By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com June 10 2011 1:40 PM ET
The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation was among several organizations to publicly back a merger between T-Mobile and AT&T, the latter of which has been known to give large donations to the media watchdog group.
Several groups with little to no ties to the telecommunications market have publicized their support for the merger, Politico reported Friday. ATT&T distributes about $62 million annually for education programs, charities, and organizations. GLAAD, for example, has received $50,000 from AT&T. Some of the other donation recipients include the NAACP, the National Education Association, and the Urban League, which have all issued public statements supporting the merger.
GLAAD spokesman Rich Ferraro told Politico that AT&T's donation was not the impetus for publicly announcing support.
"We do not make policy decisions based on what's best for our corporate sponsors," Ferraro told Politico. He added that the group criticized sponsor Comcast's merger with NBC because of the network's low scores on its annual Network Responsibility Index. Instead, GLAAD officials believed the merger would "increase functionality and speed, thus growing engagement and improving the effectiveness of the online advocacy work that is advancing equality for all."