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Wash Post Japan Broadband article a thinly-disguised advocacy piece for net neutrality

The Washington Post's editors should have been more forthright and put a "news analysis" label on their front page story today "Japan's warp-speed ride to Internet future." If the Post had put the "news analysis label on the story, I would not be writing this critical analysis on why the story was not news but a thinly-disguised advocacy piece for net neutrality masquerading as news or straightforward unbiased reporting.

First, there was no "news" here, as the supposed "news hook" was a two-month old press release by the CWA that was reported at the time by other leading papers. (Note the source of the chart that is featured prominently on the front page showing "slow US downloads" -- CWA).

Second, a large portion of an article that was headlined to be about Japan, was really a forum only for proponents of net neutrality/government regulation, to espouse their views without offering readers the other point of view in what the Post knows is a very contentious and public debate where there clearly are two sides to the story. 

  •  "The experience of the last seven years shows that sometimes you need a strong federal regulatory framework to ensure that competition happens in a way that is constructive," said Vinton G. Cerf, a vice president at Google.
    • Then the reporter clearly editorializes in favor of more regulation:
      • "Yet the story of how Japan outclassed the United States in the provision of better, cheaper Internet service suggests that forceful government regulation can pay substantial dividends."
    • The article goes on to quote as fact the bogus and out-of-date figure that the US phone and cable companies control "98% of the nation's broadband market."
      • Why not check the latest FCC data and quote that? Because that data proves that broadband competition is flourishing and increasing. 

Third, the story acts like speed is the only thing that matters in broadband, but what about mobility? The Post has written before about how important wireless is -- so why not include wireless broadband in this article that makes the one-sided case that the US is behind Japan on the Internet?

Fourth, did the Post bother to look at the objective and balanced source of the Economist Intelligence Unit's world digital rankings which show the US at # 2 and Japan at 18th?

Fifth, did the Post think it relevant that in this time of homeland security that it is important and relevant that a nation's broadband infrastructure should be as redundant and robust as possible?

  • Wouldn't it be relevant to mention that the US is the only nation in the world with a redundant completely independent national broadband infrastructure called cable?
  • Competition has many benefits not mentioned in this article/veiled advocacy piece.

Bottomline: If the reporter would have sought out the other side and included some balance in the article -- or if the Post editors were just up front and called it a "news analysis" -- I would have no beef.