How about some "CNET neutrality"?! #5

Attached is my latest rebuttal to CNET, don't miss my analogy to "CNET netrality" near the bottom of this post.

Rebuttal of point two! Need "CNET neutrality"

Posted by Scott Cleland (See profile) - July 11, 2006 1:39 PM PDT


At the beginning of your article, where you bashed my NPR commentary as “egregiously false, unbelievably cheap and manipulative, and insultingly void of truth or fact… you also appeared to represent yourself as reluctant to regulate: I quote: “regulation of the Internet in any form seems scary, a bit hasty and potentially dangerous.” However, given your commentary in point two, it appears as if you were not fully candid about your reluctance to regulate. Your commentary in part two shows you have an alarming “hair trigger’ for heavy regulation.

First, you lamely point to the FCC non-binding policy principles that went along with the very binding classification of DSL as an information service which officially relieved DSL of any net neutrality-like obligations. You mistake non-binding political statements for regulation and law. This shows that you don’t understand that net neutrality regulation is a vestige of the monopoly era that has been phased out as sufficient competition develops and obviates the need for it. By the way NN never applied to cable and didn’t apply to wireless after 1993.

The operative law and policy here is Congress’ promotion of competition and not regulating the Internet in the 1996 Telecom Act – this is a clear de-regulation policy and law. Neutrality-ites are effectively arguing for the 180 degree opposite – abandoning competition policy and returning to economic regulation.

Second, it seems as if you are giving a whole lot of weight to the one documented ISP data blocking incident, Madison River, a rural telco. This is where it is pretty obvious that you have a hair trigger to regulate despite trying to insinuate otherwise. Do you know that the other 1500 telcos have not blocked nor have the other hundreds of cable and wireless companies in the U.S?

Do you really think it is fair to punish the entire sector (telcos, cable, wireless, WiFi, WiMax, DBS and every American with WiFi), with permanent loss of commercial freedom because of the sins of just one carrier? Sounds like you have a “guilty until proven innocent” world-view. I am glad you are not in any position of real authority. Moreover, I am sure you would vigorously defend your constitutional rights of free press, even though you clearly don’t have much sympathy for the constitutional rights of others to have due process. The words you used to describe the telcos was “clever buggers.” It is clear you view the telcos as “guilty” whether you can back it up with facts or not. Do you apply this “guilty until proven innocent” world view in other areas too?

Let’s use your own situation as a convenient analogy to drive my point home. Just because you and CNET refuse to grant me equal time to rebut your mis-informed commentary with a guest column or podcast debate, you don’t see me calling for a law that would force the “innocent” press: newspapers, magazines, newsletter, online news, TV, radio, bloggers, citizen journalists – to treat my debate commentary bits equally with any pro-neutrality bits. How about some consistency and give me some “CNET neutrality”?

I for one respect your commercial right to not give my views equal time on CNET. But it sure is good fun pointing out how you are not interested in your broader readership hearing my rebuttals of your commentary. You should trust your readership more. They are smart and discerning. It wouldn’t pose any harm to your stature and you would know that you took the high road and engaged in a free and open debate on the merits of net neutrality.