October 21, 2009

For the second day in a row (Monday's show being so chockful o'wingnuttery that we didn't have time to post on it) Glenn Beck devoted two whole segments to the subject of net neutrality.

And for the second night in a row, the discussion featured a guy named Phil Kerpen from Americans For Prosperity, which has a long history of shilling for whatever right-wing corporate agenda it can suck out money for: tobacco interests, health-insurance companies, corporate polluters have all pitched in money so that AFP can variously promote tobacco, lobby against health-care reform (it was one of the original promoters of the Tea Parties) and push the idea that global warming isn't really happening.

And now he's out pushing the notion that somehow, regulating Internet providers so that they cannot determine or limit public access is the same thing as communism. Or something like that. When you have Glenn Beck as your No. 1 cheerleader, logic doesn't actually have to enter into it.

Especially not facts. Because Beck appears to have no idea at all what Net Neutrality is actually all about.

As Timothy Karr explained on Democracy Now last month:

And net neutrality is really the fundamental openness principle of the internet. Whenever you connect to the internet, net neutrality makes sure that you can connect to everyone else who’s on the internet. And this has been a tremendous engine for free speech, for economic innovation, for equal opportunity. And we are now fighting with some very prominent internet service providers, very powerful companies, to try to preserve that fundamental openness, so that whenever we go online we can choose, as users, where we go and what we do via the internet.

Somehow, Beck is able to transform this into an attack on "freedom of speech" -- when it obviously is precisely the opposite.

To guys like Beck, you see, the only threat to our liberties is from the government. Giant corporations that control our means of information, not so much.

Indeed, his argument boils down to a simple proposition: "Freedom" means letting powerful business interests control the public's access to the internet.

Hm. That's some kinda freedom.

ThinkProgress has more:

Kerpen, from whom Beck apparently cribbed his understanding of the concept, claims that there is no reason to be concerned about internet service providers blocking access or charging customers differenty. “Proponents of net neutrality rely on the scare tactic that big bad cable and phone companies will block access to Web sites and cause other mischief unless the benevolent federal government rides to the rescue, and soon,” wrote Kerpen on FoxNews.com earlier this month. “But they’ve been ringing this alarm for the better part of a decade and none of the horrors they warn us about have happened.” In fact, in 2007 it was revealed that Comcast had disrupted peer-to-peer file-sharing traffic on its network, leading to an FCC investigation. There was also an incident where “Verizon Wireless denied Naral Pro-Choice America, an abortion rights group, access when the group asked to the carrier to allow Verizon customers to sign up for text-messaging alerts.”

Can you help us out?

For 18 years we have been exposing Washington lies and untangling media deceit, but now Facebook is drowning us in an ocean of right wing lies. Please give a one-time or recurring donation, or buy a year's subscription for an ad-free experience. Thank you.


We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service for information on our posting policy.