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Keith Olbermann's Deception

August 30, 2010 by admin

Keith Olbermann wants to convince us that we need to put the Internet under the control of the FCC. He knows that the Tea Party is a popular target for the left so on Friday's Countdown, Keith Olbermann used a discussion of Tea Party opposition to the FCC takeover of the Internet to equate opposition to FCC control of the Internet with opposition to network neutrality.

Keith Olbermann knows that many people on the left will be for Net Neutrality just because they believe the Tea Party is against it, so he tells us at the beginning of the show "Guess who‘s against net neutrality? The Tea Party, naturally."
Then before a commercial break he tells us again:
If you didn‘t have net neutrality, you might have to pay extra to see mindless anti-mosque protests on the Internet. So naturally the Tea Party would defend net neutrality to the death, right. Nuh-uh. Turns out they‘re in the pocket of the corporations too.

When he finally does get to the segment, he tells us a third time that the Tea Party is opposed to net neutrality:
Net neutrality is so vital to a free and open Internet, it is, in practical applications, so popular to anyone who uses the Internet, that it would be hard to see why it would be opposed by anyone other than corporations or their minions. But in our third story, it‘s happened. Corporate minions, Tea Party, reservation for 35.
Most of this segment is spent in a discussion with Amanda Terkel of about just how stupid the Tea Party is to oppose net neutrality. And his proof that the Tea Party is opposed to net neutrality:
A coalition that includes 35 Tea Party groups writing a letter to the FCC. Quoting, “we the undersigned, representing millions of American citizens, write in strong opposition to the Federal Communications Commission‘s effort to regulate the Internet.”

Might as well pause right there, because if ever there were an instance in which so-called government regulation maximized access to information, net neutrality is it.

Yes let's pause right there, because I want to point out to you that Keith Olbermann has just equated "opposition to the Federal Communications Commission‘s effort to regulate the Internet" with opposition to net neutrality. That one sentence he quoted from the letter can't be his whole basis, thrice repeated, for his claim that the Tea Party is against net neutrality can it? That would be a real leap in logic wouldn't it?

So let's look at this Tea Party letter in a little more detail. Keith Olbermann has already given you the substance of the first and most important sentence, they are expressing strong opposition to FCC efforts to regulate the Internet. They specifically mention net neutrality only twice, so let's look at those references:
Earlier this year, a U.S. Court of Appeals found that the Commission was attempting to “shatter” the bounds of its legal authority by trying to enact Net Neutrality regulations without Congressional authority. We view this renewed effort by the FCC to reclassify the Internet under Title II as even more unfounded and onerous.

In the first sentence, I see a fair statement of what happened. In the second sentence I see strong opposition to the FCC reclassifying the Internet under Title II. How is that opposition to net neutrality unless you equate support for net neutrality with support for the regulation of the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934? 1934!. The other place where they mention net neutrality is when they say:
The Internet has never been a regulated utility and we urge you to keep it that way by rejecting so-called “Net Neutrality” regulations on the Internet and the proposed Title II reclassification.

Now here I think it is fair to say that they are equating 'so-called "Net Neutrality" regulations with FCC Title II reclassification and opposing both, but in my experience, when one uses the adjective 'so-called' and puts the thing in quotes, what one is really saying is that the thing is not real, that you think it is a fraud.

Some may opportunistically draw the conclusion from this letter that the Tea Party is opposed to real net neutrality but I think that is wrong. I think a fair reading of the letter is that they are opposed to an FCC takeover of the Internet and they think Net Neutrality is a bogus excuse for it.

MSNBC wants you laughing and joking about the Tea Party being stupid again, while they sow more confusion about the topic at hand. Terkel floats the notion that net neutrality will mean unlimited bandwidth for little or nothing:
Without net neutrality, what can happen is that a Tea Party—a small Tea Party group in some state in the country will decide to start a website, but it may be slower because they don‘t have the money to pay the Internet Service Providers to make their site go faster. So you won‘t be able to go to their site as quickly, and you‘ll probably get frustrated and won‘t go. And you will go to one of the large corporations that are able to pay to make their site go quicker.
{{We have net neutrality NOW! You get the bandwidth you pay for NOW! Get the Net! }}

Countdown would have me believe that if we get their Net Neutrality my own little will run as fast as the Fox News website. Not so.

Keith Olbermann goes further than saying the Tea Party is opposed to new FCC Net Neutrality regulations. He accuses them of wanting "to eliminate net neutrality" and the lesson he wants us to take way from his show is that we need the government to step in:
TERKEL: But, honestly, government has always had to step in to protect Americans‘ rights.

You notice how no one selling this Net Neutrality Sausage talks about net privacy and how the government is going to protect us in that area. DHS is forcing ISPs to put in extra hard drives so the government can copy everything but we won't talk about that now.
TERKEL: I think this is very clear-cut that we need the government to step in and make sure that these corporations who want to line their pockets can‘t just step in and mess with what the Internet has been like for Americans so far.

End of Segment.

Keith Olbermann is tripping over himself so badly trying to convince us that we need an FCC takeover of the Internet to save Net Neutrality that he starts doing what he had so often teased George Bush for doing. He starts talking about the Internets! At the beginning of the segment Keith Olbermann recalls:
Net neutrality has become a major issue, you will recall, because Google and Verizon have proposed a framework whereby the FCC would not regulate the wireless Internet, which would allow big companies like Google and Verizon to play favorites as to who and what gets the fastest, easiest pipeline.
So now, according to Keith, we have two Internets, a wired Internet and a wireless Internet!
But the FCC could, under at least one reading of its authority, ensure that net neutrality extends to the wireless Internet, as well as to the wired Internet.

And what reading of FCC authority is that Keith? Might it be one that also gives the FCC the authority to regulated anything it damn well pleases on the Internet? I mean, they already let the NSA read our email.

Then there was that gratuitous comment that Marx was a lousy thinker. That was about as accurate as anything else in this segment but it did show that even Keith Olbermann has his points of agreement with the Tea Party. Or since that comment seemed to come out of nowhere, maybe it was an unconscious clue as which side he was on in this debate.

But back to this tale of two Internets. Why has Keith Olbermann stooped to a Bush level understanding of the technology? Keith Olbermann and others have created this fiction of the "wireless Internet" because they want to belittle the significant of the Google/Verizon proposal.

Google has good reasons for wanting matters settled around net neutrality and good reason for wanting to limit the FCC's power in that regard. Last September, AT&T protested to the FCC that Google was violating net neutrality. Google had released a software package, Google Voice, that AT&T feared was cutting into it's revenues. Because Google Voice couldn't connect to all the rural numbers the telecom are required to contact, AT&T asked the FCC to declare Google a common carrier and find them in violation of network neutrality. Net Neutrality, loosely defined, can be very useful to the corporations. This is the way at least one telecom wants to use FCC control of the Internet. It is also another reason why Google partnered with Verizon and not AT&T.

Before Google and Verizon came out with their proposal for legislation on net neutrality, Monday a week ago, the sky was falling. The NYT warned that the 'deal' for 'tiered web pricing' could "overthrow" net neutrality. After it came out and we saw that there was no deal, only a proposal, the pro-FCC forces had to belittle it. One narrative went like this:

"Okay, it's not bad on net neutrality for the traditional 'wired' Internet, but it doesn't impose net neutrality on wireless connections, and the wireless Internet is the future." They don't want to acknowledge the reality that wired verses wireless is only an issue of the 'last mile' connection to the user's device so the Google Verizon proposal on net neutrality on landlines, limited though it may be, protects data for most of it's journey even to wireless devices. Rather than acknowledge that, they have created this tale of two Internets! Thoughout this whole debate, there has been a skillful substitution of the end users perception of the technology for the reality of the technology to win points with the public.

In almost every area, the Tea Party's views do not need to be distorted to be dis-proven and ridiculed. Who does it serve to misrepresent their views on net neutrality? It drives wedges between people when there are enough already, and it gives the Tea Party something they can point to and say that the left lies and distorts. The anti-government impulses of the Tea Party have led them to oppose what they see as an attempt to panic the nation into putting the World Wide Web under the control of the FCC in the name of protecting net neutrality. That is not the same as opposing net neutrality. I can quote one Tea Party website approvingly. On May 1st they wrote:
The organization Free Press has placed a haunting clock on their blog claiming that for the past 23 or so days the Internet has been left unregulated Oh, the humanity! The problem is the clock is off by a little over 25 years. That’s when the first dot-com address was purchased and the Internet began its basically unregulated tenure. And I think it’s fair to say the Web has done quite well for itself since that time.

Free Press is referring to the day this month that a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled the Federal Communication Commission has absolutely no authority under current law to regulate the Internet with seemingly benign “Net Neutrality” rules. But since this was the first time the FCC tried to lay down its heavy regulatory hand, it’s not like the Commission had any authority to do it before the court ruling. There is no change of precedent here. For the past 23 days, the law of the land is as it’s been for the past 25 years.

Nevertheless, Neutrality proponents continue to paint this as a sudden crisis.

I liked Keith Olbermann's stand on every other question addressed in Friday's Countdown, and I especially liked his Special Comment yesterday about the so-called Gnd Zero mosque, which is why I felt it was important to write this critique. In the past several weeks. there has been a concerted media campaign to panic people into supporting very broad powers for the FCC on the Internet in the name of protecting something we already have, network neutrality.

Keith Olbermann called the Tea Party people who wrote the letter 'corporate minions.' Since we know who's 'corporate minion' he is, perhaps he would be so kind as to assure us that there is no relationship between his support for the FCC position on regulating the Internet, and GE's hope for quick FCC approval of the proposed NBC-Comcast merger.

I don't trust the FCC or think the U.S. government should be more involved in running the Internet than they are now. Yes, each national government should be making sure that neither they nor the companies over which they have jurisdiction, break any well established Internet practices, like network neutrality, but that is all.

Here is a recap of my other DKos dairies on this subject:
Court rules -> Google Must Be Evil & Maximize Profits
EFF on the Google\Verizon Net Neutrality Proposal
Google-Verizon: What is the Free Press Agenda?
End of the Internet As We Know It!
Free Press would make this Illegal!
Google Verizon Announce Terms of Deal

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