Nothing Neutral about Net Neutrality

I’ve been writing about the subject of Net Neutrality for as long as I’ve been writing this blog – 4 years and change.

The new FCC Rules adopted last week have been picked apart and panned by groups on both sides of the issue and on the political spectrum. If you believe the sound bites, it’s almost as if nobody likes the new rules.

This is one reason that I think they will work out. Nothing really scientific about it, really – just a feeling that if the professional activists on both leading edges of an issue are pissed off about it, then the rules likely have something for everyone in the middle.

What I’m really not thrilled about is how the issue has been portrayed in the media – at least the local print kind. Gary Harmon of the Daily Sentinel, whose news writing since losing his opinion column looks more and more like he’s auditioning for a job at Fox News, penned a one-sided (and paywalled) portrayal of the issue.

Gary did what we lovingly expect him to do – he spoke to local Internet Service Providers and national trade organizations representing them in order to provide reporting about the entire issue. Aside from one short paragraph and a sidebar from the Associated Press that explained what
exactly the FCC approved, the story was told exclusively from the perspective that net neutrality is bad for business.

Mr. Harmon would have done a better job for his paper’s readership had he balanced the local business concerns with the opinion of local user communities about the rights of Internet users to access to content unfettered by corporate preferences, sweetheart deals, or junior high-level spats over competing services that share the same Internet “pipe”.

Craig Hall of the Grand Valley Business Times spoke to the concerns of his core audience quite well in a recent issue. I would prefer it if the Sentinel left the business opinion disguised as news reporting to Mr. Hall and his able staff. The type of reporting put forth by Mr. Harmon, which often is just thinly-veiled opinion, is one reason that I will not subscribe to the Sentinel. More about that later.

I think that I’m finished with the subject until the new regulations are fleshed out in the appropriate venue, and the effects of their implementation or challenge are plainly available for all to see.

Have a great weekend and New Year ahead.
This entry was posted in Business, Civil Liberties, Internet, Local, Media. Bookmark the permalink.

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