Conservatives Lie About Net Neutrality for Big Bucks

When it comes to net neutrality, conservatives are absolutely clueless.

Earlier this week, President Obama came out in favor of net neutrality, thus regulating the internet like a public utility. But, just hours after he made his comments, FCC Chairman Tom wheeler told a bunch of internet company executives that he won’t cave to pressure from the White House, and that the FCC is an “independent agency” that can make its own decisions.

That was music to the ears of corporate-owned lawmakers and conservative commentators, who are making net neutrality out to be this terrible thing that kills competition in the marketplace and that censors what Americans can and can’t see on the web.

As usual, the corporate right is doing a whole lot of fear-mongering, but not much else, because when it comes to net neutrality, conservatives are just plain wrong. Take Fox News’ Stuart Varney and Andrew Napolitano for example. On a recent episode of Varney and Co., Napolitano said that President Obama, “wants to take the choice of buyer and sellers out of the market.” Varney chipped in and said that President Obama is seeking, “to regulate the internet,” which prompted Napolitano to say that the entire idea of net neutrality “is Orwellian.”

Varney and Napolitano are both either deeply misguided or simply liars.

The whole idea behind net neutrality is a free and open internet. It’s the notion that we should all have equal access to the Internet, and shouldn’t be forced to pay more for certain types of content. It’s the idea that internet giants like Comcast and AT&T shouldn’t be able to charge us more if want to watch a movie on Netflix or a viral video on YouTube. They can charge more or less to us based on usage and speed, but not based on the content of what we're watching or reading.

What’s Orwellian is a future without net neutrality, where giant corporations have the power to dictate what you and I can and can’t see on the Internet.

Conservative talk show host Bryan Fischer also has no idea what net neutrality really is. On his radio show Monday, Fischer voiced his support for Senator Ted Cruz, who earlier in the day had tweeted out that net neutrality is “Obamacare for the internet.” Fischer then went on to falsely claim that net neutrality keeps internet service providers from offering faster internet speeds to Americans.

That’s completely false.

Under net neutrality, and under President Obama’s plan for it, Americans will still be able to buy whatever speed internet package they want. If you want a connection slow as a snail you can have it. If you want a lightning-fast connection you can have it, and your provider can charge you whatever the market will bear.

The only thing that President Obama’s proposed net neutrality plan does is prevent internet service providers like Comcast from blocking or slowing down websites that Comcast doesn’t like or that are owned by rival companies.

Glenn Beck is also misinformed when it comes to net neutrality. On an episode of The O’Reilly Factor, Beck told Bill O’Reilly that, “Net neutrality -- what it is, is they say you can't -- it's basically the Fairness Doctrine on the Internet.”

First of all, the Fairness Doctrine was established back in 1949, and said that news broadcasters had to provide opposing points of view on the news and on controversial issues. It’s basically what kept networks and programs from becoming Fox News. Unfortunately, the Fairness Doctrine came to a screeching halt under Reagan when he suspended it in 1987.

Net neutrality is completely different from the Fairness Doctrine. Net neutrality doesn't let the government dictate what’s on the Internet, and, similarly, it doesn’t let internet service providers control what you can see on the internet.

Finally, consider this. While Republican lawmakers and conservative commentators are bashing net neutrality and spreading all sorts of misinformation about it, an overwhelming number of conservative voters actually support it.

A poll by the Internet Freedom Business Alliance found that a staggering 83 percent of voters who identify themselves as “very conservative” are in support of net neutrality, and don’t want internet service providers like Comcast and AT&T to “influence content” online.

Meanwhile, a separate poll by the University of Delaware that asked if Americans “favored” or “opposed” allowing broadband providers to charge website or streaming video services extra for faster speeds found that 81% of those polled were opposed to the idea.

Two things are clear. First, Americans are overwhelmingly in favor of net neutrality and a free and open Internet. And second, conservatives are completely clueless on the issue.

Computer scientist Vinton Cerf, who many argue is one of the fathers of the modern-day Internet, has said that a world without net neutrality, “would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success.”

If we want to keep the Internet a success, we must fight to protect the right of every American to have equal access to it. It’s not too late to have your voice heard.

Call your member of Congress, reach out to the FCC, and tell them that Americans have the right to a free and open Internet. And that means "Yes" to Title II "common carrier" status for the internet, the best and easiest path to net neutrality.


Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 31 weeks ago

Isn't net neutrality, what President Obama is proposing, status quo, i.e., isn't it what we've had until now or until the pretty recent Federal Court and FCC rulings? That's very much what Americans overwhelmingly want. But Obama can be relied upon to roll over and let the Republicans redefine him, again. An angry black man is what we need for chrissakes! Otherwise, I guess a black man can't be an effective president, period - unless he's Alan Keyes or some other Republican pig.

He needed to be forceful and define himself and not meek, letting his enemies define him. I don't know why he even ran for president in that case.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 31 weeks ago

ChicagoMatt and Ou812, I posted replies to your comments on the Will the Billionaires Buy Another Election? blog.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 9 years 31 weeks ago

ChicagoMatt, I've got a response to your response on the Dems Duped by the Caucus Room Conspiracy blog.

Johnnie Dorman's picture
Johnnie Dorman 9 years 31 weeks ago

What is it that Rethugs WON'T DO for "big bucks?"

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 31 weeks ago
Quote Mark J. Saulys:He needed to be forceful and define himself and not meek, letting his enemies define him. I don't know why he even ran for president in that case.

Mark J. Saulys ~ The same thought occurred to me many times. I suspect that certain 'insiders' who knew Obama's character and temperament very well, encouraged and backed him in his run for the White House. He was probably an answer to their prayers. Someone who looked like he was for the people; yet, was easily manipulated.

I might imagine that any candidate we see in modern day elections--who gets the backing of corporate interests--also falls under this same category. The time for stubborn free thinkers who can get things done running for office has come and gone with the wind.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 31 weeks ago

Those pigs will take away the one truly public forum we have and hand it over to the plutocrats. Count on it. I'd love to be wrong, but I seldom am wrong when I most want to be. I agree with Mark; I don't know why Obama ran for president in the first place. His fetish for bipartisanism is pathetic.

That '08 presidential election was another scenario where I wanted to be wrong. Much as I welcomed the idea of a black president, I had serious misgivings about Obama from the start. Pro-nuclear... hoping to escalate military presence in Afghanistan... ugh. Had Kucinich or Sanders run against Obama back then, that's who would have had my vote. Oh well. - AIW

Mike Rummerfield 9 years 31 weeks ago

Can't wait to hear a presidential candidate claim, "I don't want to be known as an angry white man/woman".

ChicagoMatt 9 years 31 weeks ago

I'll admit that I am confused about net neutrality. I think a lot of my confusion, like many Americans, might come from the fact that there is no single thing you can point to and say "that's the internet". It's not like the other parts of the commons. I can point to a power company and power lines and say, "that's the electricity. It needs to be regulated because otherwise there would be lines and poles everywhere." But who operate/pays for the servers that form the backbone of the internet? I live near a Google data building. But that's not "the internet". It's just one site's building. The intangible aspect of the internet makes it different from other parts of "the commons".

There are also other "nets" besides the big www one. I wonder if this applies to those as well.

Concerning Obama - During the '08 presidential election, there was a certain talk show host who kept repeating that "Obama is the least experienced person in any room he walks into." I think his quick rise to the presidency did leave him wanting in experience. Sometimes I wonder if he was actually surprised when he won the Iowa primary. Like, up until that point, he was just trying to make a statement, not actually become president.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 9 years 31 weeks ago
Quote ChicagoMatt:I'll admit that I am confused about net neutrality. I think a lot of my confusion, like many Americans, might come from the fact that there is no single thing you can point to and say "that's the internet".

ChicagoMatt ~ That is very strange. I don't have that problem. I look at my Router and point and say, "that's the internet." Everything that comes and goes in and out of it, is the internet. Go ahead and remove that access point from your house and see if there still is an internet. One access point equals one internet. It really is that simple. You pay one price, for one access point, and that is where it begins and ends. There should be no further regulation or restriction beyond that.

You have one price for your water bill, don't you? One price for your electricity bill, don't you? Now if you intend to put your water in a heated jacuzzi, should you pay a higher price than you would to put it into a washing machine? What if you intend to use your electricity to power Christmas lights instead of fluorescent kitchen lights? Should you pay a higher price?

Absolutely not! It is your access point; and, it is yours to do with as you please. To access anything you want available on the super highway that you are paying to access, unimpeded by any further costs or restrictions. In that respect, your internet bill and service is no different from your water or electric bill and service. It should be treated the same way.

ChicagoMatt 9 years 31 weeks ago

I think there is a difference, Marc. Saying your router "is the internet" is like saying that your main fuse box is electricity. It's not. It's just the way it gets into your house. The electric company is providing a product. They make it and send it to you. Your ISP is providing a service. They don't make the internet. When you log on to this page, or any other page, your computer isn't connecting straight to Thom's. There are several servers through which the signal goes. Who owns those servers?

And, back to the main question - can the owner of those servers let people pay extra to get in a faster lane? With water and electricity, I can pay extra to get better stuff. (Bottled water and solar power, if I choose.)

If the people who own the backbone of the internet are private companies, can't they make a deal with other private companies for better service? Companies provide better rates on things to other companies all the time. (McDonalds and Coke, for example.) If Google, which owns Youtube, wanted to pay my ISP, At&T, to get their content to me faster, as long as AT&T and Google own every computer and server that signal passes through along the way, they should be able to do that.

But, like I said, I don't know who actually "owns" the physical servers that run the internet.

I guess you could also argue that the government owns or regulates the airwaves through which the signals travel.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 9 years 31 weeks ago

Reply to #9: Excellent points, Marc! I concur.

The internet belongs to the people. Case closed.

Progressive Republican's picture
Progressive Rep... 9 years 31 weeks ago

It seems a simple thing to me: They're both deeply misguided liars. Time and again their clear and obvious disdain for the facts have been presented to all.

ChicagoMatt 9 years 30 weeks ago

So, just because a lot of people use something, it belongs to the people? That's what the Occupy Wall Street people said about the park they were loitering in, even though it was a private park for the occupants of the building next to it, correct? I guess that falls under the "eminent domain" part of the Constitution. If that's the case, then the government has to reimburse the companies that actually bought/built/maintain/upgrade the backbone of the internet.

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