The FCC Spent Last Week Trying To Make Net Neutrality Supporters Seem Unreasonable, Racist & Unhinged

from the ignoring-the-will-of-the-people dept

Last week, we noted how the FCC was inundated with a flood of pro-net neutrality comments after HBO's John Oliver ran another segment on the subject. The FCC will vote to begin dismantling the rules on May 18, so Oliver even went so far as to craft a special URL (www.gofccyourself.com) to make commenting on the FCC proceeding easier. Unsurprisingly, the surge in annoyed consumers wound up temporarily crippling the FCC's website. And when you look at some of the early analysis of the data, it's not particularly hard to see why:

Now if you're a giant telecom mono/duopoly, or any of the thousands of sockpuppets they pay to misleadingly portray net neutrality as an unyielding assault on "freedom," this flood of pro-net neutrality sentiment is obviously a PR problem.

As a result, net neutrality opponents quickly got to work trying to counter the "John Oliver effect" with alternative facts. One, the FCC tried to claim the FCC website didn't choke from a flood of pro-net neutrality supporters, but was the victim of a DDoS attack that just happened to occur at exactly the same time Oliver's segment was airing (a claim security researchers say isn't supported and for which the FCC has yet to offer a shred of evidence).

Another, as-yet-unidentified player began using a bot and a (likely) hacked database of names to flood the agency's website with fake comments against net neutrality. One analysis of the comments filed so far found that 40% of the 1.5 million comments made so far were created by this busy little bot.

But the FCC itself also began engaging in a rather obvious and ham-fisted attempt to make net neutrality supporters seem racist, unstable and unreasonable. By Wednesday, as the "net neutrality support was so massive it broke the FCC's website (again)" narrative was peaking in the press, FCC staffer Matthew Berry began linking on Twitter to news outlets claiming that net neutrality supporters were filling the FCC coffers with racist attacks:

Berry subsequently highlighted a statement made by the Internet Association (a pro-net neutrality group backed by the likes of Reddit and Netflix) criticizing any racist behavior by commenters:

The news reports being pushed by the FCC (like this one over at the Daily Caller) cling to several misleading narratives. One, that the people watching John Oliver's program were somehow not airing legitimate complaints with Pai's plan to gut all oversight of giant broadband monopolies. Two, that most of these people were hateful, racist, or otherwise horrible people that shouldn't be taken seriously. And three, that the pro side was using misleading "bots" to generate fake support from fake people (despite the fact that only the anti side appears to have used this tactic so far, a story the FCC also appeared eager to bury).

Take this excerpt from the Free Beacon "story" Berry links to:

"John Oliver's "grassroots" activism against Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai is full of bot accounts, fake comments, and death threats against the chairman...an analysis of comments to Pai's Restoring Internet Freedom filing, which Oliver has dubbed "Go FCC yourself," shows thousands of comments using fake names and bots posing as "Jesus Christ," "Michael Jackson," "Homer Simpson," and "Melania Trump."...Over 500 were submitted using Chairman Pai's name, as well as 189 from "Donald Trump" and 8 from "Obama." Eleven submissions used some version of the word "f–k."

If you think about it, the fact that Pai is trying to dismantle consumer protections for one of the most despised industries in America and only eleven people said fuck is actually pretty impressive. Also, for future reference, you don't magically delegitimize people with legitimate complaints just by putting words like activist or grassroots in quotes.

That said, if you dig through the now 1.5 million comments so far, you'll find that the vast, vast majority of the comments from both sides of the debate are entirely civil. Yes, there are the occasional comments from jackasses and racists, but by and large the feedback the FCC is getting sticks to the issues. And again, analysis of the comments so far has found that most of the original comments (comments made not using form letter systems embraced by both sides) are coming from consumers that actively support net neutrality protections.

How hard FCC staffers like Berry pushed these outlets to carry this narrative isn't clear. But Berry and the FCC's attempt to counter the Oliver effect also involved highlighting a story run by the Independent Journal Review featuring FCC boss Ajit Pai reading some of the mean comments he's been receiving on Twitter:

For whatever reason the original story pulled the video, which is embedded below for your enjoyment:

Now these kinds of segments aren't really new. Countless politicians (including Obama) and celebrities have done similar schticks, where they field unhinged comments from often juvenile and blindly hostile Twitter users. That Pai (who obviously has post-FCC political aspirations) did a similar video isn't a problem in and of itself.

The problem in this particular instance is that outside of some vagaries, the Independent Journal Review doesn't explain why people might be legitimately angry with Pai. After all, this is the guy that's not only killing net neutrality, but recently helped protect prison monopolies, began axing a program that brings broadband to the poor, killed an attempt to bring competition to the cable box, helped axe consumer broadband privacy protections, and is working to eliminate anything even vaguely resembling oversight of growing monopolies like Comcast. All while insisting he's an unwavering champion of the poor.

Pai is disliked right now for entirely legitimate reasons. Yet the mean tweets segment tries very hard to make gutting consumer protections seem "folksy," and the corresponding backlash seem unreasonable. When a few reporters pointed out Pai's mean tweets segment was a bit tone deaf to the legitimacy of the public complaints, Pai advisor Nathan Leamer was quick to insist that critics simply couldn't take a joke:

Again though, the problem isn't Pai reading mean Tweets. The problem is that the segment doesn't explain why Pai is incredibly unpopular with consumers and the internet in the first place. The problem is also that this segment was obviously part of a larger, overarching attempt to make people with very legitimate grievances seem wholly unhinged and unreasonable. Oliver even went so far as to highlight how cable news channels were pushing the narrative as well, in an expanded bit the show did solely for online viewers (skip to the 3 minute mark if you don't want to watch the whole thing):

As an additional layer of irony, this PR effort was occurring during the FCC's "sunshine" period, an arguably stupid bit of long-standing policy bureaucracy during which the FCC is supposed to pause and "reflect" the will of the public and the facts on the ground.

And the facts on the ground say net neutrality rules protecting consumers from growing monopolies like Comcast have broad, bipartisan public support. It's also a fact that despite his claim of a "deliberate consideration" of all the facts, Ajit Pai has every intention of completely ignoring public will when the agency votes to begin rolling back the rules this Thursday -- after his agency gets done smearing the consumers he's supposed to be protecting as the very worst sort of villains, of course.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 9:34am

    Making political opponents seem unreasonable, racist & unhinged is the playbook of our times.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 9:40am

      Re:

      Use to work for the left but it has lost its effectiveness now. So they are resorting to riots and violence against their opponents.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 10:34am

        Re: Re:

        Sorry, I afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave. You'r strawman fell apart and made a mess everywhere.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Roger Strong (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 10:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Give him some credit; at least he's employed. Breitbart could have chosen to repost their claims here by training chickens to peck Copy & Paste buttons.

          Then again, the chickens were already busy flooding the FCC site.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 12:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You realize the it isn't true that lemmings all jump off a cliff into the sea, right? You are not obliged to follow the facists who claim to be anti-facist. You can think for your self. Fly, be free. (Not actually fly. That was a metaphor.) Try again. You can think for yourself. Try it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 10:58am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Even sadder is the news shows the left's violence weekly and almost nightly now. Sadder still is you know this is true but cling to your failed ideology. Even rats know to abandon a sinking ship. Doesn't say much for your intelligence does it?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 11:08am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I thought you were asked to pick up your straw already.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 11:59am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              its difficult to pick up ones own straw when so much of your own is mixed in with it...

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 16 May 2017 @ 1:32am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                If that's problematic for you, maybe you could try a different construction material to build your own target with. Might I suggest... facts?

                I note that you don't deny erecting a pathetic strawman, only complain that someone else is utilising the same dishonest tactic (who exactly that is remains a mystery).

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2017 @ 3:19pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No strawman, just reality. Just turn on the news and you will see the leftists, fascists Dems tearing down cities and attacking conservative speakers for daring to have different ideas.

          But keep up the denial, and we will keep winning.

          http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2015/jan/25/cokie-roberts/have-democrats-los t-900-seats-state-legislatures-o/

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 15 May 2017 @ 9:42am

      Re:

      That's been a big part of the political playbook since the beginning.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 9:50am

      Re:

      Many lap it up and regurgitate it without a second thought.

      "The news reports being pushed... cling to several misleading narratives. One, that the people ... were somehow not airing legitimate complaints... Two, that most of these people were hateful, racist, or otherwise horrible people..."

      This statement could be said about a few pet causes/issues/topics on this site, the hate for anything dealing with the police is one that comes to mind immediately.

      It's funny how people can correctly argue a case in one instance, but fail to see it when the shoe is on the other foot. Hypocrisy abounds.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Cdaragorn (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 11:23am

        Re: Re:

        So you're ok with the police murdering, raping and stealing from innocent people without consequence?

        I'm sorry, but since you didn't provide any concrete examples I went with all you did provide, and that's all I found. I can only work with the facts you choose to provide.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 1:06pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The point you seem to be ignoring, maybe because it's easier than thinking for yourself, is that you are painting with a rather large brush.

          You ask "So you're ok with the police murdering, raping and stealing from innocent people without consequence?" like you've made some salient point or snarky retort.

          I say you are part of the problem. Based on your question I can assume that ALL cops murder, steal, and rape.

          I may be wrong, but I think there used to be a name for that kind of thinking... Bigot comes to mind, but hey what do I know, right?

          I'm sorry, but since you didn't provide any concrete examples I went with all you did provide, and that's all I found. I can only work with the facts you choose to provide.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Cdaragorn (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 3:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You have yet to provide a single example of hypocrisy anywhere on this site.

            Keep trying to discredit me for your failures, though. It only proves my point further.

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            • icon
              legalcon (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 11:06pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Is this a fucking joke? Hyperventilating about government intrusion into all kinds of areas and then not just welcoming it with openest of arms, but accusing others of being stooges for having the audacity to suggest that the internet should be free?

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Seegras (profile), 16 May 2017 @ 2:42am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Freedom is not the freedom of everyone to purchase his own monopoly.

                But your "internet should be free" obviously means exactly that, so yes, we accuse you being a stooge for supporting the "freedom to exploit everyone else"

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                • icon
                  legalcon (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 12:03am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  "Freedom is not freedom...."

                  Do you not see the problem there? I get you have a point about why you think regulation is good. i get it, you get off on regulation, that's swell, but that does not change the meaning of the word freedom. really i feel like even you can comprehend that.

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                  • icon
                    The Wanderer (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 4:18am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Let's try something slightly different, then, to explain what's being said.

                    There's a famous saying, in many forms, one of which is: "Your freedom to swing your fist ends at my nose."

                    Or to put it another way, "My freedom does not include the freedom to punch you in the face."

                    In almost exactly the same way, "My freedom does not include the freedom to obtain a monopoly over something that you need."

                    This is not the same as "freedom is not freedom".

                    More generically:

                    • If I were free to do X, you and many other people would be less free.
                    • The loss of freedom to me from not being permitted to do X is outweighed by the loss of freedom to you (and many other people) from me being permitted to do so.
                    • Therefore, if I were free to do X, the world would be less free than if I am not.

                    This reasoning holds for many values of X, including acts of violence, and also including monopolistic behavior.

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    • identicon
      Unanimous Cow Herd, 15 May 2017 @ 10:49am

      Re:

      "Making political opponents seem unreasonable, racist & unhinged is the playbook of our times."

      If you're some kind of degenerate SJW or a corporate democrat, sure. They only felt like they could pull the racist card because he's not 100% white.

      What's next? Terrorism is just a "fact of life"?

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      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 10:55am

        Re: Re:

        What's next? Terrorism is just a "fact of life"?

        According to the government, not only is it a fact of life, but a required fact of life as they promote more laws and rules that absolutely terrorize the populace.

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        • identicon
          Christenson, 15 May 2017 @ 5:02pm

          Re: Re: Re: Facts of Life

          I have some news for you:
          Terrorism *is* a (sad) fact of life. A few Christians go nuts every year (sandy hook, columbine, etc) and kill some (maybe 100) people every year.

          Meanwhile:
          30,000+ die anually on our roads, another
          30,000+ die of drug overdoses....
          10,000 are shot by other people, (perhaps 700 by cops, 150 or so are cops themselves)
          20,000 kill themselves with firearms.

          Now, tell me, which fact of life might be most important to address more constructively?

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 16 May 2017 @ 1:39am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Facts of Life

            Constructive reactions to address every one of those issues is worthwhile. However, from my observations of the US:

            Terrorism - we must restrict freedoms to keep us safe because of the scary people (only Muslims, the Christian and other terrorists are always mentally ill, "lone wolves", etc. and never representative of any group).

            Gun deaths - we don't care how many people die, you can't take away my freedoms!

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2017 @ 8:20am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Facts of Life

              > Gun deaths - we don't care how many people die, you can't take away my freedoms!

              And / Or - It's always the inanimate weapon's fault, and not the fault of the person using it. Ban the inanimate object! Pay no mind to mental health of the person who decided that killing 30 random people was an acceptable outlet for their grievances. That will fix our societal problems!

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 2:52am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Facts of Life

                There's certain inanimate objects that people can do more damage with if they so wish, with relatively little real reason to have for means other than threatening or actioning murder. Most things can be used as a weapon, but the damage tends to be less severe with other items. Same reason most sane people don't think people should be able to open carry grenades or stockpile sarin gas.

                "Pay no mind to mental health of the person who decided that killing 30 random people was an acceptable outlet for their grievances"

                False dichotomies are idiotic, but they do seem to be the way that people obsessed with certain toys go to. I don't know of anyone saying that mental health should be ignored (except, perhaps, when it's suggested that people should not own a gun if they are found to be unstable - that one really annoys people who think they shouldn't have to prove their sanity before owning another toy).

                I do, however, know of plenty of people who think that mental healthcare really needs to be improved in the US, while simultaneously believing that easily giving people with those kinds of issues a device that allows them to easily kill lots of people is a bad idea.

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                • icon
                  The Wanderer (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 4:27am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Facts of Life

                  I don't know of anyone saying that mental health should be ignored (except, perhaps, when it's suggested that people should not own a gun if they are found to be unstable - that one really annoys people who think they shouldn't have to prove their sanity before owning another toy).

                  Well, to be fair, there's justifiable logic behind that one.

                  The problem with having to prove your sanity in order to own a gun (aside from any difficulties with "proving a negative", in the form of "not insane") is that it establishes a gatekeeper - and one based on a fuzzy, non-obvious criterion, which could and can be determined arbitrarily by whoever has been given the power to decide.

                  Once that's been done, eventually there will be cases where someone is declared "not sufficiently sane", specifically so as to deny that person the right to own a gun, not on any legitimate basis but simply because the people in the right positions don't like that person. And once you've been labeled as mentally unstable, it's difficult to persuasively argue against it, without the help of someone who has not been so labeled.

                  The sane and principled people arguing against a sanity requirement for gun ownership are, or at least IMO should be, doing so as an outgrowth of that logic - however subconsciously understood it may be. (Which is not to say that there are not people arguing against it for other reasons! There are certainly (metaphorical!) crazies in the gun-rights/gun-control debate, without question.)

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 16 May 2017 @ 1:36am

        Re: Re:

        "Terrorism is just a "fact of life"?"

        It is, especially in major cities. Has been for a long time, actually, in a lot of the world. We just got on with life, though. It's only since the US pissed its pants over one particular attack that certain groups of terrorists noticed how effective it was if targeted properly. People do seem to go out of their way to pretend that only one group is committing such acts, interestingly, but it's neither new nor a risk of living in a major city that's worth changing your entire life over.

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    • icon
      Espryon (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 2:54am

      Re:

      Amazing how they're labeling supporters of Net Neutrality as racist and/or unhinged. I know exactly 1 conservative who supports Net Neutrality.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 9:54am

    Wait, someone's making false accusations of racism to distract from inconvenient facts? Say it ain't so!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 8:21pm

      Re:

      They just can't stand the thought of a brown-skinned Indian i̶n̶v̶e̶n̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶E̶m̶a̶i̶l̶ running the FCC.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 16 May 2017 @ 5:51am

        Re: Re:

        I don't care if he's a green-skinned Martian, he needs to do his job in the interests of his *actual* employers — the American people.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2017 @ 12:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Just curious, did the strikethrough text in my comment load for you, or did I do it wrong?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 16 May 2017 @ 2:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Don't know about Wendy but for me at least I see 'Indian [nearly unreadable pile of text that might be 'Inventing'] Email' with the last word having a line through it.

            Didn't get it the first time around as I figured it was a goof in formatting, but reading it again and what I'm guessing you meant to write gets you a Funny vote for that one.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2017 @ 3:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Thanks. So it seems that whatever the text-changer utility I found gave to me isn't compatible everywhere. Unfortunately, I don't see a strikethrough option for Markdown, so I can't re-create my comment in a format more likely to work and still have the effect.

              But your guess was correct, it was intended to be funny, not so much serious.

              Here's my original again; just pretend that the hyphens extend through the words:

              "They just can't stand the thought of a brown-skinned Indian --inventing--email-- running the FCC."

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Wendy Cockcroft, 17 May 2017 @ 2:25am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I see the strikethru. Perhaps the formatting appears differently on different browsers. I'm guessing, I don't know much about these things. Voted funny, BTW. It made me chuckle.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 9:57am

    "Do you even humor bro???"

    Perhaps this is the root of the problem, they think he's funny. Their world view is so skewed that they think handing citizens over to be ripped off is a loving caring act.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 5:22pm

      Re:

      To them, it is a loving caring act. As free marketeers, they see this as freeing the citizens also to rip off others: a fabulous free market for everyone.

      They are utterly oblivious to market monopoly power, and how a completely unrestricted market magnifies the power of the haves and disenfranchises the have-nots.

      They live in an Ayn Rand wet-dream-world.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 9:58am

    "Supporters Seem Unreasonable, Racist & Unhinged"

    this is where Mark Hamil's compendium of Joker Laughs goes.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rU1PnL99SaU

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 5:14pm

      Re:

      But that's not the worst part. The accusation changes the argument. The argument is no longer if net neutrality is good or not. Now the argument is whether or not the supporters are "Unreasonable, Racist & Unhinged".

      It's a standard derailment strategy used when supporters of an unpopular position, don't wish to argue that position.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    jgoi, 15 May 2017 @ 10:18am

    Goddamn. Instead of just ignoring our comments and destroying net neutrality the bastard and his supporters are making an effort to paint us as monsters when it is his brown ass that works for a man who dislikes anyone who isn't white.

    This confirms to me there will be censorship on the scale of china's great firewall. Why else would they go this far to attack us?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 10:22am

    Again though, the problem isn't Pai reading mean Tweets. The problem is that the segment doesn't explain why Pai is incredibly unpopular with consumers and the internet in the first place.

    I'm assuming that a Bernie Madoff mean tweets video is forthcoming.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 10:28am

    Can he please just backfire spectacularly enough to be replaced? He's going to have to lie pretty damn well to pull of calling literally everyone except a himself, the ISPs, and a bot a fake.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 2:01pm

      Re:

      It is politics, my man! When it comes down to it every trick is fair game. Lying, cheating and making journalists the villain for daring to pose difficult questions.

      All that matters is that the chambers of congress gets the message from you stuck in their mind when they read a report that otherwise would seem like an utter humiliation of your opinion.

      Btw. I love the bit about the campaign being "astroturf" and using too fowl language. Generally astroturfing is a faked popular movement created by sponsoring people to articulate an opinion that catches on so as to create an easily spread simple and one-sided narrative. Racism, infantility and other bad behaviour is the worst way to do that and specifically not a sign of a prepackaged opinion. Oh, the irony of spaghetti critique. While some of it will stick to the wall, it is often quite visible what has happened by the mess on the ground...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Jeremy2020 (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 2:49pm

        Re: Re:

        It's not "Politics". It's corruption (I know the two are synonymous with each other, but they are actually different things. We don't *have* to have corruption in our politics).

        It's not a "left" or "right" issue. No one wants net neutrality dismantled except for a few corporations and people who stand to make a lot of money from it being dismantled.

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        • icon
          legalcon (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 11:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          My generation is so coddled and weak that they cannot deign to acknowledge that someone might disagree with momma's precious darling, so instead it's also "a few corporations" and the money-grabbers in opposition. Question: do these people have a top hat, monocle, and Italian stash and are they clutching bags imprinted with"$" too?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Moonkey, 16 May 2017 @ 3:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Anyone in opposition of Net Neutrality, and the regulation of ISPs, is either begging to be taken advantage of if they think the world is so fruity and clean that nobody would harm them, or they would directly benefit from this, namely in potential monetary gains.

            Consumer protections didn't come about on a whim. There is a clear issue trying to be clouded by corrupt or misled people.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              legalcon (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 12:10am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              You are so awesome dude. My point is that idiots like you are so mentally fragile, that you cannot even conceive of a rebuttal, because that would implicitly admit that there is another side to the issue. In response, your point is essentially "how can there possibly be another side to this issue?" Bravo sir, bravo.

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  • icon
    Blaine (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 11:19am

    I don't get it

    Why does Reese's sponsor this guy? I don't see why the company who makes one of the best things I've ever eaten would be against net neutrality.

    Everytime his silly face hits my screen there's a giant banner for Reese's.

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  • identicon
    Blake McDonald, 15 May 2017 @ 11:30am

    What monopolies?

    I have a legitimate question. What does Net Neutrality have to do with the cable monopolies? Those are driven by local governments and deals between cable companies, none of this will change. It seems to be the case that Title II creates more monopolies by making it harder for new ISPs to compete with established ISPs who already have the market locked down. Since they all must offer the exact same service under Net Neutrality where is the competition besides speed/price? Legacy ISPs have already invested in infrastructure long before Net Neutrality so their monopolies are well established. New ISPs will not have this luxury and must develop their infrastructure under far more strict rules.

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    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 11:42am

      Re: What monopolies?

      "What does Net Neutrality have to do with the cable monopolies?"

      Cable's growing monopoly over the last mile means less competition. Less competition means more attempts to creatively abuse this lack of competition, which is what net neutrality infractions are.

      "Those are driven by local governments and deals between cable companies, none of this will change."

      Most local franchises are now state level franchises. And blindly deregulating a captive, uncompetitive market doesn't magically fix any of this. Sensible, reasonable government policies to improve competition do. But because the local, state, and federal government is blindly loyal to campaign contributions to a grotesque degree, you're right in the fact that change doesn't happen until other problems are fixed.

      "It seems to be the case that Title II creates more monopolies by making it harder for new ISPs to compete with established ISPs who already have the market locked down."

      Says who? I've written about this industry for 20 years and see nothing to support that.

      "Since they all must offer the exact same service under Net Neutrality where is the competition besides speed/price?"

      Who says they have to offer the exact same service? This also isn't supported. There's a million ways to compete when the playing field is even.

      "New ISPs will not have this luxury and must develop their infrastructure under far more strict rules."

      The rules don't restrict upstart ISPs in the slightest. And as we note about three times a week, the idea that Title II stifled investment is an unsupported canard. That's a load of nonsense being pushed by telecom sector folks that want zero accountability as they abuse captive markets.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Blake McDonald, 15 May 2017 @ 3:55pm

        Re: Re: What monopolies?

        "Cable's growing monopoly over the last mile means less competition. Less competition means more attempts to creatively abuse this lack of competition, which is what net neutrality infractions are."

        This is exactly my point, it's treating the symptoms of the monopoly but they still have a monopoly. The local governments still have special deals with the legacy ISPs and those will not change. Their powerful market position and connections in the FCC and with those in government writing the regulations will not change.

        "Says who? I've written about this industry for 20 years and see nothing to support that. "

        I can think of many examples. If a new ISP wants to offer some service to use AI to prioritize legitimate traffic over spam. If an ISP wants to frontload your web content for faster browsing on slow connections. Offering free or discount services is also perfectly legitimate and has happened in all sectors of tech for decades. Regulatory capture is real. If a law will hurt ISPs they have the connections to make sure it will hurt smaller ISPs that aren't as well connected or lack the funds to comply even more. It happens with nearly every regulation so how is Net Neutrality somehow the exception?

        "The rules don't restrict upstart ISPs in the slightest."

        You telling me upstart ISPs aren't bound by Net Neutrality rules? I've never seen such an exception for smaller or newer ISPs.

        "And as we note about three times a week, the idea that Title II stifled investment is an unsupported canard."

        Nice strawman, this was never part of my argument. I was talking about Net Neutrality and our current IPS monopolies and how it does nothing to address that very real issue.

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        • icon
          techflaws (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 10:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: What monopolies?

          So your strawman

          "Since they all must offer the exact same service under Net Neutrality where is the competition besides speed/price?"

          was any better? Really?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2017 @ 2:08am

          Re: Re: Re: What monopolies?

          I am not sure those competition parameters you mention are really something you want an ISP to address. Faulty designations of spam, regulating speed goes both ways, bundling of different services is a way to avoid heads on competition. Plus, the ISP would get a new position in terms of the definition of "customers" as well as these actions could be culpable in court (which would be another can of worms entirely).

          Those are not close to ideal parameters for a market and makes an already rather opaque market (caps, 0-rating, existing bundling etc.) even harder for customers to navigate.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ryunosuke (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 11:47am

      Re: What monopolies?

      its the same issue that we had (and is a direct result of) the former Bell Telephone Company. Instead of breaking them up and forcing them to compete with one another, we just kinda broke them up, so then they did NOT compete with one another, and evolved from long distance carriers and telephone services to internet provider services. And now that they are also acquiring broadcast services, they are in a position to force a certain narrative based on company policy. That is why you hardly EVER see anything from the major networks on the subject of net neutrality, except for HBO as a notable exception (but that isn't a major network is it?).


      as for the monopoly part of it, look at AT&T, they have literally taken BILLIONS of USD for the purpose of expanding their network into low-income areas... only to ... well... take the money and run with it, not doing what they promised, and then when someone wants a better service than what AT&T provides and/or at a more reasonable pricing, AT&T said "nope, you have to pay US ludicrous amounts of money for substandard services."

      you will also note, that AT&T/Comcast/Etc. have ONLY developed better services when competition have arrived in those locations, and yet, only in a "select few testing areas" and not say, the entire city of Chattanooga.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 1:18pm

      Re: What monopolies?

      >I have a legitimate question. What does Net Neutrality have to do with the cable monopolies?

      Because the provide cable and Internet access, their is a conflict of interest between providing a neutral Internet access and protecting their cable TV business. Have you not noticed that net neutrality became an issue when cord cutting started to become a noticeable phenomenon. The cable companies wish to manipulate data caps,, charging structures aso as to protect their cable TV business..

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 1:43pm

      Re: What monopolies?

      What does Net Neutrality have to do with the cable monopolies?

      In a large swath of this country, one of the few major cable companies in the United States is the only provider of Internet access. That gives the company a much broader amount of leverage over just who it can serve (and how much it can charge for service) when compared to an area with multiple available ISPs competing against one another.

      Moreover, the cable companies know that their biggest moneymaker—cable television service—is facing eventual extinction at the hands of Internet video. By controlling Internet access, preferably without oversight in regards to Net Neutrality, those companies have the ability to “push” consumers toward Internet video options owned by or friendly towards those companies. If I could access Hulu in a flash but would need to wait several minutes for Netflix or YouTube access, why would I use anything but Hulu?

      What makes this worse: If the market is captive and no competition exists, the companies will see no reason to expand or develop new infrastructure. Why would they need to spend any extra money capturing what they already have with improved service and faster speeds?

      Cable companies know that they have the power in this situation. Any breakage of their monopolies in the places where they exist would result in a loss of that power. The companies can and will do anything to keep it—even if it means making their opponents look like unhinged racist fuckheads when those people are nothing of the sort.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 2:42pm

    Stay classy FCC, stay classy

    As an additional layer of irony, this PR effort was occurring during the FCC's "sunshine" period, an arguably stupid bit of long-standing policy bureaucracy during which the FCC is supposed to pause and "reflect" the will of the public and the facts on the ground.

    "We're going to take advantage of this break, which is theoretically in place for us to consider what the public wants and has the happy side-effect of keeping the public from sending us comments in order to highlight how stupid we think the portion of the public that disagrees with what we already plan to do is."

    Yeah, they're not even pretending that they give a damn about what the public wants.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    My_Name_Here, 15 May 2017 @ 7:22pm

    I need a womb grafted in me so I can have Ajit Pai's babies. Mmmm.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 May 2017 @ 7:30pm

    Zero "Fucks" Given

    My comment, original and offered exactly one time, was...

    Net neutrality is vitally important to the well-being of the Internet as a medium of information exchange and NOT what your office has recently misrepresented it to be. The very title, "Restoring Internet Freedom," is highly disingenuous, since the intent of the proposed action is the very opposite of freedom. Mr. Pai is either receiving exceedingly poor counsel on the issue of net neutrality, or he has personally elected intentionally to disregard the interests of the overwhelming majority of private citizens of the United States. Continue with this current course, and the Trump administration and Mr. Pai will pay a heavy price for that misbehavior in the currency of increased disregard, distrust, and scorn by the American public.

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    • icon
      legalcon (profile), 15 May 2017 @ 11:15pm

      Re: Zero "Fucks" Given

      Sir, you seem well-meaning, but you have no goddamn clue what the word freedom means. You can support or oppose a regulation on policy grounds, but you cannot simultaneously support coercion and freedom. Please read any book ever written on the social contract, theories of liberty, or political rights.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2017 @ 3:40am

        Re: Re: Zero "Fucks" Given

        "...you cannot simultaneously support coercion and freedom."

        Wow! The falsity of that premise combined with the vacant appeal to "higher authorities" suggest a very narrow exposure to the real world of human interactions at all levels of abstraction. A simple observation that discounts the premise follows from the fact that our form of government guarantees our freedoms by coercing our compliance with the law under threat of punishment.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          legalcon (profile), 17 May 2017 @ 12:06am

          Re: Re: Re: Zero "Fucks" Given

          I am going to say this in a manner that conveys the seriousness of the issue: bro, you are fucking KILLING me. "Freedom from" = a positive right. "Freedom to" = a negative right.

          You can Google these basics terms. Is that an appeal to an authority, basic fucking English?

          Again, in all seriousness, you are the worst.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2017 @ 12:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Zero "Fucks" Given

            If I could ask a favor, my well spoken friend: There are two "camps" on this web site, the foul mouthed low-character disgusting gang member camp, and everyone else. You appear to be in the "everyone else" category, as well as the "really smart" category. Could I invite you (not coerce you) to avoid profanity as you express your opinions? Though they are already very interesting, and I agree with them wholeheartedly, I believe they would be even more effective without the profanity.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jay, 15 May 2017 @ 8:34pm

    THANK YOU

    I have been posting this 'mean tweets' video all over the place pointing out that the motivation behind it was to make NN supporters look racist and imbecilic, and that he specifically cherry-picked racist or misspelled tweets in order to do it, without giving credence to any actual, legitimate concerns. It's not a public official's place to ridicule angry commentators who are specifically pissed off because the official is a shill for an industry that just wants to screw people, and is obviously planning to vote for ISP's interests over the American Citizen, who he is supposed to serve. I'm glad someone with some traction is pointing this out!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 May 2017 @ 10:50am

    Can I just say that I love that this site labels anyone just posting randomly as Anonymous Coward? That's absolutely great! Because it's mostly true!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 May 2017 @ 2:25pm

    After Gamergate, "BernieBros", did they come up with a dismissive name for net neutrality commenters yet? OliverBots or something?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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