Michele Bachmann calls net neutrality an Obama censorship plot
Michele Bachmann is now asserting that the issue of Internet network neutrality, known as "net neutrality," is an evil Obama administration plot to censor the Internet.
Network neutrality (also net neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle proposed for user access networks participating in the Internet that advocates no restrictions by Internet Service Providers or governments on content, sites, or platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and on the modes of communication allowed, as well as communication that is not unreasonably degraded by other traffic.
She told Sean Hannity last night -- unchallenged:
"So whether they're attacking conservative talk radio, or conservative TV or whether it's Internet sites, I mean, let's face it, what's the Obama administration doing? They're advocating net neutrality which is essentially censorship of the Internet. This is the Obama administration advocating censorship of the Internet. Why? They want to silence the voices that are opposing them. Despite the fact that they continue to have much of the mainstream media still providing cover for all of these dramatic efforts that the Obama administration is taking. So they're very specifically and pointedly going after voices that they see are effectively telling the truth about what the Obama administration is trying to do."
So what's going on here? Bachmann appears to be siding with major Internet service providers seeking to avoid government regulation. And that argument is over, at least for now. An appeals court told the FCC earlier in April that the FCC has no jurisdiction over Internet regulation. (Read this Atlantic post for a great summary of the ongoing dispute.)
Well, I'm a big believer in net neutrality. I campaigned on this. I continue to be a strong supporter of it. My FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, has indicated that he shares the view that we've got to keep the Internet open; that we don't want to create a bunch of gateways that prevent somebody who doesn't have a lot of money but has a good idea from being able to start their next YouTube or their next Google on the Internet. So this is something we're committed to.
We're getting pushback, obviously, from some of the bigger carriers who would like to be able to charge more fees and extract more money from wealthier customers. But we think that runs counter to the whole spirit of openness that has made the Internet such a powerful engine for not only economic growth, but also for the generation of ideas and creativity.
Here's Scott Cleland, a spokesman for the ISP-backed Precursor group, speaking to NPR's Bob Garfield: