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September 23, 2010 / Matt Gerardi

Tea Party Takes On Net Neutrality, Gains Ally In Telecom Giant

It’s no secret that the country’s biggest telecom companies are hard at work on Capitol Hill trying to put an end to net neutrality. In the second quarter of 2010 alone Verizon spent $4,440,000 on lobbying. AT&T shelled out approximately $3,000,000. It’s impossible to tell how much of this money went directly to anti-net neutrality campaigning, but both companies list net neutrality as a core focus.

Members of the Tea Party movement have adopted a similar stance on the issue, with founder of the House Tea Party Caucus Michele Bachmann calling net neutrality “censorship of the Internet.”

It’s no surprise then that AT&T and its associated PACs have donated $350,000 to the House Tea Party Caucus.

In the same interview in which she called net neutrality censorship, Bachmann also claimed “This is the Obama administration advocating censorship of the Internet. Why? They want to silence the voices that are opposing them.”

Politics aside, this is a clearly uninformed statement. In actuality net neutrality is what allows grass roots groups like the Tea Party movement to organize and express their minority opinions via the Internet. If they had their way and the FCC was completely unable to regulate net neutrality, their opinions would then essentially become censored.

The Tea Party’s opposition to net neutrality is clearly and singularly political. From her statements it’s obvious that Bachmann doesn’t even know what it is. More than likely their sudden adoption of it as a campaign issue is just political grandstanding; taking a hot button issue that not many voters understand and adding it to the oeuvre of outcries against actions taken by the Obama administration.

Unfortunately we know from prior experience that once it appears on Fox News a certain segment of America will except it as fact (need I remind you as of August of this year approximately 20% of Americans still believe President Obama is a Muslim). By promoting net neutrality as censorship of the Internet it’s possible that Fox News will skew the public’s understanding of the issue and set eh fight for net neutrality back even further.

More links:

The Daily Beast on AT&T’s donations

Ars Technica on the telecom’s lobbying


One Comment

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  1. lew247 / Oct 8 2010 2:22 pm

    Good and informative. Talk about political spin on the Net Neutrality reality, yikes.

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