The Spectacle Blog

Examiner Pulls A Fast One?

By on 6.22.06 | 11:58AM

Dave: I'm wondering if I'm missing something here. The DC Examiner editorial page comes out in favor of Net Neutrality by saying that "Congress should keep its hands off the Internet." Huh? If Congress were to "assure Net Neutrality", as the Examiner advocates, wouldn't that mean that Congress is getting its hands on the internet?

The rest of the editorial seems just as silly. For example, the editorialists argue:

If Congress doesn't require major cable and telephone companies that control access to the Internet to follow "Net neutrality," here's what could very well take place: The New York Times pays Verizon enough money to assure that its Web site loads more quickly than the Wall Street Journal.

The proper response to this is: So? If the Times is willing to pay and Verizon is willing to sell, what business is it of the Examiner or, more importantly, Congress?

And this seems like an equally puerile argument:

Failure to assure Net neutrality would also go a long way toward stifling the innovation that has made the Internet a frontier for new, advanced ideas. Could a Web site like PayPal have ever taken off if it didn't already have the venture capital needed to pay the huge fees other, larger companies were doling out to get a faster, more user-friendly Web site?

First off, larger companies already have advantages over the upstarts, like being able to pay for better website designers. Second, if a website is really a good idea, either venture capitalists will fund the extra cost for faster access; or consumers will like the website enough that they won't mind waiting a few extra seconds for it to load. I don't know about you, Dave, but I'm not going to spend all of my time reading Pinch's rag and ignore the WSJ just because the former loads faster.

After urging Congress to assure Net Neutrality, the Examiner ends with this non sequitur:

This is no way to run an Internet, which is exactly what Congress needs to learn: Keep its hands off the Internet and not try and run it at all.

If Congress shouldn't run the internet, doesn't that mean it shouldn't mandate Net Neutrality? Again, Dave, am I missing something here?

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