by: Matt Stoller
Wed Aug 13, 2008Yesterday, if you listened closely, you could hear the sound of John McCain selling off the internet to his campaign backers, the cable and telecom interests. After being shocked by a 3-2 vote punishing Comcast for illegal behavior at the FCC, cable interests are freaking out and using every tool at their disposal to reinstitute discipline among wavering Republicans.
The cable and telecom pushback started with former telecom lobbyist and current FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, who is desperate to become Chairman of the FCC under a McCain administration, launching a salvo against internet freedom, claiming that net neutrality would lead to censorship of the internet and requirements that bloggers and sites like Google offer 'equal time' to different views. This incoherence was quickly picked up by the Drudge Report, all to be timed with the coming release of McCain's technology policy, which is slated to come out this week or next. McDowell, who of the five FCC Commissioners is by far the most favorable to cable, did this at the Heritage Foundation. He even warned his side that there are more dissident conservatives like Kevin Martin getting ready to come out for net neutrality, a clear sign they know they are losing this fight and need to reframe their strategy.
McDowell denounced net neutrality under the guise that it's intertwined with the Fairness Doctrine, which he says Obama will reimpose. McDowell wouldn't actually explicitly say that net neutrality and the Fairness Doctrine are the same thing, means, because he knows he'd get laughed out of the room, but he implied it. Here's his statement.