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FTC rejection of Net Neutrality caps-off an historically big week for the masses 6/29/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Journalism, Net Neutrality.

The resolution of 3 major controversies marked an enormously gratifying week for those sharing Thomas Jefferson’s view that public policy ought to be driven by the collective will of the people, and not unduly influenced by powerful elites. The apparent rejection of Net Neutrality legislation by the FTC may prevent government from taking that first, fateful regulatory step that would no doubt ultimately lead to the regulation of speech on the Internet. This is not a theoretical concern, but one demonstrated time and time again. Congress still can’t seem to keep its hands off of broadcasting, as they are showing in recent efforts to revive a proven free speech-killer, radio’s Fairness Doctrine.

The defeat of the immigration bill was another victory for the people. A bi-partisan conspiracy to address the political and financial needs of an elite few crashed because of a digital roar from the electorate.

The third victory was delivered as an unintended side-effect by a controversial figure. By purchasing the Wall Street Journal, Rupert Murdoch is busting-up two elites: 1) a journalism elite that through its practices has been shutting-out consumer-oriented competitors that might allow the public to decide what news ought to be; and 2) the Bancroft family elite, which used a clever arrangement of voting stock to keep control of the paper despite the much larger financial stake owned by public shareholders. So, let’s take the weekend to celebrate these massive victories of the masses!


1. Peter Ralph - 7/1/07

OK – the immigration bill works.

And net neutrality is a very complex issue.

But IMHO the Murdoch story is simple. The WSJ coverage of human rights abuses in China is a significant embarrassment to the Chinese government. Murdoch sees future growth for News corp coming largely from his close contacts with the Chinse regime.

How is shutting down that criticism going to help the masses in the US? It certainly isn’t going to help the masses in China.

2. Steve Boriss - 7/1/07

Peter, Maybe that will be an issue, and that would concern me. But, it’s hard to argue that Murdoch would be any worse than anyone else. Google sold out to China and is helping them suppress speech. The NY Times still has not disavowed Walter Duranty and his Pulitzer Prize-winning reports that denied the Stalin-created famine that killed millions of Ukranians. CNN’s Eason Jordan admitted that they suppressed atrocities in the Saddam Hussein regime to keep their Baghdad bureau open. All of which underscores something I bring up from time-to-time on this blog. Where are the ethical codes in journalism, particularly those that take a biased position on the side of individual rights?

3. Peter Ralph - 7/1/07

I think this is beyond ethics in journalism Steve. I believe this sale will place the WSJ under the influence of the Chinese government.

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