by Meg White
This may sound like the warning of an alarmist, but your ability to read the words I'm writing is already in danger, and the government has finally decided to decide whether or not it wants to do anything about it. Of course, Glenn Beck believes that decision is the end of the Internet as we know it.
What is net neutrality? Well, Science Progress has an informative but concise primer on the issue here that outlines the controversy and explains the stakes held by the government, communications companies and consumers:
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet; all content on the Internet is equally accessible, and once a person pays for access to the Internet, they alone get to choose how they use it... Internet users and their advocates generally favor net neutrality, while telecom companies see it as a threat to their use of their own property.
Or, as put even more simply by this About.com article: "Net neutrality means that Internet service providers and network owners concern themselves only with efficiently moving bits -- not with the content embodied by the bits."
The attempt to turn this into a conservative conspiracy theory has been tough, so defenders of Big Telecom had to call in the experts in whipping up unfounded fears: Glenn Beck and FOX News.
Think Progress, in their second notification of how Phil Kerpen is using Glenn Beck's show on FOX as a platform for the anti-tax and anti-government ideology of his group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP), detailed how the team went after the issue of net neutrality.
It's really quite similar to healthcare and climate change tactics, in that Beck uses Americans' historic distrust of government intervention as a reason to let Corporate America run the show. Of course, there's a dose of Red Scare in there too, for good measure.
Kerpen has launched an all-out attack against the net neutrality advocates at Free Press -- a nonprofit, nonpartisan group promoting media diversity and access -- on his Web site. With the amount of times Kerpen and Beck referred to Free Press employees as Marxists and/or communists, one would think they're talking about ACORN (if you can stomach it, here are links to part one, part two and part three of Beck's show featuring Kerpen).
Aside from the fear mongering, there's a lot Beck doesn't understand about both freedom and the Internet, and it seems that Kerpen wants to keep it that way.