The FCC has adopted Net Neutrality rules, after Congress declined to adopt the legislation, after 300 Representatives and Senators signed a letter opposing FCC internet regulation, and after a federal appeals court ruled in April that the FCC doesn’t have the power to enforce net neutrality.
In the words of the WSJ editors, The FCC made a naked lunge to collect political power onto itself.
John Fund of the Wall Street Journal has the must-read article on The Net Neutrality Coup
The campaign to regulate the Internet was funded by a who’s who of left-liberal foundations. What foundations?
Free Press and allied groups such as MoveOn.org quickly got funding. Of the eight major foundations that provided the vast bulk of money for campaign-finance reform, six became major funders of the media-reform movement. (They are the Pew Charitable Trusts, Bill Moyers’s Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, the Joyce Foundation, George Soros’s Open Society Institute, the Ford Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.) Free Press today has 40 staffers and an annual budget of $4 million.
These wealthy funders pay for more than publicity and conferences. In 2009, Free Press commissioned a poll, released by the Harmony Institute, on net neutrality. Harmony reported that “more than 50% of the public argued that, as a private resource, the Internet should not be regulated by the federal government.” The poll went on to say that since “currently the public likes the way the Internet works . . . messaging should target supporters by asking them to act vigilantly” to prevent a “centrally controlled Internet.”
To that end, Free Press and other groups helped manufacture “research” on net neutrality. In 2009, for example, the FCC commissioned Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society to conduct an “independent review of existing information” for the agency in order to “lay the foundation for enlightened, data-driven decision making.”
Considering how openly activist the Berkman Center has been on these issues, it was an odd decision for the FCC to delegate its broadband research to this outfit. Unless, of course, the FCC already knew the answer it wanted to get.
The Berkman Center’s FCC- commissioned report, “Next Generation Connectivity,” wound up being funded in large part by the Ford and MacArthur foundations. So some of the same foundations that have spent years funding net neutrality advocacy research ended up funding the FCC-commissioned study that evaluated net neutrality research.
The FCC made its move since it knows that the rise of an alternative technology is the best way to break the current FCC monopoly, and they believe they can get away with it.
This is yet another example of the usurpation of constitutional government by the administrative state that we have repeatedly been subjected to by the Obama administration, whose motto ought to be “More Csars than the Romanovs.”
Should the FCC be abolished? Definitely.
However, abolishing the FCC should be a start in the battle against ever-increasing government regulation.