You are here

The comical spin-fest of Markey net neutrality bill supporters

The frantic spin-fest by supporters of House Telecom Chairman Ed Markey's new net neutrality bill was truly comical to watch. Let me share some of the more precious "spin" moments from last week.

Gigi Sohn, Founder of Public Knowledge, said in Comm Daily"The new net neutrality bill has a better chance of passing than previous ones. What's different this year is the momentum leading up to it."

  • Hmmmm. The new Markey bill, HR5353, which has been in the works for 13 months of this session has two co-sponsors, lets count them again, one...two..., and one of these two is retiring from Congress this year.
  • In the Senate, the Dorgan-Snowe bill, an exact replica of the failed 2006 version, was introduced 13 months ago and has had near zero Senate consideration or attention, not even a hearing.
  • Meanwhile back at the ranch... net neutrality regulation has been opposed by the FCC, FTC, the DOJ Antitrust Divsion and the three states that examined it: Michigan, Maryland, and Maine.
  • Gigi may be technically correct that the issue indeed has "momentum," however, Gigi remains mum on the DIRECTION of that "momentum" -- as that would be unnecessary buzz-kill to share with people.

Ben Scott, the policy director of's FreePress arm, and Gigi Sohn were obviously speaking from the exact same approved talking points:

  • Ben Scott on the conference call with reporters said: "...its the right bill at the right time. It does what we want which makes nondiscrimination the law of the land."
  • Gigi Sohn in Comm Daily: "It's the right bill at the right time. it does the one thing we all really want, and that's make nondiscrimination the law of the land."
  • Hmmm. What great message discipline!
    • I guess everyone is supposed to ignore all their past histrionics that net neutrality legislation was urgent and dire -- that did not come true... 

Ben Scott, again said on the conference call with reporters: "it (the Markey bill) doesn't micromanage the FCC." (I got a deep belly laugh out of that one.)

  • Hmmmm.  Not only does the bill change the broadband policy of the United States from broadband being an unregulated information service to effectively a regulated common carrier service for all technologies (DSL, Cable Modem, Wireless Broadband, Broadband over powerlines, Satellite and broadcast...), this proposed law mandates the FCC:
    • To do an "Internet Freedom Assessment" that mandates 11 "Specific Requirements" on how the FCC "shall assess" broadband, and
    • To have 8 broadband summits, and directs the FCC on where they should be, how they should be announced and who should be heard from.
  • Naaah. That's not "micromanaging the FCC..."

Rick Whitt, telecom/media counsel for Google was spinning away as well on the conference call with reporters.

  •  Mr. Whitt said: "We reject that this bill is regulation of the Internet." "This bill just addresses broadband, the on and off ramps of the Internet, not the Internet itself."
    • Hmmmm.  Does Google's Mr. Whitt actually think that people are that stupid that a bill called "The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2008" and that mentions the word "Internet" five times in the Broadband policy mandate, two more times than the word "broadband" is a law that does not affect or regulate the Internet?

Bottomline: Congress, the press, analysts, investors, and others following net neutrality were not born yesterday. They remember or can easily back-check all of the many things that the net neutrality movement has said that have proven untrue. 

  • There is a growing net neutrality "credibility crevasse" between the "credibility-haves" whose views and statements can withstand scrutiny and the test of time, and the "credibility have-nots" whose spin cannot withstand scrutiny or the test of time.