I haven’t addressed “net neutrality” yet, but mainly because I had mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, BO supports it, so there has to be a catch (there always is with him, it seems), but on the other hand, there are conservatives (and others who aren’t mainlining koolaid) who’ve said it’s no big deal, that it might even be a good thing. I read their arguments (on both sides), not totally convinced this wasn’t some sort of scheme to silence conservatives and control internet content, but I sort of let it drift to the back of my mind. Until last night.
Flipping through the channels, I land on Bill Moyers Journal–he’s fun to watch sometimes, a total libbie loon, but sometimes rather interesting . . . as long as you keep that in mind), so I thought I’d see what fun topic he was beating to death this week. Turns out he had on Michael Copps, head honcho of the FCC. So I thought I’d watch (I’d found it interesting, and was intuitively relieved, that the FCC had lost “a key ruling on internet neutrality” earlier this month). By the end of the hour, I was feeling a little numb and rather horrified. You can view the whole thing here or read the transcript here, and if you’re not used to Moyers, let me just warn you that it’s all libbie loon illogical blather all the time with him (Copps is funny, though, and if you listen carefully, you can hear him start to explain how the “FCC wants to
con... protect the consumer”–good times).
Anyway, I just want to spotlight parts of the discussion that I found most disturbing. For some context: one of the things that was nagging at me about “net neutrality” (apart from the fact that BO–and Al Gore!–supports it) is that there isn’t a problem for it to solve. It’s essentially a preemptive government regulation based on the premise of “keeping” the internet open. Huh? Any time a liberal wants to keep something from happening, look out–it means bigger government and the attendant strangling of personal liberty and responsibility (some of the arguments for “net neutrality” involve porn and some other crap that any normal person–who doesn’t work for the SEC–is perfectly capable of avoiding as you have to actually seek that stuff out, it doesn’t just find its way onto your computer by magic).
As a sort of baseline, here’s the meat of the FCC message that Copps kept coming back to:
Because we robbed it of all of the responsibilities and protections that we had spent 20 or 30 years putting onto the telecommunications companies so we could protect consumers. Have some say in rates and how things were built and how things were shared and how we got them out. Protecting privacy. Making sure that that telecommunications system really worked for the future of the country. Now, put it over here, it’s, well, we can still do what we need to do by some ambiguous authority. And the courts said, “No, you can’t.” So–
We want only to protect the consumer from big evil companies, from themselves, from “misinformation” (we come to that in a minute), and ultimately to do what is best for the country. Sound familiar? Buried in there, of course, is the whole the FCC says what is shared and how it is shared and with whom. But it’s innocuous here. Easy to dismiss. After all, they want to protect our privacy and have real, not “ambiguous,” authority. Uh huh.
So I’m listening and watching (and rolling my eyes a lot), and then comes this exchange:
BILL MOYERS: How threatened is the whole idea of an open Net?
MICHAEL COPPS: Oh, I think very. I think very. I think there are powerful players that are opposed to it. Are in a position to make their influence felt. None of these things are going to come easy. We’ve just been through the health insurance debate. We’ve got the financial debacle. None of this stuff gets solved without taking on taking on a fight. The government doesn’t work that way. You’ve studied this history, I’ve studied this history. It’s painful, it needs movements, it needs grassroots support, it needs the people.
What is he talking about you may wonder. Who is threatening “an open Net” you may ask. Well, nothing and no one. That’s the problem, there IS no problem. So Copps draws parallels to the healthcare debacle (this does not warm my heart), and he’s burbling about “taking on a fight.” Against whom, you might ask. Well, apparently, big evil telecommunications companies might possibly one day decide to “close” the Net. And the FCC must nip that in the bud. Huh? The solution? Typical liberal BS: the “Net” is going to be shut down (?!), and we need to protect the open flow of communication and information that is making it work. Protect it . . . from something or someone or whatever. Fear 101.
And while we’re at it, let’s throw in a bit of race-baiting (I see your fear mongering and raise you some race baiting–the libbie loon mantra):
MICHAEL COPPS: . . . . three million people had contacted the FCC and congress to voice their displeasure. And we did have hearings at my insistence around the country where we would go for seven, eight, nine hours at night in town hall meetings with people talking about, “Something’s wrong in my media system. I’m not getting the news anymore.” Or, “I’m a minority. None of my news ever gets covered.” Or, “When I’m on TV I’m there as a caricature of or a stereotype of something I’m not.” People get it. People understand.
Sound familiar? It should. Unless I’m mistaken (and I guess I could be), this is the Fairness Doctrine all over again. Same song, different medium.
So what do we have so far? The threat (unspecified) of the “Net” being shut down or limited in some (unspecified) way, minorities being shut out by racist big business (or minorities will be under-represented, as measured by the FCC/federal government), and the juicy promise of protecting the consumer (their privacy and their “human right” to use the internet). Yep, all the ingredients for a lovely fascist dictator stew.
But it didn’t end there. Heck, it didn’t even begin there.
MICHAEL COPPS: Right. Now fast forward to this, we’re talking about the open Internet, and the future of broadband, which is just as important to them. And perhaps all of that media one day is going to migrate over to the Internet. And they have a vested public interest in making sure that those things are protected on the Internet. And this is this is a tough question for America right now. Here you’ve got this dynamic technology that thrives on openness that thrives on innovation and all of that. And you don’t want to regulate, or artificially limit it. But, at the end of the day, if that’s where everything is moving, is that where our national dialogue, our civic dialogue is moving, if that’s how we’re going to educate ourselves and all, there is a public interest component to that. How do you make that happen in a global environment? The Internet is international. It runs so much differently. But still, at the end of the day, I think you have to come to that conclusion that we have a public interest in how this is used to inform and serve the American people. (emphasis mine)
MICHAEL COPPS: I think it’s a very powerful industry. An industry that increasingly has control over how we converse with one another, other than sitting across the table and talking, how we converse with each other, on the media, through journalism and all of that. That’s maybe the most important industry in the country or in the world. You know, if your big issue is energy dependence, or climate change, or health insurance, or expanding equal opportunity, this issue of the future of the media, now the media on broadband, has to be your number two issue. Because, on that one, depends on how that big issue that you, your number one issue gets filtered and funneled to the American people. (emphasis again mine)
You don’t have to be a genius to figure this out: Copps wants to control how and what information we receive “about the big issues.” Here. In America. So while Copps is saying (and he does say it several times) that the FCC doesn’t want to “regulate” the internet, he’s also saying that the FCC should control, as a matter of national/civic interest, what information reaches the public and how it reaches us. It’s no accident that the “big issues” he lists are all BO’s agenda items and that the majority of Americans disagree with them all. Hmmm, what do you do when you have
ludicrous plans that will destroy our country “a messaging problem“? Gee, I wonder.
After expressing his gratitude and relief that starting in 2008 we have a “new government,” he starts talking about the old media:
MICHAEL COPPS: Partially right. Yes. I don’t think completely right. I think we can say Internet and the economy have been the downfall [of print media]. But I think, equally, or more so, what has been destructive of journalism is just the experience we have been through with this tsunami of industry consolidation that we’ve had.
And, we could see this coming. With fewer and fewer companies gobbling up all of these outlets and playing by the rules of this hyper speculation. I think newspapers are going to survive. And I think broadcast is going to come back. What I’m not convinced of is that newspapers in their new survival mode are going to be able to unaided, support the kind of in-depth journalism that we need to have. And get those reporters back. I think they can get by with that slimmed down newsroom, or the closed down newsroom. That doesn’t that doesn’t help the country very much, though. So, I think, at some point, we have to get off the defensive and start talking about public support for public media.
BILL MOYERS: What do you mean?
What he means, Bill, is that the taxpayer should be bailing out dinosaurs like the NYT and probably even your canceled libbie loon butt. He means that we should literally finance the lunatic drivel that the left inundates us with on a daily basis. He means, when you consider the earlier portion, that we should finance our own propaganda machines that will ensure that we hear and know only what the government wants us to hear and know. It’s not that hard to understand there, Bill.
MICHAEL COPPS: I mean that, in the United States of America, we spend $1.35 per capita per annum supporting public media. In other countries
Uh-huh, doesn’t sound bad, right? What’s a buck thirty-five? Except that we know from looong experience that the tax (fee, basket of blueberry muffins, whatever they want to call this new tax) wouldn’t stay at that. We already have NPR and PBS and God knows what other crap we’re paying to spew liberal madness (the National Endowment for the Arts).
Besides which, I don’t want one penny (or as BO likes to chant, “not one dime”) going to leftist loon propaganda outlets. Not of my money. If I wanted to read that twaddle, I’d be paying for it now, right? But I’m not. No one else is either. The solution is not to force us to finance them and keep them from going out of business but to let them go. Or better, for them to wise up and start reporting the actual news, doing their jobs, uncovering the dirt, making sure we, the people, are informed. That’s the only thing that can save them now. And they know it, and the government knows it. Thus the plan to tax us to pay for them.
BILL MOYERS: You mean public broadcasting, public radio
MICHAEL COPPS: Public broadcasting. Public radio. Exactly.
BILL MOYERS: Community access.
MICHAEL COPPS: Right. Lots of other countries are spending 50, 75, 100 dollars or more. And you kind of get what you pay for. And they’re supporting that, and it’s not interfering with the democracy of those nations in Denmark or Finland or Great Britain or places like that. You know, we have 27 states now, 27 states that do not have an accredited reporter on Capitol Hill.
How do you hold the powerful accountable if over half the states aren’t even covering what that office holder is doing? I see it as the FCC. I mean far fewer reporters on the beat talking questioning what I do. Or what my colleagues do. We’re at a point where we have got to take action on these things. You know, it’s the old. I’m a great believer in the idea of reform cycles in American history. I think you have
. . . . [snip] . . . .
MICHAEL COPPS: And I think you know, these the cycles of reform come around all too infrequently. “There is a tide in the affairs of man/Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;/Omitted, into all the voyage of our life/Is bound in shallows and in miseries,” as Shakespeare said. To rob that of its poetry, and put it in a text message, I think it says, ride the tide.
And I want to ride the tide. I think you have that opportunity of reform that opened in this country a couple years ago. But these windows don’t stay open forever. We don’t know how widely they open. And we have an opportunity now to do some of these things. And if we can’t solve the complete problem, make some down payments while we consider the larger comprehensive problems. I don’t think any of these problems are going to be resolved until the American people really get fired up about them. And that’s happened before, and what we have to show them now is that there are folks who want to tackle these problems who’ve got some ideas for tackling them. And now we’ve got to send a message to all of our elected representatives and everybody else that we’re expecting some action. The future is now. (emphasis mine)
And there it is, the admission. There is a narrow window of time, while BO is still prancing around the WH playing grown up, to force through his radical agenda, an agenda that apparently includes regulating (or whatever you call “filtering and funneling” the right information to the American public) the internet, ensuring that information (the correct information, Herr Copps) reaches the masses in the correct manner and correct measure. Can’t rely on “flag the fishy“campaigns forever, now can we? And note, too, that like all good progessives, Copps understands that they may need to settle for a “down payment” (aka “a starter home“) on the publicly-funded, government-run propaganda machine of the (not so distant) future.