Why net neutrality is important
Last Updated on Monday, 19 May 2008 11:29 Written by Steve Monday, 19 May 2008 11:29
I am loving the Internet media this election cycle. The most insightful political analysis I’ve read this year has been on political blogs, not TV. I watch Keith Olberman, and he reports stories that were broken on blogs earlier that day. I’ve been reading way too much of this material this spring (ask my wife), and I have to say that it feels like a core pillar of our future as a democracy.
There are amazing disparate voices out there that have huge circulation numbers and relatively low production costs. Newspapers and TV struggle as Internet media readership increases. It is the future, and it is skewed to the people, the small voices, not the corporations.
The biggest threat to this massive shift is a top-down squelching that is being attempted by folks like Comcast and fought by folks like you and me in support of what is called net neutrality. In short, we need to keep the Internet wide open, and not restrict people’s access to the small, crazy, off-beat voices out there. Comcast and others are trying to make it harder to read dailykos.com, talkingpointsmemo.com, and openleft.com.
Don’t let them do it.
Think I’m over reacting? Watch this short, small-budget media production of John McCain in his own words:
The overwhelming media narrative on John McCain is that he’s a straight shooter, and sticks to positions even if they are unpopular. These narratives are self-reinforcing and almost impossible for common people to affect. Until now. 500,000 people have watched this clip as of my posting this. Millions have watched Obama online. People are seeing for themselves and making up their own mind.
And the media has to adjust, because it’s harder to maintain an untrue narrative when others are out there contradicting you with pesky things like facts and video. Kinda makes you look like you didn’t do your research, or at worst that you’re lying.
My state representative is retiring this year and a candidate for her seat stopped by our house yesterday. He was a nice guy, a Democrat with lots of experience with fighting for better health care. He asked me what I cared about and I told him net neutrality. He stumbled a bit, but knew about the issue. He said, “It’s kind of a federal issue.”
On one level he’s right. But Comcast operates in Washington state. Comcast is granted a monopoly by the City of Seattle. This fight must be fought at every level of Government. And it must be fought by Democrats. The Republican party is a top-down enterprise. Just look at all the failed Republican projects that were supposed to emulate Daily Kos, or Act Blue. Democrats, like Obama, thrive in a bottom-up world. A powerful Internet-based media is a massive boon to the Democratic party, because it serves the public, and the public is majority Democrat.
If there were a cable provider who was pro net neutrality, I would switch from Comcast in a heart beat. But heck, I may just cancel cable altogether–I can follow politics better on the web anyway. As long as the net stays neutral.