Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A usual Bush stooge striking a blow against Big Bizniz greed and selfishness? For a change, we salute FCC Chairman Kevin Martin


FCC Chairman Kevin Martin (center) -- for once on the same side as his usual antagonists, Democratic commissioners Michael Copps (left) and Jonathan Adelstein (right) -- is under siege from the Bizniz Right.

by Ken

If you had asked me anytime before the past week, I would have said that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is a low-down weasel, exactly the sort of scum-sucking weasel you'd expect to be put at the helm of a regulatory commission under the Bush regime, in the tradition of Michael Powell. But now on one crucial issue he has actually separated himself from right-wingers' normal "whatever big bizniz wants is good for the rest of youse" philosophy and appears to be joining the two Democrats on the commission, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, in blowing the whistle on some corporate bad guys and striking a crucial blow for the ever-endangered concept of net neutrality.

And, naturally, the full wrath of the Bizniz Right is falling on poor Kevin, notably in the form of a blistering editorial in -- you guessed it -- the Wall Street Journal.

Our friend Matt Stoller of OpenLeft, an indefatigable crusader for net neutrality and the relatively open Internet it makes possible, writes in a post today, "When Republicans Get It Right: FCC Chair Kevin Martin": "I keep rereading the WSJ in disbelief. Literally everything in it is untrue or highly misleading."

Matt sets out the background:
Here's what's going. Some time ago, the cable giant Comcast began illegal blocking access its subscribers had to file sharing software in its first documented instance of violating net neutrality, or the principle that similar types of data on the internet be treated equally. We know that Comcast likes to censor -- it blocked ads critical of corrupt Democrat Chris Carney because they included criticism of Comcast contributions to Carney -- and we know that if it is not stopped, it will eventually shape the internet the way that China shapes the internet, for its own political and financial purposes. That's not an indictment of the company, incidentally, more of a recognition that powerful organizations that control communications networks and have content to sell have a business and political incentive to block alternate viewpoints and content.
To the surprise of, well, pretty much everybody, Chairman Martin has agreed with Democratic Commissioners Copps and Adelstein that Comcast had been caught red-handed doing something that is clearly forbidden and that the FCC has to step in. The fear now, though, is that, with a final vote on the question about to come up, our Kevin may need all the support he can get to withstand the unbridled fury of the Greed and Selfishness Establishment.

Matt is only too happy to take you through the astonishing tissue of fabrications and misrepresentations the WSJ has strung together; by all means check out his account. The key thng right now is to make sure that Chairman Martin and all concerned hear some loud outcry in support of the common-sense blow this unusual FCC majority seems poised to strike for fair access to the Internet.

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