Regulating the ’Net. Much has been alleged in recent days about the risks to the independence of the Internet were the copyright bills currently before Congress to become law. As mentioned here and here, the most extravagant of these allegations are flummery of the first water, but copyright issues aside, the ’net is indeed on the cusp of a significant transformation.
Evidence of this can be seen in the actions of the FCC, whether on its own initiative or by its implementation of regulations after passage of legislation into law. The Commission’s codification of "net neutrality" rules was the first example of the Internet’s capture. The action currently underway by the FCC to promulgate regulations re the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, a law which, among other things, mandates captioning for online video, is another.
Goes without saying that making online video accessible to the deaf is a nice thing to do, and for many that’s the end of the story. But people who are familiar with the way laws and regulatory policies evolve know that things like these have a precedential impact in Congress, the courts, and the regulatory agencies, and that very often these precedents are then offered up in justification of other laws or rules that are not so nice.
In any case, the point here is that it’s already too late in the day for people who have an idealistic interest in the Internet to fret the future loss of its independence. Thanks to the majority at the FCC and/or in Congress, the Internet’s pristine independence has already been lost.
Media Matters. The organization called Media Matters for America, which exists to demean and (where possible) destroy conservative journalists and organizations like FOX News, has now come out with a contrived accusation against George Will.
The gravamen of MMA’s contrivance is that, as a Board member of a conservative grant-giving group (the Bradley Foundation), Will should be required to mention this connection whenever he writes about or cites the work of any of the groups to which Bradley contributes!
Given that Bradley funds a very large number of conservative think tanks and other enterprises, this would mean, as a practical matter, that Will would have to include this disclosure pretty much all the time since he is, after all, a conservative himself and cites these organizations’ work frequently.
As the Washington Post’s executive editor put it, in reply to a request from MMA for comment: “Is it seriously a surprise to you that George Will quotes experts from conservative think tanks more often than he quotes experts from liberal think tanks?”
What a relief! The latest news is that Keith Olbermann, who is faithfully viewed nightly by at least 16 people, may be staying on at Current TV, a network that captures the imagination of dozens.
It’s been a close call for the past few days, but as this is being written word is out that Olbermann and management of Current, who have been at loggerheads over something or other, have resolved their differences. So a country that has been paralyzed with fear that things might not work out can breathe again. What a happy day.
The opinions expressed above are those of the writer and not of The Media Institute, its Board, contributors, or advisory councils.