the Massachusetts Senate.

According to Lombardi’s reporting, Barrios was enormously talented but too eager to curry favor with then-House Speaker Tom Finneran, and as a result had alienated some folks in the progressive and gay-and-lesbian communities. And he was defensive. An excerpt:

When asked to respond to criticisms about his seeming willingness to compromise his principles, Barrios gets defensive even as he explains his positions. Leaning forward, and visibly angry, he says: “I’m going to let lie unattributed attacks and say I learned long ago I am far from perfect. But even we imperfects can make a difference.” He adds, “I try to adhere to my principles and be effective. I am most proud that I’ve managed to survive the House with my principles intact.”

It will be interesting to see what Barrios’ next step will be. If he plans to return to Massachusetts politics, he’ll have some explaining to do with regard to his anti-consumer endorsement of the AT&T deal.

Photo (cc) by Greg Hernandez and republished here under a Creative Commons license. Some rights reserved.

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  1. Did you know the co-chair of GLAAD is a straight person and the press is not reporting this fact? Check this out:

  2. peter Sullivan

    I forget, why does any public company need the endorsement of the Gay and Lesbian alliance against defimation to merge with anoter public company???

    Not that there is anything wrong with that, but my thoughts are vote as a stock holder or mind your own business.

  3. Michael Wyatt

    I’ll agree with Peter here: who the heck cares what GLAAD has to say about the ATT T-Mobile merger? Kind of seems a little out of their field of scope.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Michael Wyatt and @Peter Sullivan: Who cares what bank Dustin Pedroia has endorsed? You do understand the purpose of such relationships, I assume.

  4. Michael Wyatt

    Dan, AT&T’s proposed buyout of T-Mobile is a little different matter than celebrity endorsement. A professional athlete or entertainer endorsing a product is a far different scenario than a group weighing in with the FCC on whether or not a prospective acquisition should proceed.

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Michael Wyatt: The FCC knows that an important liberal interest group has no objections. You don’t see the value of that?

  5. Peter Sullivan

    I think that a letter to the FCC blessing the merger and stating that gay people want faster and better cell phone service should have prompted the FCC to investigate the financial relationship between the parties.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  6. Michael Wyatt

    Dan, I don’t see that GLAAD’s viewpoint on this matter means any more than the three folks on Onion’s “American Voices”. If say Consumer Reports or an organization that actually deals with consumer issues chimed in that’s a different story.

  7. Michael Wyatt

    Dan, think the Globe’s lead expresses Peter and I’s objection (and I think yours as well):

    “Wireless phone service has about as much to do with gay rights as zebras have to do with waterskiing.”

    • Dan Kennedy

      @Michael: The Globe, you and @Peter are being obtuse. This is nothing more than typical interest-group horse-trading. Having praised the Christian Coalition and the National Rifle Association some years ago for lobbying the FCC against lifting ownership caps, I’m not going to criticize GLAAD for lobbying the FCC now — except for siding against consumers and failing to disclose its financial interest.

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