The Internet is an indispensable, crucial component of our modern economy and society.
Anything which affects it in a significant way is something the media ought to be covering and covering correctly. There is no better example than the controversy over “net neutrality.”
Recently the FCC sought public input on its proposal for “Promoting and Protecting the Open Internet,” – a euphemism for net neutrality, or even for reclassifying the Internet as a "public utility," which the FCC is also considering. During the four months the FCC sought comment, nearly 4 million (3.7 million) comments were sent to the FCC. That is the largest number of comments the agency has ever received on any issue.
Who would have guessed it - turns out, Americans care passionately about keeping Washington regulations from messing with the Internet.
Those, mostly liberal, who support net neutrality, say all they want to do is make sure Internet service providers (ISPs) can’t prevent consumers from accessing Internet content.
Those who oppose net neutrality voice the concern that once the government gets it hands into any aspect of regulating the Internet, overreach is inevitable.
Phil Kerpen, President of the free market think tank American Commitment, is one such voice opposing net neutrality. And according to Kerpen, his group's organized effort to oppose any new regulations of the Internet generated more comments that the collaborative effort of liberal heavyweights like MoveOn.org, Free Press, and Sierra Club that claimed over 40,000 participating websites. The liberal effort boasted 777,364 comments, less than twenty per participating website.
Kerpen’s American Commitment mobilized its grassroots operations to send 808,363 comments to the FCC. According to Kerpen: “The American people have spoken clearly in urging Congress to stop any effort by the FCC to impose regulations on the Internet,” said Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment. “A Washington takeover of the Internet would be disastrous for free speech, commerce, and the future of the Internet as a sphere of innovation.”
Echoing Kerpen’s sentiments, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, Rep. Greg Walden said: "It is important for these Americans from across the country to be heard loud and clear…” “We have said all along that these rules continue to be a solution in search of a problem. We will continue working to get government out of the way in our effort to create jobs, boost the economy, and spur innovation."
But now the effort by Kerpen, and others, to drive folks to the FCC site and submit comments against the policy of net neutrality is being called into question by liberal detractors like Koebler “First, he bought them, then he misled them” whined Koebler.
In his Vice article, Koebler turned to Tim Karr of the liberal group Free Press for comment. Free Press is one of the groups that organized the collaborative liberal pro-regulation comment effort.
Perhaps because of liberal spin like that, several liberal outlets are telling a wildly different story about the FCC feedback.
For example…the National Journal dishonestly claimed that “The vast majority of comments, though, were from members of the public and consumer groups who want tougher rules.”
In the same piece Wyatt admits that his numbers come from a study by the Sunlight Foundation—but the data for that study was released by the FCC on August 5th. Why write his piece on September 18th with data from a completely outdated study? Who cares what Sunlight said about the first 800,000 comments when there were more than 3.7 Million in the end?
And not to be outdone the liberal The New York Times Edward Wyatt wrote a piece claiming that “Over all, the comments studied were overwhelmingly one-sided. Less than 1 percent were clearly opposed to net neutrality. And about 5 percent had anti-regulation messages, although those included seemingly contradictory camps, one calling for consumer freedom and another advocating freedom for Internet service providers.”
The vast majority of Americans love the Internet the way it is—unregulated, supported by private investment in a free economy, competitive, and highly innovative. On the other side are liberals, who are ultimately seeking, however incrementally, political control over the Internet.