FCC Commissioner: Regulating Poor Comcast Compels Us To Regulate All Speech On The Internet. Huh?

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell (R-Obviously) recently warned conservative bloggers that the Commission’s decision to repudiate Comcast for crippling Bit Torrent could lead the government to start “dictating content policy” by requiring blogs to give equal time to opposing views. Ha! Of course, this can be avoided if we vote for the *ahem* “right” candidate in November.

The commissioner, a 2006 President Bush appointee, told the Business & Media Institute the Fairness Doctrine could be intertwined with the net neutrality battle. The result might end with the government regulating content on the Web, he warned. McDowell, who was against reprimanding Comcast, said the net neutrality effort could win the support of “a few isolated conservatives” who may not fully realize the long-term effects of government regulation.

“I think the fear is that somehow large corporations will censor their content, their points of view, right,” McDowell said. “I think the bigger concern for them should be if you have government dictating content policy, which by the way would have a big First Amendment problem.”

“Then, whoever is in charge of government is going to determine what is fair, under a so-called ‘Fairness Doctrine,’ which won’t be called that – it’ll be called something else,” McDowell said. “So, will Web sites, will bloggers have to give equal time or equal space on their Web site to opposing views rather than letting the marketplace of ideas determine that?”

McDowell’s scare tactics aren’t new. Conservative bloggers have tried to sabotage the net neutrality debate by making a false connection to the long-dead fairness doctrine, which required regulated media outlets to give equal time to opposing views. If the government penalizes Comcast for crippling the internet, the argument goes, well then that friends is regulation; and if the government can regulate Comcast, it must, obviously, regulate the rest of the internet immediately. This kindles the fear of god in conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, who would rather stay silent than let Al Franken take up his airtime calling him a big fat idiot.

In the spirit of fairness, Commissioner McDowell is more than welcome to respond, provided he respects our own regulations.

McDowell: Fairness Doctrine, Net Neutrality Linked [Broadcasting & Cable]
FCC Commissioner: Return of Fairness Doctrine Could Control Web Content [Business & Media Institute]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. waffles says:

    Yeah, like that would ever fly.

    “Excuse me, New York Yankees blog author person, you need to devote equal time to the Red Sox or we’re going to shut you down.”

  2. Cliff_Donner says:

    I cannot possibly think of a better way for the government to use my tax dollars than to fund regulation and control of internet content.

    Wait — what??

  3. ThinkerTDM says:

    Here is what he said:
    Comcast is a big corporation. They have lots of money.
    Citizens of the US- fuck off.
    Or:
    Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Who’s buyin’?

  4. TorrentFreak says:

    If they regulate blogs and stories with equal opposing views can you say LAWSUIT? Big fat lawsuit! Supreme Court please let us keep amendment #1 since you don’t seem to care about #4 anymore.

  5. dopplerd says:

    It hurts my brain to even think about how these two things (throttling and regulating content) are even remotely connected. Sounds like the ol’ Republican fear machine gearing up for November (“Vote for McCain or the internet will be censored”).

  6. TexasScout says:

    No what he’s saying is, “you make us regulate them, we regulate everyone”

    Be careful what you ask for….

  7. TorrentFreak says:

    @ TexasScout

    They are 2 different things. You can’t just regulate free spech that hurts no one. The government can however regulate corporations. The 2 are mutually exclusive.

    It still doesn’t mean it can’t happen, after all you can’t take hair gel on a plane anymore.

  8. TVarmy says:

    I think the big deal here is that we’re not running our blogs on community or taxpayer money (like noncommercial radio stations, ie nearly every college radio station). We pay for the bandwidth to upload them, the host either gets money for us or pays for the blog through ad revenue we make from the content on the blog. Meanwhile, Comcast is advertising unlimited internet connections, but is trying to deliver a shaped internet connection. We are paying Comcast for a product they aren’t delivering, and due to the expense of laying infrastructure, in many if not most areas, they or the dominant cable company are the only real game in town. DSL isn’t very fast and costs a lot for what it is, and dialup is so slow it is near useless for most Web 2.0 applications.

    Unless the honorable representative has a plan to enhance infrastructure so we get to choose from, say, 6 internet providers that actively compete to sell similar services. FIOS is a step in the right direction, as it is as fast as cable, and capable of going faster if they want to start a speed war. However, it’s just one other option, and if both companies start traffic shaping, who’ll offer the better option in an industry hard to start in?

  9. SuperJdynamite says:

    It’s like the Bell System divestiture of the 70s and 80s — first they regulated the phone companies and then they regulated the phone *calls*.

    Except they didn’t.

  10. So asking the Gubmint to slap Comcast on the wrist for attempting to regulate the amount of bandwidth they allow to their own customers is a good thing?

    How?

    I’m not anymore pleased than you guys are that Comcast is the only game in town for a lot of people and they can suck horribly, but if you truly want more choices for bandwith the LAST thing we need to do is have the FCC start playing around.

  11. dequeued says:

    What a load of absolute garbage!

    This is why I quit the republican party, after that Ted Stevens “my emails are stuck in the internets” fiasco.

    After I heard republicans talking about “letting the market decide” about our critical infrastructure, I realized how full of crap they were.

    Just an FYI for everybody, the internet has very little to do with the “free market”, it has never been free, and the private companies that provide internet service are as in bed with the government as Halliburtan.
    The market could have developed the internet, but it didn’t; we needed the government for that.

    The telcos are NOT interested in providing the best service possible or innovating, their sole interest is to make money.
    If anything, they would have an incentive to degrade our connections so they could charge us more to get back what we already have now.
    That, combined with mutual pooling of the market and price fixing.. wow I can hardly wait!

  12. InThrees says:

    Does this mean I’ll be able to see articles about how unchecked corporate fascism is killing this country-as-we-know-it on Fox News’ website?

  13. Egg Yolkeo says:

    The FCC regulates broadcasters because the spectrum is finite. This “spectrum scarcity” justifies the whole existence of broadcast licenses.
    Sites like this site seem to suggest that the bandwidth on the Internet is not nearly as scarce.

  14. dequeued says:

    @IamNotToddDavis:

    You should rtfm before you make comments like that.
    I find your ignorance offensive.

    No one cares if Comcast offers a product to customers and then delivers it.
    What people have a problem with is Comcast fraudulently providing “unlimited” internet access, and then secretly degrading (oh, sorry “shaping”) people’s internet connections.

    Reasonable network management is temporally tweaking your firewall to weather a DDoS attack.

    Reasonable network management is NOT blocking an entire range of network protocols, and then denying it!

  15. evslin says:

    @rellog: What I find amusing is that many repubs and neocons are crying because Obama gets more air time than McCain- even though it was that nitwit Reagan that trashed the equal time requirement in the first place.

    Are you sure you aren’t thinking of the Fairness Doctrine? Equal time is alive and well last time I checked – the Fairness Doctrine however is not, and that’s why people like Rush Limbaugh exist now.

  16. bohemian says:

    One of these things is not like the other, one of these things doesn’t belong….

    What a lame fear tactic.

  17. dequeued says:

    The fairness doctrine is crap to be sure.

    The spirit of laws regulating content may have made sense when most of our mass culture was filtered through three television channels, and maybe a dozen radio stations.

    But as long as the FCC keeps the internet free and neutral, we will be fine.

  18. @:

    I rtfmw or what ever your saying.

    I find your offensiveness ignorant.

    I want more choices in internet service too. I don’t think giving the FCC a bigger stick is going to make things any more difficult on Comcast.

    If Comcast broke the law then they broke the law and should be punished, but the point I’m making is if we start trying to control bandwith other than for licensing it will have consequences worse than what we we already have.

  19. Anonymous says:

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    Wht fnd msng s tht mny rpbs nd ncns r cryng bcs bm gts mr r tm thn McCn- vn thgh t ws tht ntwt Rgn tht trshd th ql tm rqrmnt n th frst plc.
    SCK T NCNS!… :)

  20. Quilt says:

    What would this do to my beloved Kotaku?

  21. higgy says:

    the sad thing is, its not the just republicans and “their fear tactics” to blame, its those in both parties that want the rebirth of the fairness doctrine will include the internet along with radio and TV even if the SCOTUS struck the old rules down nearly 20 years ago…..

    the far left will strike at the right, and the far right will strike at the left, and the people in the middle will suffer…

    and the “its public airwaves” arguement is a joke, the federal government got involved once they found a cash cow that they could suck dry, they did it becore “Big Radio” took control of it, and now the snakes in DC see a new cash cow to control and drain…. the internet…

  22. Fairness Doctrine is wrong, except when it’s used to prop up Creationism Intelligent Design.

  23. randombob says:

    Well let’s say they start by implementing equal-time again on the airwaves first. Buh-Bye, Rush f*cking Limbaugh!

    OH wait, that doesn’t jive? FUCK YOU THEN.

    I’m with the neocon haters here.

  24. costanza007 says:

    read what McCain actually said about his stance on where net neutrality should come from. smart, everyone, real smart.

  25. Anonymous says:

    @: Do you have an ISP that charges by the vowel? This is outrageous! We need government intervention – give us our vowels back!

  26. Ariah says:

    He’s invoking the slippery slope fallacy. It’s silly, but it isn’t some giant neocon conspiracy. It’s just one man talking.

  27. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    Just more fear mongering – same as Rush or Hannity squealing about how “the Dems are gonna bring back the fairness doctrine!!1!!1ONE!” They know it’s a load of crap, it’s just booga booga talk designed to scare the mindlesss followers into action.

    Sadly, in this case the fear mongering is being done to sway the presidential election, and it’s being done using the power of the federal government. Disgraceful.

  28. battra92 says:

    You know, there are plenty of liberal talk radio hosts out there and NO ONE listens to them? Why? Because no one wants to listen to three hours talking about how things suck because it’s all Bush’s fault. Rush owns talk radio because people listen to them.

    The “Fairness” Doctrine is a ploy by people who can’t succeed in a free market where consumers have choice to be forced to try to pull down the achievers because others didn’t have a voice?

    You want fairness? You can have half of talk radio and the opinion page of the WSJ when we can have ABC, CBS, NBC, PMSNBC (aka DNCTV), The New York Times, Washington Post, etc. etc. etc.

    Seriously Consumerist, the fairness doctrine is BAD for the consumer because it kills the choice the market makes. Go buy XM for Air America if you want liberal talk.

  29. cmdrsass says:

    @randombob: So are your knees jerking furiously, then?

  30. Cliff_Donner says:

    Hey, no disrespect intended, but some of my best ideas were had while jerking furiously!!

  31. RodAox says:

    Am I crazy or just stupid ? I honestly did not understand how regulating COMCAST as a corporation will force/make them regulate the internet…

  32. Xkeeper says:

    @battra92:

    Seriously Consumerist, the fairness doctrine is BAD for the consumer because it kills the choice the market makes. Go buy XM for Air America if you want liberal talk.

    Nobody here disagrees with the notion that the Fairness Doctrine is a bad idea.

    Everybody is just saying that regulating Comcast to prevent against them randomly turning off parts of the internet (in this case, BitTorrent) is not some sort of echo of the Fairness Doctrine. It’s more like “preventing somebody from forcing you to shut up”. There’s a whole mess of laws in the same vein, afaik. (IANAL so your memory may vary)

    And to the other person; BitTorrent is used to distribute legal things as well. There are a lot of legitimate uses for it; WoW uses it for patching, TASVideos uses it to distribute recorded movies, Linux distros use it…. I’m not hearing anybody say that the web should be banned because you can use Google to find illegal downloads, and BitTorrent is the same way.

  33. TPK says:

    I haven’t done any research, but I wouldn’t be surprised if XM and Sirius are both heavily supporting reinstatement of the “Not at all” Fairness Doctrine. After Stern was kicked off the air, look what happened to satellite subscriptions… Imagine Rush, Hannity, O’Reilly, Beck, Ingraham, et al, forced off the air to satellite. Stern becomes a dried up drop in the bucket. And now that XM and Sirius have merged, they won’t even have to fight over them!!

    And for those who don’t think it could happen… Read the wiki… They’re just trying to figure out how to sneak it through.

  34. forgottenpassword says:

    Isnt this what the dems were trying to do to am talk radio? They cant keep a liberal talk show going on am radio, because noone wants to hear it. They cant compete with the conservative talk shows…. so they tried to use the fairness doctrine to basically destroy & shut dont conservative am radio talk shows.

    The FCC ommissioner certainly has some balls for using the same tactic.

    However its a bit different… he doesnt wasnt to upset comcast because they are in bed together.

  35. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @: Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Who’s buyin’?

    Simpler than that. Power attracts the corruptible.

    That being said, this isn’t the fairness doctrine here, nor should it be construed as such. I say make it easy, however, for everyone. No new regulation but one. Should Comcast (or any ISP) choose to throttle ANY net application, they just lose their “common carrier” status.

    I can see the lawyers sharpening their knives and readying their forks at that thought.

    Today, in its daily Internet operations, AT&T is shielded by a federal law that provides a powerful immunity to copyright infringement. The Bells know the law well: They wrote and pushed it through Congress in 1998, collectively spending six years and millions of dollars in lobbying fees to make sure there would be no liability for “Transitory Digital Network Communications”-content AT&T carries over the Internet. And that’s why the recording industry sued Napster and Grokster, not AT&T or Verizon, when the great music wars began in the early 2000s.

    Here’s the kicker: To maintain that immunity, AT&T must transmit data “without selection of the material by the service provider” and “without modification of its content.” Once AT&T gets in the business of picking and choosing what content travels over its network, while the law is not entirely clear, it runs a serious risk of losing its all-important immunity. – Slate

  36. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @ forgottenpassword: Isnt this what the dems were trying to do to am talk radio? They cant keep a liberal talk show going on am radio, because noone wants to hear it. They cant compete with the conservative talk shows…. so they tried to use the fairness doctrine to basically destroy & shut dont conservative am radio talk shows.

    b-b-but if the mainstream media is truly liberal then they would have to give equal time to conservatives in their programs. Wouldn’t that more than make up the difference? I mean since all the MSM is an ebil demoncrat liebrul commie, turrist loving, front and all that.

    The logic doesn’t make sense. Wouldn’t this HELP conservatives? I mean they do an article on abortion they have to provide the counterpoints, evolution? Same thing.

    That’s why, not agreeing with the fairness doctrine myself, I call bullsh*t on conservatives one way or the other.

    Either they’re lying about the MSM being nothing more than fronts for ebil commie liebruls or they’re just afraid it’ll expose more hypocrisy in them than the liberals.

  37. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @battra92: You want fairness? You can have half of talk radio and the opinion page of the WSJ when we can have ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC (aka DNCTV), The New York Times, Washington Post, etc. etc. etc.

    Yep, I’ll go for a government 30 minutes per guest.

    I’ve even got a great new talk show. The guests are sealed in a booth but can hear each other, only the moderator asking questions, only one mike is alive at a time for 30 seconds (back and forth) and after each pair of responses a new question (unrelated to the previous 5) is brought out, and we’ll see how well that goes. I’m not expecting Ann Coulter* or Rachael Maddow* to do to well in that format.

    Ann won’t be able to talk over and bully people and Rachael couldn’t make a 30 second comment that makes sense if you paid her to.

    THE PERFECT FAIR SHOW!

    *Fill in any 1 conservative or liberal commentator in each slot. Wonder why Rush doesn’t do random interviews? How about Keithy Olbermann? Bill’O? Rather?

    Because they’d all look like farking jack-a$$e$! That’s why. Have you seen what happens when one of these twits can’t have things the way they want? They act like spoiled farking kids.

  38. stinerman says:

    @:

    Last mile infrastructure is a natural monopoly in most cases and should be regulated as a public utility or bought via eminent domain and opened up to anyone who wants to provide service over that infrastructure.

    Letting the market decide is generally a good idea, but only when a free market does and can exist.

  39. dequeued says:

    @IamNotToddDavis:

    Ah, so you’re neutracidal.
    First of all, comcast is already controlling bandwidth, I only propose having the fcc assert it’s authority to force comcast to stop controlling our bandwidth, except when it needs to for purely technical reasons.

    How exactly would “taking our hands off” the internet make it better and enable more choice?
    Don’t use abstractions here, give me solid examples of how crappy internet service in this country would become better.

    The first thing every major isp would do is block bittorrent, if they could get away with it.
    And probably degrade voip unless you paid a ransom to them.
    Wow, sign me up!
    I can hardly wait!

  40. dequeued says:

    Just remember, Comcast is already imposing it’s own FAIRNESS DOCTRINE, and regulating the content of your internet connection.

    The only difference is that Comcast is doing it to prevent you from using too much bandwidth on your “unlimited” connection, and Comcast is too cheap to accommodate modern internet usage.

    So, infact, the FCC should do the opposite and restore free speech to the internet.

  41. mac-phisto says:

    @Quilt: well, i guess they’d have to drop the banhammer on half of the sony fanboys over there to make everything equal. =P

  42. Nick1693 says:

    @: “Reasonable network management is NOT blocking an entire range of network protocols, and then denying it!

    I call it Comcast’s “Fart and Deny it” policy.

  43. bonzombiekitty says:

    Well most blogs already give equal time. Public comments on blogs would fulfill the fairness doctrine if you wanted to apply it to blogs (as messed up and totally unenforceable as THAT would be).

  44. Nick1693 says:

    @Nick1693:
    The @ was supposed to be for dequeued
    Does anyone know why it doesnt include the name?

  45. vastrightwing says:

    Round 2, the government trying to control “free” speech again. The internet is no friend to the politicians. Imagine that!

  46. Overheal says:

    The Net is neutral isnt it? Its a relatively free market with a very low barrier to entry. The internet doesn’t care about your political views its a system. You start in google, and you get to search for whatever you want. Its that simple. To mandate that websites MUST give equal time to each side of the issue, well its impractical. That’s like telling a car company that it HAS to make 50% of its products Model A and 50% of its products Model B, even though the market indicates that 65% of the consumers would prefer Model B.

    When you think about it, the Media will generate content for whomever they deem to be the highest market share. Yes, some of the presenters on Fox News P me right off. And Jon Stewart while funny can be an ass on a few issues. But they must be doing something right or else they’d be singing to a different hymn sheet: they know, that more and more people have the freedom to simply turn off their TV and go browse the web.

    Personally I dont see how the FCC is trying to link this issue with Comcast. Its just a loaded excuse to leverage more abuses to freedom of speech.

  47. skipjack says:

    So…would the “right” candidate be mccain…since he won’t propose the “fairness doctrine”?

    It’s always interesting to confront liberals with their horrible track record of supporting freedom of speech.

  48. zlionsfan says:

    @Nick1693: I think it was related to the recent site changes … for some people, the nickname field was cleared, so even though you’re logged in, it says “welcome, !” at the top and doesn’t add text for the anchor tag when you’re quoted.

    I just edited my profile and put my nickname back … that’s probably all other people need to do …

  49. joepa1 says:

    @InThrees: As soon as you see CNN complaining about a socialist nanny state.

  50. Triborough says:

    This is why I have my hosting in a civilized country which respects human rights, doesn’t go off to war willy-nilly and has a national anthem that is humanly possible to sing. They also are less uptight about what goes on TV, too.

  51. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    tinybug: “Just more fear mongering – same as Rush or Hannity squealing about how “the Dems are gonna bring back the fairness doctrine!!1!!1ONE!” They know it’s a load of crap, it’s just booga booga talk designed to scare the mindlesss followers into action.”

    battra92: The “Fairness” Doctrine is a ploy by people who can’t succeed in a free market where consumers have choice to be forced to try to pull down the achievers because others didn’t have a voice?

    forgottenpassword: Isnt this what the dems were trying to do to am talk radio?

    skipjack: So…would the “right” candidate be mccain…since he won’t propose the “fairness doctrine”? It’s always interesting to confront liberals with their horrible track record of supporting freedom of speech.

    I rest my case

  52. snoop-blog says:

    Carey, you just earned +10 street cred points.

  53. Bladefist says:

    Both candidates are against the Fairness Doctrine. So, who is the right candidate Carey?

    @TinyBug:

    it’s just booga booga talk designed to scare the mindlesss followers into action.

    So anyone who listens to opinion radio/tv is mindless? Or just the people who listen to commentary you dont like are mindless?

    The fairness doctrine is a liberal idea. But it wont be a problem for a while because:

    1) Bush doesn’t support it
    2) Next president wont support it (Obama/McCain)
    3) It’s unconstitutional.

  54. captainpicard says:

    @Inglix_the_Mad:

    Actually the fairness doctrine wouldn’t help anyone it would hurt everyone. You see there are more viewpoints in america than just lib/con. The fairness docrine stated (paraphrasing here) that you could get fined for not giving equal time to ANY opposing view point. So you have the green party, libertarians, independants, the whips, the nazi’s , the facists, the communists, etc etc..

    So then what you get is all media begins to start having viewpoint neutral programming (i.e. car talk, law advice, stock market advice ) and no political talk whatsoever (which itself may not be that bad).

  55. MeOhMy says:

    Just paint half the tubes blue and half the tubes red. Equal time has been achieved. Addition of additional tubes will have to be done in pairs (which is technically necessary anyway for duplexing purposes), one of each color.

    It’s so easy to manage the internet!

  56. bagelche says:

    So McDowell’s line of reasoning is:

    If the government tells Comcast that it should not regulate content, it clearly follows that the government will start regulating content.

    uh, no. utter logic fail.

  57. dwarf74 says:

    Holy crap, folks. It’s like some of you are volunteers blandly repeating the talking points.

    1. Nobody wants the Fairness Doctrine. Nobody. Not Obama, McCain, or the

    2. Net Neutrality has absolutely zero to do with the Fairness doctrine.

    It’s an imaginary connection. That’s the point.

    So please stop talking about how ridiculous the fairness doctrine is, because (1) we agree, and (2) there’s no connection to the real topic at hand.

  58. sleze69 says:

    I just wrote my senators and congressman asking them to denouce this douche. I suggest everyone else here do the same.

  59. incognit000 says:

    There’s no fairness doctrine on TV or radio or any other media, that was eliminated during Reagan and it wasn’t really in much effect by that point anyway.

    Also: liberal blogs vastly outnumber conservative blogs because conservatives tend to prefer TV (Fox News) and radio (conservative talk) as do their target audience. So “fair-and-balancing” the internet would really favor the conservatives.

    Lastly, does he know anything about the internet other than that it is a series of tubes?

  60. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @Bladefist:

    So anyone who listens to opinion radio/tv is mindless? Or just the people who listen to commentary you dont like are mindless?

    Neither, actually. Are those the only two options you could think of? here, let me help you out with this handy Venn diagram:

  61. kc8dhx says:

    What the?!?!

    I don’t come to the consumerist to be told how to vote, PLEASE STOP THAT, that’s twice now in the last week. If I wanted political commentary I’d go somewhere else…

    Ugh!

  62. zonk7ate9 says:

    @TVarmy: I’m sorry this is a little off-topic, but why does everyone have this misconception that DSL is slow? It was when it first came out, but a majority of DSL companies offer higher speeds than what Comcast has in a lot of areas. I have a 10 megabit DSL connection at my house for $50 a month. In places where Comcast is the only player in town they usually only offer a 1.5 megabit connection. The only reason Comcast is faster in my area (16 megabit – very recent it was only at 10 when my ISP upgraded from 8 to 10) is because of competition; there are 4 other ISPs in my area plus satalite so they have to be competitive.

  63. The_Gas_Man says:

    @dwarf74:
    There are many, many members of the Democrat party who are ready and willing to reinstate the Fairness Doctrine as we speak.

    Nancy Pelosi
    [www.humanevents.com]

    Dianne Feinstein
    [www.foxnews.com]

    Maurice Hinchey
    [www.house.gov]

    Senator Richard Durbin has said “It’s time to reinstitute the Fairness Doctrine.”
    [thehill.com]

    Senator John Kerry has said, “Well, I think the Fairness Doctrine ought to be there…”
    [www.broadcastingcable.com]

    As well as 47% of the American people.
    [rasmussenreports.com]

    So while Robert McDowell is way off base in connecting the FCC/Comcast decision with the Fairness Doctrine, he is indeed correct that the Fairness Doctrine is in danger of being reinstituted for radio, and it’s really not a stretch to take it from there out onto the Internet.

  64. dwarf74 says:

    @The_Gas_Man: “it’s really not a stretch to take it from there out onto the Internet.”

    Yes, actually, it is.

    Frankly, it’s a pretty enormous stretch.

  65. dinoman1989 says:

    The problem is that since the government allows Comcast to use the utility right-of-way, while not allowing everyone to do so, they are de facto allowing Comcast to exist as a monopoly by creating too high a barrier for competition. While the government always does this with utilities, eg allowing ConEd to build power lines while not allowing me to build my own power lines, such state-sponsored monopolies are usually regulated to some extent as a condition of their monopoly status. Still, the government regulating ConEd doesn’t mean they are allowed to regulate what I do with my electricity, creating a “fairness doctrine” whereby I can only use my dishwasher for the same amount of time that I use my television set. So why would FCC regulation of Comcast allow for FCC regulation of blogs? It wouldn’t.

    I think that the McDowellenator’s argument doesn’t hold water.

  66. rellog says:

    @evslin: Yes, I was referring to the Fairness Doctrine.
    Personally, I think that there needs to be some sort of law stating that news reports need to be truthful. Back in 2004, the Bush campaign released info saying they’d found WMD in Iraq, which was completely false, and proved so. Yet conservative owned radio stations continued to pump out the false rhetoric…

  67. Tiber says:

    @Inglix_the_Mad: I’ve thought the same thing. Comcast has complained that fining them is unlawful because there is currently no law on the books. I have to admit that they might be technically correct, because some politicians seem to think that a law shouldn’t be on the books unless it’s already a problem (meaning the first offenders of a not-yet-a-crime get off scot-free). However, all the FCC has to do is threaten to reverse some of the policies that secure the industry’s relative lack of competition, and Comcast will come back begging for a fine.

    Overall though, I have to wonder if politicians even understand what net neutrality even is. I think Republican’s just heard that it was a regulation, and it triggered a knee-jerk response. I could understand that some people might have an actual reason not to want it, but they just keep repeating the same argument (at least from what I’m hearing). It’s like immigration. It’s a complex issue with no perfect solution. But, if you can only repeat, “They’re takin’ our jobs!”, you might not be the best person to decide policy.

    As for Mr. McDowell specifically, if he truly believes what he said, then I have no idea what’s running through his head. The slippery slope argument is a complete fallacy, but there is at times some semblance of a rational argument. Here though, there’s a leap in logic so wide I’m amazed McDowell can see the end of it. How does ensuring the delivery of all types of packets in a timely matter have anything to do with censorship (except for the fact that net neutrality protects against it, which is the opposite of what he’s saying)! That’s like saying that a law which forbids cell phone companies from dropping phone calls because they feel like it would lead to regulating what people can say on the phone.

  68. Bladefist says:

    @rellog: Neo != evil. Neo = new. Quit calling people neocons, its far from an insult.

    Your account of history is inaccurate. The WMDs (at the time) was a fact. It was the current intelligence. It was disproven later (and rightfully reported so). Hindsight is 20/20

  69. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @bagelche: Slippery slope to be specific, yes?

  70. TPK says:

    @Inglix_the_Mad: No, you’re thinking under the deluded assumption that a “Fairness” Doctrine would be applied fairly. It is well documented that this would not be the case, and that it would likely only be applied to conservative outlets.

    Case in point: When was the last time you saw a Republican candidate speaking from the pulpit of a conservative church? As opposed to the hundreds of times you see Democratic candidates speaking from the pulpits of not-so-conservative churches. Last time I checked, non-profit status was supposed to apply equally across the board when it comes to political candidates, but it’s easy to show this is not the case.

  71. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    @TPK: Name one Democratic candidate who spoke from the pulpit of a church.

  72. Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg says:

    @TPK:

    Case in point: When was the last time you saw a Republican candidate speaking from the pulpit of a conservative church?

  73. katylostherart says:

    so who wants to start a revolution?

  74. darkryd says:

    McDwll, y cn sck my bg ftty.

  75. captainpicard says:

    @TPK:

    actually non-profit organizations are supposed to shy away from endorsing or favoring any one political party or person. they could get thier non profit status revoked.

  76. ELC says:

    @TinyBug: you forgot part of TPK’s post – “As opposed to the hundreds of times you see Democratic candidates speaking from the pulpits of not-so-conservative churches. Last time I checked, non-profit status was supposed to apply equally across the board when it comes to political candidates, but it’s easy to show this is not the case.”

    Key point “HUNDREDS” of times. If I wanted to spend the time, I could fill this post up with 100s of pictures of liberal Democrats speaking at liberal churches (mostly black) across the country. We don’t even know the source of those pictures. They could be in their own churches, they might not be candidates at the time, etc.

  77. ELC says:

    “Long-dead fairness doctrine”…? On the contrary, the desire for it is alive and well. As some have pointed out, this is bad for ALL – liberals, conservatives, and any other viewpoint you think exists out there. My current email signature is below:

    According to the US Constitution, Amendment #1, Ratified 12/15/1791:
    “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…”

    But the “leadership” in Congress is attempting to do that with the improperly-named “Fairness Doctrine”, and American citizens need to stop it: [tinyurl.com] [newsbusters.org]

  78. TPK says:

    As if it were hard to find… Go to Google:

    [insert democrat name here] speaks church

    In case you are “Google challenged”…

    Obama
    Clinton
    Edwards

    And although not candidates, these two certainly endorse the Democratic way of thinking well beyond what would be allowed of a conservative in a “tax exempt” venue:

    Sharpton
    Jackson

    @captainpicard: You make my point exactly… that “supposed to” only applies to conservatives.. just as will enforcement of a “Fairness” Doctrine.

  79. bitplayer says:

    The liberal guys on the radio have failed mainly because they got guys who weren’t radio guys at all to do these shows. Hate Rush all you want, and I do, but he’s a real radio pro. Al Franken and Jeanine Garwhatshername aren’t pro radio people. Rhodes and others who were real radio people can put a show together and have an audience.

  80. trujunglist says:

    It just so happens that most of the insanely rich people in this country are also insane conservatives because the conservative point of view jives with them keeping a lot of money. What happens when the insanely rich control all of the media outlets (poor people can’t own shit)? Well, that would be pretty unfair. Hence the name the “Fairness Doctrine,” and also the reason why it’s a “liberal” idea. Anything that is not pro-insanely rich people and helping out the insanely poor = liberal. You have to have assloads of money to do anything at all and reach a wide audience. Thankfully, some media outlets in this country do give the liberals a fair shake, probably in an effort to prevent the Fairness Doctrine from becoming a reality, because that would be really, REALLY bad for conservatives.
    For the record, I don’t support the Fairness Doctrine.. at this point.

  81. goodkitty says:

    The Internet needs to be declared a national resource, protected and made available to all, without limits or penalties. Unless you’re afraid of the truth, what’s the big deal? Well… yeah, I guess I see the point for *some* fearful people there…

    Can you imagine such a thing? A society where for at least some part, you’re truly free and unencumbered? That reminds me of a South Park episode where America’s real definition was being able to say one thing (freedom! freedom!) while doing something different (regulation! restriction!).

  82. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    1) I laughingly joked about applying the fairness doctrine. As stated in one of my posts, I don’t agree with it.

    2) The right-wing has brain-washed people into the “Mainstream Media is Liberal” just as many left-wingers believe in the “vast right-wing conspiracy.” In reality, if you believe either, you’re a complete f*cking moron. The press is corporate (i.e. what f*cking sells) and most of these right-wing idiots couldn’t conspire to keep the flavor of their pudding cups secret.

    3) I said remove their “common carrier” status. You don’t understand what that means?

    It means the RIAA / MPAA get to see a big f*cking bulls-eye on Comcast. Oh and that’s just the start. Stripping them of their common carrier protections means they can be sued by anyone for just about anything going over their network. See what I mean about lawyers sharpening their knives?

    This is a dirt simple solution we can hold over every ISP. Best of all it’s a law the Telco and ISP’s helped ram through, so they can’t even complain about it! Hoist them in their petard!

  83. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @Bladefist: Your account of history is inaccurate. The WMDs (at the time) was a fact. It was the current intelligence. It was disproven later (and rightfully reported so). Hindsight is 20/20

    Your account of history is a bit shaded by your choice of news venues. If you listened to worldwide news at all (rather than just parochial American news) many people were calling that intelligence bullsh*t. One thing I learned is that after 9/11, American reporters (even the durty ebil commie librul terrorist lovers) walked on eggshells and didn’t challenge anything put out by the White House. I listened to Colin Powell talking at the UN and said “damn, if he’s right, this idiot’s got to go!” Then I had a revelation, I could use this thing called the Internets and look.

    The problem was while it was all there, nobody wanted to see it. In criminal courts this is called “willful blindness.” Do I think Dubya should be criminally culpable? No. Then again I think he was an idiot to do what he did, muck up the US name, and get us involved in a pointless battle costing lives and money.

  84. Brent says:

    I read this on Drudge Report (the text was in red) and burst out laughing. The Bush administration thinks the internets are a series of tubes and that they can frighten bloggers into opposing net neutrality through non-sequitor scare tactics. What idiots.

  85. jaewon223 says:

    You know what’s so stupid? What FCC is doing is forcing Comcast NOT to filter their internet. Government regulation to remove commercial regulation. I think we can all agree that this is a beneficial thing.

  86. CyberSkull says:

    I fail to see how regulating quality of service leads to regulation of content.

  87. Squeezer99 says:

    well democrats are the ones that want to bring back the fairness doctrine

  88. hustler says:

    look, if you refuse to drink Comcast kool-aid, mccain is going is going to “not”-waterboard you.

  89. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @CyberSkull: That’s because you’re not crazy.