Sorry, Net Neutrality Simply Was Not An Important Issue In This Year's Election

from the making-nothing-out-of-nothing dept

This one is just amusing. Scott Cleland, who works for the big broadband companies as a professional propagandist, and has a long history of making absolutely ridiculous claims in order to support their positions, apparently got a bit of traction from the non-thinking press, after he started pushing the message that all of the Democrats who signed a "pledge" to support network neutrality from the group the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) lost in the recent election. So, suddenly, it sounds like a referendum on net neutrality with the people saying they're against it. Verizon was so excited about this that it even Tweeted about it and various folks in the press parroted the claim without really looking into the details. Even CNN wrote an article about it, suggesting this was the "final nail in the coffin for net neutrality."

While I doubt any net neutrality legislation is going to get passed anyway (and, that's a good thing, because after the telcos got done with it, it wouldn't be what you wanted anyway), to suggest in any way that this election was a referendum on net neutrality is pure folly. What the "press" left out is that the PCCC's net neutrality pledge was hardly the only such thing out there. Also, the PCCC pledges were not from existing Representatives, but those trying to get elected to Congress against incumbents -- and nearly every one came from historically Republican districts. In other words, nearly every one of those Democrats who "lost," were guaranteed to lose no matter what. On top of that, Broadband Reports took a look at a couple of other "net neutrality" pledges by folks actually in Congress, and noted that a bunch of Democratic Representatives who signed an anti-Net Neutrality pledge still lost their races, and of those who signed on to a pro-net neutrality list, not a single Democrat on that list lost their re-election bid. So, uh, it sorta suggests that a politician's stance on net neutrality had nothing to do with this election, and if you want to make up fake headlines that don't really mean anything, why would the press not mention any of the relevant facts, and simply parrot the fake story by a guy paid for propaganda?
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Filed Under: election, hype, journalism, net neutrality, reporting, scott cleland

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  1. identicon
    Fosters Lager, 5 Nov 2010 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: long history of making absolutely ridiculous claims--- who does ?? You Mike :)

    They did indeed, but before we get to that... Familiar with the word "schadenfreude"?

    I'm sure you probably are because as a journalist/blogger you employ it all the time -- it's an age old journalism technique literally translated as "taking pleasure in the misfortune of others." It can either be mean-spirited, or teasing in tone -- as Cleland was. It also makes great copy. None of the probably half dozen people inside the beltway who follow the ins and outs of net neutrality really believed that net neutrality was an election issue, but it was sure fun for journos to engage in a little post-election schadenfreude.

    Now, to your question... Here's the headlines (unquestioning)and some pull quotes (unquestioning) from stories (unquestioning) about PCCC's ridiculous pledge:

    The Hill: "95 Democratic candidates back net neutrality as 'First Amendment of the Internet'"
    "...PCCC senior online campaigns director Jason Rosenbaum said the pledge is the first time congressional candidates have ever joined together to make net neutrality an election issue. He predicted the announcement would help generate enthusiasm for net-neutrality legislation in the next Congress."

    PC Mag: "Democratic Candidates Make Net Neutrality a Campaign Issue"
    "...This is the first time ever that congressional candidates have joined together to make net neutrality an election issue," Jason Rosenbaum, the senior online campaigns director at PCCC, said in a statement."

    Broadcasting & Cable: "PAC Says 95 Candidates Signed Net Neutrality Pledge; Pledge marks first time congressional candidates team up to make net neutrality campaign issue"
    "...In a statement, the PAC's senior online campaign director, Jason Rosenbaum, said it was the first time that congressional candidates had teamed up to make net neutrality a campaign issue."

    National Journal: "First Look: 95 Dem Candidates Adopt Net Neutrality Pledge"
    "In an effort to make net neutrality a campaign issue and fight against corporate control of the Internet, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee announced 95 Democratic candidates Thursday that pledge to protect the openness of the Internet."

    There's many more, but I won't bore you. And lest you think bloggers were more questioning... They weren't. In fact, plenty of bloggers actually bought PCCC's bullshit more than traditional journos, citing the PCCC pledge as a winning campaign issue.

    You see Mike, journos were simply reporting about the PCCC pledge in which 95 candidates supported net neutrality as a "campaign issue." Cleland simply pointed out that the 95 candidates who supported net neutrality as a "campaign issue"... LOST!

    That's great copy. It's delightfully funny and a great followup to an asinine campaign pledge that got lots of coverage.

    So... Yes, reporters accepted the premise of PCCC unquestionably, and yes, they accepted Cleland's (tongue in cheek) blog post unquestionably -- they simply reported on the claims of both.

    You're welcome to do the analysis after the fact, but when doing so, don't neglect that it wasn't Cleland who made this an issue. It was the dolts at PCCC.

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