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Democracy & Technology Blog Nixonian doublespeak from FCC

A Federal Communications Commission spokesperson, responding to rumors that the commission may enact network neutrality regulation three days before Christmas, told a publication called The Hill that if government regulates broadband, it’s not “regulation.” Reminds me of former President Richard Nixon’s logic, e.g., if the president does it, it is not a crime.

Net Neutrality is about preventing anyone from regulating the Internet. There are some cable and phone companies out there that want to decide which apps you should get on your phone, which Internet sites you should look at, and what online videos you can download. That’s regulating the Internet — and that’s what the FCC is trying to stop.

I guess it depends on what the term “anyone” means! The sovereign hasn’t been defined as a person for legal purposes like corporations have, so far as I know.
Very clever. Or, more accurately, too clever.
It’s actually a total admission of defeat in the court of public opinion when you expropriate your opponent’s argument and try to employ it using convoluted logic to justify an opposite result. Statements like this will be embarrassing on appeal. The FCC will probably lose on appeal, in any event. Meanwhile, pending litigation will reduce private investment needed to save and create more jobs.
Politically, this administration is besieged and probably doesn’t have the luxury of worrying about long term consequences. It has to secure it’s Left flank quickly and help the Internet regulation industry (i.e., Free Press. MoveOn.org and Public Knowledge) meet their fundraising targets. It’s all about jobs and opportunity for loyal progressives inside the Beltway. There’s an election in 2012, and although they don’t teach this fact in 7th Grade social studies, politicians spend most of their time protecting their own jobs, and they also spend some of their time protecting the jobs of people they think might vote for them.
There is scant evidence that “There are some cable and phone companies out there that want to decide which apps you should get on your phone, which Internet sites you should look at, and what online videos you can download.” And to say that “Net Neutrality is about preventing anyone from regulating the Internet” and to say is a complete lie. Neither of these intentionally misleading statements will do anything to improve the public’s perception of politics.

Hance Haney

Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project
Hance Haney served as Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, in Washington, D.C. Haney spent ten years as an aide to former Senator Bob Packwood (OR), and advised him in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the deliberations leading to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He subsequently held various positions with the United States Telecom Association and Qwest Communications. He earned a B.A. in history from Willamette University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.