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-Could ‘Net Neutrality’ Regulations Result in Feds Controlling Content?

by Dr. D ~ May 11th, 2015

The two Republican members on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which recently passed new “net neutrality” regulations, are both concerned that this could ultimately lead to Federal bureaucrats or worse yet Federal political appointees controlling content on the Internet.

The fear is that the new ‘regs’ might be used in ways that are somewhat comparable to the old ‘Fairness Doctrine’ that use to control content over the air waves demanding ‘equal time’ for all ‘legitimate’ points of views. Here’s a quote from one of the members, Ajit Pai (also see video above) who spoke on this issue over the weekend:

“I could easily see this migrating over to the direction of content… What you’re seeing now is an impulse not just to regulate the roads over which traffic goes, but the traffic itself.”

Continuing, he said, “It is conceivable to me to see the government saying, ‘We think the Drudge Report is having a disproportionate effect on our political discourse. He doesn’t have to file anything with the FEC. The FCC doesn’t have the ability to regulate anything he says, and we want to start tamping down on websites like that.’”

“Is it unthinkable that some government agency would say the marketplace of ideas is too fraught with dissonance? That everything from the Drudge Report to Fox News… is playing unfairly in the online political speech sandbox? I don’t think so,” Pai said.

“The First Amendment means not just the cold parchment that’s in the Constitution. It’s an ongoing cultural commitment, and I sense that among a substantial number of Americans and a disturbing number of regulators here in Washington that online speech is [considered] a dangerous brave new world that needs to be regulated,” he concluded.

<Read the whole article>

Response: Progressives have controlled a large portion of the main stream media (MSM) for years. Meanwhile many leftists are upset that so many TV viewers choose to watch more conservative shows on Fox or worse yet listen to Rush Limbaugh and other conservatives on radio. Then in the last 10 years or so the Internet has risen up to become an important media for political and cultural dialogue and the free for all atmosphere has created some conservative competition for the dominant MSM.

So the old hegemony liberals use to have years ago when there were just three TV networks is over and add to that the continuing decline  of the large city liberal newspapers and now the rise of competing voices on the Internet has caused many progressives to call for some kind of control and regulation in order to combat the effect of more conservative websites like the Drudge Report. It is interesting that Drudge should be singled out since he doesn’t really produce any content but merely links to both liberal and conservative stories that catch his eye.

From what I have read concerning this whole issue, the fear is that some federal appointees may be given a green light to address the ‘fairness’ issue by limiting daily access to particular websites like Drudge in order to bring ‘equality’ to the online conversation. Other proposals being kicked around by some are even more dangerous from my perspective.

My Concerns:

Some propose to ‘even out’ traffic by controlling access to websites on different sides of a particular issue. So access to Christian websites promoting belief in God would need to be ‘evened out’ and limited to bring traffic ‘equality’ to atheist sites? I really do not see how this could even be done so I’m not too worried about this proposal.

However the following idea I am concerned about. There are many voices in the present administration who would like to limit what they consider to be ‘hate speech.’ One proposal is to severely limit access to sites that promote any kind of  ‘hate.’ This idea could result in the new ‘regs’ actually being used to limit free speech and religious liberty on the Internet in the future. 

For example, Christian sites that are critical of Islam or expose the radical Islamic teaching of Muhammad and the Quran might be designated as purveyors of ‘hate’ and ‘Islamophobia’ by some bureaucrat. Also, Christian Bible studies which continue to condemn same–sex marriage and quote from Bible verses which are critical of homosexuality might well be deemed as ‘hate speech’ promoters that are worthy of limited access and control in the future ‘for the good’ of society?               *Top

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