With Uber and Lyft battling in fierce competition with the established taxi and limousine industry, it’s no surprise that both parties have taken cues from the world of politics by attempting to control the conversation.
As we reported earlier this month, the disruptors have established an unlikely partnership in bankrolling TaxiFacts.com, an effort to combat the taxi industry-backed Whosdrivingyou.org. Uber recently took the political analogy one step further by hiring of former Obama advisor and campaign strategist David Plouffe to lead its PR and communications efforts. The company further added several lobbyists to its team in Chicago to fight regulatory challenges in the state.
But amid all this mudslinging, it has always been clear who was behind these attempts to win public hearts and minds. That changed today as the University of Austin’s Daily Texan published a piece by associate editor Noah M. Horwitz urging the city council to vote against a proposal to legalize so-called Transportation Network Companies.
What Horowitz and his senior editors fail to mention is that until August of this hear, he was a public relations consultant “[writing] on behalf of Yellow Cab in The Texas Tribune,” according to his own LinkedIn profile. Horowitz was cited in statements released on behalf of Yellow Cab in Houston during a summer regulatory battle in that market.
Horowitz column isn’t flagged as a biased guest column — rather, it’s published under the cover of an editor’s title, without so much as a disclosure as to Horowitz’s prior associations. Even Texpatriate managed to squeeze in a disclosure when Horowitz published on their site.
It was probably inevitable that the battle between disruptors and disruptees would devolve into manipulation and deception. Still, it’s sad to see a 114 year old publication complicit in the game.
The Daily Texan has not responded to PandoDaily’s emailed requests for comment. This post will be updated should additional information become available.