Net Neutrality and the FCC - Another Loss For Consumers; Another Win for Big Government

The new FCC regulations voted on last week are meant to guarantee consumers' rights to view what they want on the internet. Barak Obama is quoted as saying that the regulations know as "net neutrality" will "help preserve the free and open nature of the internet."


Taking a peek behind the curtain reveals a different truth. Wall Street Journal editorial writer, John Fund, says that the FCC's vote to enact the new rules represents a "huge win for a slick lobbying campaign run by liberal activists groups and foundations." and "The losers are likely to be consumers who will see innovation and investment chilled by regulations that treat the internet like a public utility."


Fund also writes "There's little evidence the public is demanding these rules..."  Here, Mr. Fund is correct. A Rasmussen poll released yesterday tells us that a mere 21% of the population supports the FCC regulations while a whopping 54% are opposed to such government control of the internet. Fifty-two percent of those polled believe that more free market competition is needed, not more government regulation.


In his opinion piece Fund examines the motivation behind the FCC's vote. According to Fund, the "net neutrality" vision began with University of Illinois communications professor Robert McChesney who says that the "ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control." McChesney, an admitted socialist according to Fund, is also on record as saying "Any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself."


According to Fund, McChesney founded the lobbying group Free Press in 2002. Free Press has allied itself with groups such as and has received funding which it has used to manufacture "research" that favors government regulation. All of this "research" is designed to feed the FCC information that only Free Press and other like-minded organizations want the FCC to see.


Meanwhile, Free Press has installed its cronies on positions of influence at the FCC. According to the article, Jen Howard, press secretary for FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, used to handle media relations at Free Press.


All of this amounts to another victory for champions of big government, while consumers lose yet again. As Fund concludes:


So the "media reform" movement paid for research that backed its views, paid activists to promote the research, saw its allies installed in the FCC and other key agencies, and paid for the FCC research that evaluated the research they had already paid for. Now they have their policy. That's quite a coup.

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