Ajit Pai Now Trying To Pretend That Everybody Supported Net Neutrality Repeal

from the allergic-to-the-truth dept

By now it's abundantly clear that the Trump FCC's repeal of net neutrality was based largely on fluff and nonsense. From easily disproved claims that net neutrality protections stifled broadband investment, to claims that the rules would embolden dictators in North Korea and Iran, truth was an early and frequent casualty of the FCC's blatant effort to pander to some of the least competitive, least-liked companies in America (oh hi Comcast, didn't see you standing there). In fact throughout the repeal, the FCC's media relations office frequently just directed reporters to telecom lobbyists should they have any pesky questions.

With the rules now passed and a court battle looming, FCC boss Ajit Pai has been making the rounds continuing his postmortem assault on stubborn facts. Like over at CNET, for example, where Ajit Pai informs readers in an editorial that he really adores a "free and open internet" despite having just killed rules supporting that very concept:

"I support a free and open internet. The internet should be an open platform where you are free to go where you want, and say and do what you want, without having to ask anyone's permission. And under the Federal Communications Commission's Restoring Internet Freedom Order, which takes effect Monday, the internet will be just such an open platform. Our framework will protect consumers and promote better, faster internet access and more competition."

'Course if you've paid attention, you know the FCC's remaining oversight framework does nothing of the sort, and is effectively little more than flimsy, voluntary commitments and pinky swears by ISPs that they promise to play nice with competitors. With limited competition, FCC regulatory oversight neutered, the FTC an ill-suited replacement, and ISPs threatening to sue states that try to stand up for consumers, there's not much left intact that can keep incumbent monopoly providers on their best behavior (barring the looming lawsuits and potential reversal of the rules).

Over in an interview with Marketplace, Pai again doubles down on repeated falsehoods, including a new claim that the repeal somehow had broad public support:

Marketplace....this is not a popular decision. Millions of people have written in opposition to it. Public opinion polling shows most Americans favor net neutrality, not your open internet rule. And I wonder why you're doing this then? If public opinion is against you, what are you doing?

Pai: First of all, public opinion is not against us. If you look at some of the polls —

Marketplace: No, it is, sir, come on.

Pai: If you look at some of the polling, if you dig down and see how these polls were constructed, it was clearly designed to reach a particular result. But even beyond that —

Marketplace: It's not just one, there are many surveys, sir.

Pai: The FCC’s job is not to put a finger in the wind and decide which way the winds are blowing, it's to look at the facts and make a sober judgment based on what the law is. And that is exactly what we've done here. Moreover, the long-term interest is in building better, faster, cheaper internet access. That is what consumers say when I travel around the country, and I’ve have spoken to consumers in Los Angeles to the reservation in South Dakota, places like Dahlonega, Georgia. That is what is on consumers’ minds. That is what this regulatory framework is going to deliver.

First Pai tries to claim that the public supported his repeal, then when pressed tries to claim that the polls that were conducted were somehow flawed. Neither is true. In fact, one recent survey out of the University of Maryland found that 82% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats opposed the FCC's obnoxiously-named "restoring internet freedom" repeal. And those numbers are higher than they were just a few years ago. That the public is overwhelmingly opposed to Pai's repeal is simply not debatable.

When discrediting the polls doesn't work, Pai then implies consumers aren't smart enough to realize that gutting oversight of indisputably terrible ISPs like Comcast will be secretly good for them. He then tries to insist that public opinion doesn't matter and that he's simply basing his policy decisions on cold, hard facts. Which, for a guy that claimed during the repeal that net neutrality aids fascist dictators, made up a DDOS attack, ignored countless widelesly respected internet experts and based his repeal entirely on debunked lobbyist data--is pretty amusing.

Whether Pai's repeated lies result in anything vaguely resembling accountability remains to be seen. But based on the volume of time Pai spends touring flyover country, it's pretty clear he's harboring some significant post-FCC political aspirations. Those ambitions are likely to run face first into very real voters (especially of the Millennial variety) harboring some very real annoyance at his gutting of a healthy and open internet.


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  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Richard Bennett, 19 Jun 2018 @ 6:27am

    Fuck you, McBodeface. Senators voted for net neutrality repeal. Yes, even the ones who claimed they didn't want their names. It's the ideas that matter! Anyone who disagrees is a pirate.

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

  2. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 6:32am

    Re:

    We have enough people parodying the usual trolls; your work is unnecessary, sir.

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 6:46am

    So if the old net neutrality rules were the only thing stopping major ISP investment in infrastructure, and the rules have been gone for a week, why have no ISPs announced any major investment in said infrastructure to prove the old laws were really holding them back?

    Oh right, because it's all BS.

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

  4. icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 6:46am

    Do us all a favor? Call any statements from Pai what they really are. Propaganda.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 7:21am

    Props to NPR for calling him out on his bullshit to his face. We need more of this type of behavior.

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

  6. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Richard Bennett, 19 Jun 2018 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re:

    Unnecessary? What's unnecessary is my need to log in. Bode is a fucking liar, logging in to tell him off is beneath me. Begone, disgusting pirate.

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

  7. icon
    stderric (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 7:31am

    Re:

    'Propaganda' really isn't the word I expected that comment to end with.

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

  8. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Please explain what Bode has lied about and how you know he lied. Be sure to cite your evidence so it can be verified.

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

  9. icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re:

    You were expecting: a wretched pile of steaming maggot infested yeti vomit? Ok, there you go bub, happy to be of service.

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

  10. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 7:59am

    My job is not to put a finger in the wind and decide which way the winds are blowing

    ...it's to put a finger on the scales until I get the result I want.

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

  11. icon
    Ninja (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 8:00am

    "If you look at some of the polling, if you dig down and see how these polls were constructed, it was clearly designed to reach a particular result."

    Yes, they were clearly designed to try to reflect reality, something you don't seem to like.

    I'd have laughed hard at his face then told him "I didn't know you were a comedian!" right after.

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

  12. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 8:02am

    The FCC’s job is not to put a finger in the wind and decide which way the winds are blowing, it's to look at the facts and make a sober judgment based on what the law is.

    Putting aside his lie about how his actions were guided by law, is this an admission he deliberately ignored the comments in violation of required procedure?

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

  13. icon
    PaulT (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 8:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You're either addressing someone who routinely lies and uses childish name-calling to get his point across, or someone who gets his kicks from pretending to be that person. Either way, evidence is not going to be forthcoming, especially as the "real" Mr. Bennett has so often been proven wrong by the facts.

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

  14. icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 8:15am

    Re:

    Yup.

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

  15. icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 8:32am

    Re:

    Don't you mean PAIPAGANDA?

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

  16. identicon
    Wilbert E. Clark III, 19 Jun 2018 @ 8:33am

    Re:

    You are trying our patience you impotent poodle.

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

  17. icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 8:40am

    Re:

    His finger? He put his whole damn arm on the scale, hugged it like a long-lost mistress and whispered in it's ear "your mine, bitch"

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

  18. icon
    JoeCool (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 8:42am

    The truth

    No matter what Pai and telecom say in interviews, the truth comes out when telecoms talk to customers, and what Charter-Spectrum keeps telling me (twice a week) is that I NEED to buy their streaming/TV service because the death of net neutrality is going to make existing services more expensive or completely unavailable. It is perhaps the only truth they've ever told their customers.

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

  19. identicon
    David, 19 Jun 2018 @ 8:42am

    Re:

    What a letdown. I was expecting a quite more flowery suggestion of where he was putting his finger and what kind of wind was blowing there.

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

  20. icon
    Get off my cyber-lawn! (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 8:44am

    Re:

    ALL polls are designed to reach a particular result! For legitimate pollsters, that result is factual truth. For this bunch of Keystone Krooks the result was what their pals in the industry wanted.

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

  21. identicon
    David, 19 Jun 2018 @ 8:47am

    Free and open Internet

    "Mister Fox, what happened to the hens you were guarding?" "They are now free and open. Help yourself."

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

  22. icon
    ShadowNinja (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 9:05am

    Re:

    I'd love for you to point out what the bill was that senators voted for that would repeal net neutrality.

    Too bad I know you won't tell us what it was called, because such a vote never happened.

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

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 9:13am

    Re:

    why have no ISPs announced any major investment in said infrastructure to prove the old laws were really holding them back?

    They'd already announced it while the rules were in effect. Oops.

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

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re:

    :) Agreed.

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

  25. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh, way to go, Paul Blue!

    Just making up stuff as usual.

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

  26. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re:

    > We have enough people parodying the usual trolls; your work is unnecessary, sir.

    You just don't want to be cut out of a job. How much are you paid per comment?

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

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 9:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I've started noticing that people who support the current administration are generally very angry for no particular reason. Riding my bike on my daily commute, whenever I hear someone yell out their window in road rage for no particular reason at other vehicles, they always seem to have US flags flying as well.

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

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's insulting to wretched piles of steaming maggot infested yeti vomit!

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

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 9:34am

    Re:

    I'm not so sure. I don't think the law requires they do what the public wants, only that they listen to it.

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

  30. identicon
    James Donson, 19 Jun 2018 @ 9:46am

    This was not an interview with NPR. This was an interview with American Public Media. Different companies entirely. NPR contracts with American Public Media to carry their programming.

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

  31. identicon
    Matthew Villalobos, 19 Jun 2018 @ 9:55am

    Sue them/Break Them Apart

    We have been breaking up monopolies and trusts for LITERALLY HUNDREDS OF YEARS. The problem now is the door for corruption is wide open while the entire country is dealing with Drumpf's incompetence.

    If in 4 years we see a government run by monopolies (Plutocracy), everyone involved can point at Drumpf and say "We were just following orders.." No accountability, No shame, just money

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

  32. identicon
    David, 19 Jun 2018 @ 10:03am

    Re: The truth

    Ah, but that isn't the truth. The truth is not that the death of net neutrality is going to make existing services more expensive or completely unavailable but rather that the death of net neutrality is what allows them to make existing services from other people more expensive or completely unavailable, making it possible to jack up the prices on their own offerings.

    This is not-even-zero rating.

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

  33. icon
    DannyB (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 10:18am

    An Internet free of Net Neutrality

    Imagine how great the world can and will be without Net Neutrality!

    Unlimited data plans
    Unlimited throttling
    Unlimited price hikes
    Unlimited mergers (there can be only one)

    Monopolies with unlimited (and unchecked) power!

    Get rid of Net Neutrality today so that the intarweb tubes can be FREE!

    Free of competition!
    Free of oversight!
    Free of regulation!
    Free of low prices!

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

  34. identicon
    Paul Fillmore, 19 Jun 2018 @ 11:11am

    Marketplace is not an NPR program

    It's from Public Radio International or PRI.

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

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re:

    Honestly, the legitimacy in most types of polling is questionable since changing the wording can change the result significantly. On the other hand it is lies and statistics, there are usually limits to how far off the target you get by changing the wording since at least some people will catch on to the underlying subtleties. In this case Pai is far closer to calling people uninformed fools than framing the issue in an honest way.

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

  36. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 12:15pm

    True statement

    Well, he did make one true statement "Moreover, the long-term interest is in building better, faster, cheaper internet access.".
    Now if we can only convince him that figuring out how to do that and then doing the exact opposite is a less than optimal strategy ...

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

  37. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re:

    Propaiganda

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

  38. identicon
    David, 19 Jun 2018 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re:

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

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Marketplace is not an NPR program

    Nope - it's courtesy American Public Media. He says it after every dang program. https://www.americanpublicmedia.org/programs/#Marketplace

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

  40. icon
    ECA (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 12:53pm

    Any one ever raise a child??

    A child can do anything it wants..
    Even if you ask it NOT TO..

    You give it BASIC RULES on how not to destroy itself, but it DOES IT ANYWAY..and you have to clean up the mess.

    Accidents DO happen.. And Supposedly your child LEARNS that certain things DO NOT WORK..not because you say so.

    Eventually, you MIGHT get the child to listen to you, or you SHOW them WHY certain things DONT WORK.. OR HOW they DO WORK.. Or How you can MAKE them work..

    GO ahead and let the Child out of the box, and Run around, and kill itself...AND you will go to jail..

    What happened to those laws about FAKE NEWS?? they only cover NEWS..NOT STUPID PEOPLE, espousing Garbage given to them from a 3rd party.. WHO DOESNT CARE ABOUT YOUR KID..

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

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It better not be more than the Soros check I get for posting on conservative sites!

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

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    He’s either a crybaby, a lazy crybaby, or a poseur posting as a crybaby. I’m not sure which is worse.

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

  43. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 2:13pm

    Re:

    I receive no compensation, monetary or otherwise, for posting comments here.

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

  44. identicon
    Kathleen, 19 Jun 2018 @ 2:47pm

    Liars/lapdogs/non-American Activities

    I remember Dept of unAmerican Activities, (therothchilds),etc.
    I remember Antitrust laws, mom and pop stores on the corner,
    And when you did not end up in court with your Insurance company that is now routine. All this began in the Reagan 80’s. The corruption is now a daily war of people against the multi-nationals who wrote the laws start the wars create the shortages, create laws easy broken to finance the prison corporations. I know this cannot work much longer. I pray for it to all end.

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

  45. icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 4:55pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm not so sure. I don't think the law requires they do what the public wants, only that they listen to it.

    Which they did not do in the least.

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

  46. identicon
    Dutiful Consumer, 19 Jun 2018 @ 5:57pm

    CATV 2.0 Model

    It's wonderful that Ajit Pai feels that you should be free to
    "go where you want, and say and do what you want, without having to ask anyone's permission".

    It's all great as long as we all just CONSUME content or if we peons want to produce or server anything, we have to pay the gatekeepers dearly and/or give up all rights.

    I want to run my own application server or stream content from my house to myself and my friends. Can I do that?

    I see this model as being CATV 2.0. you can watch but you cannot touch.

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

  47. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 6:30pm

    Pai lives in his own reality, I wonder if he had to face the bills, issues, and other bullshit regular people have to put up if he could stay in his bubble.

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

  48. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well if Pai can't law and can't facts, it's not unreasonable to throw in can't grammar. Hell, just look at the flagged comments around here to find that trifecta all over.

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

  49. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 7:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    To Pai, a "substantive" comment can only exclusively be from one of the yes-bots.

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

  50. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2018 @ 7:42pm

    "The internet should be an open platform where you are free to go where you want, and say and do what you want, without having to ask anyone's permission."

    Unless it's illegal, immoral, offensive, terrorist-related, sexual, violent, copyright infringing, counterfeit, right-wing, left-wing, not notable, blocked, filtered, geofenced, a parody, banned by moderators, fake news, under sanctions, seized by the DHS... or any of the millions of other things that aren't allowed on the Internet.

    Now we can add "not paying your ISP" to the list of things not allowed!

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

  51. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 19 Jun 2018 @ 8:41pm

    'If it doesn't agree with me then it doesn't matter!'

    I love how Pai first tried to argue that the polls showed that people agreed with him as though that was important, then as soon as that lie was shot down he shifted to arguing that the polls didn't actually matter and were rigged anyway.

    The public consensus on the subject was highly important right until it was pointed out that it didn't agree with him, and then it was dismissed as irrelevant.

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

  52. identicon
    Anonymous Hero, 20 Jun 2018 @ 4:36am

    Where is this "free and open" Internet you keep talking about?

    I have to pay $100+ a month for Comcast!

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

  53. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 5:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    it could be leftist supporters acting very terribly and posing as trump supporters to try to give them a bad name. ever though of that mr smarty pants?

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

  54. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 6:17am

    Re:

    And Comcast is free to charge you that much because it's an open (not even remotely close to a) secret that odds are good you have no other option other than 'do without internet entirely'.

    See, totally 'free and open'.

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

  55. icon
    PaulT (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 8:08am

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

    No, just stating what I believe to be the truth, as usual. But since you won't bother to tell me where I'm wrong, I'll assume I'm not.

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

  56. identicon
    Paul Fillmore, 20 Jun 2018 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re: Marketplace is not an NPR program

    Dammit, how embarrassing.

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

  57. icon
    The Wanderer (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 9:17am

    Re:

    My understanding is that procedure requires that they, rather than treating the comments as a way to ascertain what the majority wants, use them as a source of substantive input about what the situation on the ground is and what the consequences of a given move would be and so forth.

    If two or more comments express the same idea, that makes it less likely that that idea is a mistaken outlier, assuming that the comments were not coordinated from the same root source - but otherwise, that fact is not supposed to give that idea any more weight than if it had been presented in only one comment.

    He didn't express it ideally (and I'm not sure he could have, given the reputational environment he's created for himself), but I think that particular comment was just an attempt to point at the duty of the FCC to base its decisions on expert analysis rather than on public opinion.

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

  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 3:00pm

    Re:

    Try again Richard.

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

  59. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Unnecessary or not, using that name won't save you.

    Try again Richard.

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

  60. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jun 2018 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Liars/lapdogs/non-American Activities

    And when you did not end up in court with your Insurance company that is now routine

    I've never been in court, for insurance or otherwise.

    All this began in the Reagan 80’s.

    Maybe actually started with the human race? Kind of seems like this has been going on LONG before Reagan and the 80s.

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

  61. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 20 Jun 2018 @ 7:03pm

    Re: Re:

    He didn't express it ideally (and I'm not sure he could have, given the reputational environment he's created for himself), but I think that particular comment was just an attempt to point at the duty of the FCC to base its decisions on expert analysis rather than on public opinion.

    Which he also ignored, so no matter how you read it he's still wrong/lying.

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

  62. icon
    The Wanderer (profile), 21 Jun 2018 @ 4:52am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well, of course. (Although that's not "putting aside his lie about how his actions were guided by law", as per the previous comment.) Even in my most charitable interpretation, pointing at that duty is little (if anything) more than a non-sequitur attempt at deflection.

    Though I imagine he'd argue that he is basing his decisions on expert analysis, et cetera - it's just that, as he probably wouldn't admit, he's being (probably impermissibly) selective about which experts he pays attention to and which analysis he considers relevant. Indeed, I think the aforementioned "lie about how his actions were guided by law" may be arguing exactly that.

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

  63. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 10:18pm

    Re:

    Hey pai, take that fcc finger and stick it up your corrupt, telecom paid for asshole. You lying piece of shit. I hope you rot in jail.

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


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