Hands Off The Truth; Why It's Hard To Take Hands Off The Internet Seriously
from the let's-try-this-again dept
While we’ve made it pretty clear that regulations calling for codifying net neutrality could be dangerous, we simply can’t support some of the groups fighting against these laws. There are a bunch of groups, all funded by the telcos, of course, who have taken intellectual dishonesty to new lows. We think there are many good, legitimate reasons to be worried about putting network neutrality into law (looking at the way our representatives put other technology issues into law should give you an idea why) — but the fact that these groups feel the need to exaggerate their claims to ridiculous outright lies is worrisome. Rather than being convincing, it actually makes us more skeptical of their position. It’s as if they think everyone out there is stupid. The absolute worst of the bunch has to be “Hands Off the Internet,” a group run by Mike McCurry. Last year, we noted that he pretended that the whole reason for the network neutrality push was that $117 billion company Google wanted to make the internet more expensive. He conveniently left out that his group was funded by $117 billion company AT&T and had equally suspect motives. But, the real whopper was when he claimed that Google wanted net neutrality so they would “never have to pay a dime no matter how much bandwidth they use.” That, of course, is ridiculous. And to prove it, I asked Mike McCurry if he would pay Google’s bandwidth bill for a month. McCurry and Hands Off ignored the question.
However, they obviously have been paying attention to Techdirt — though, in the simpleminded world of shilldom, they seem to have believed that since we pointed out their dishonesty, we must be “pro-network neutrality legislation” and “anti-telecom.” Nothing is further from the truth. We do believe that network neutrality is good for the internet — but not that it should be put into law. We think that the whole debate is clouding the real issue, which is the lack of meaningful competition in the market. However, we’re very much “pro-telecom.” We just believe that being “pro-telecom” means helping those companies provide better services to customers. On the corporate side of our business, we work with a number of telecom companies to help them understand these trends and make better decisions, and they seem quite happy with the output. But, our business is not to “shill,” so if we see these telecom companies doing something stupid, we’ll say it. The same is true if we see folks in favor of network neutrality legislation doing something we disagree with. That’s why we recently wrote about why we disagreed with the calls for network neutrality in the wireless space. The claims were based on some faulty information and we pointed that out.
However, you wouldn’t know any of that if you were just reading the Hands Off The Internet blog. There, they put up a blog post celebrating the fact that even the “pro-NN, anti-telecom” bloggers at Techdirt had come around to realize that wireless network neutrality rules were a bad idea. In fact, they claimed we posted our thoughts “reluctantly.” Now, if you read Techdirt frequently, you should know we never post things reluctantly. We take our position because we believe in them, and we open up our comments and we discuss them with people, because we stand by our opinions. If we get something factually wrong, we’ll admit it and correct our mistakes. Apparently, Hands Off The Internet doesn’t feel the same way. They certainly don’t allow comments on their blog. I emailed them to point out their mistakes and to suggest they make a correction — but rather than do so, they put up a second post referring to our post, without bothering to correct their factually incorrect statements. While we might have some common ground with them — though our position isn’t as extreme as theirs — it really makes you wonder why they’re so disconnected from the truth. It doesn’t make anyone any more likely to support their side. It just makes us wonder how truthful even their seemingly legitimate points are. If they play so fast and loose with the facts on such obvious points, perhaps they can’t be trusted on anything else as well.