The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 today on a measure that would repeal the Obama-era net neutrality protections set in place in 2015 — a move that catapulted CNN into meltdown mode.
FCC chairman Ajit Pai issued a statement following the vote that highlighted the absurdity of the media’s rhetoric over the net neutrality debate:
It’s difficult to match that mundane reality to the apocalyptic rhetoric that we’ve heard from Title II supporters. And as the debate has gone on, their claims have gotten more and more outlandish. So let’s be clear. Returning to the legal framework that governed the Internet from President Clinton’s pronouncement in 1996 until 2015 is not going to destroy the Internet. It is not going to end the Internet as we know it. It is not going to kill democracy. It is not going to stifle free expression online. If stating these propositions alone doesn’t demonstrate their absurdity, our Internet experience before 2015, and our experience tomorrow, once this order passes, will prove them so.
Pai noted that “the internet wasn’t broken in 2015” and that there was no reason or need for net neutrality when it was put in place by the Obama administration in 2015.
Despite Pai’s clear and reasonable comments — which included: "It is not going to end the Internet as we know it" — CNN’s top story was: “End of the internet as we know it"
CNN's "report," which definitely took more of a pro-net neutrality stance, also made highly misleading statements about the public's interest being in favor of net neutrality.
The repeal vote comes more than six months after the FCC kicked off the lengthy process to roll back the net neutrality protections. It received millions of comments during a review period, with the majority supporting the current protections.
This claim that the FCC received "millions" of pro-net neutrality comments during the review period is extremely misleading, as a study from the Pew Research Center found that nearly all of those comments were fake.
It seems like a lot of Americans are interested in the net-neutrality debate. Some 22 million public comments have been filed with the Federal Communications Commission on the issue of whether all web traffic should be treated equally. ...
But, it turns out, much of that public input is not what it appears.
The Pew Research Center took a close look at the comments. Associate Director Aaron Smith said several things popped out. Maybe the biggest, 94 percent of the comments "were submitted multiple times, and in some cases those comments were submitted many hundreds of thousands of times."
So in other words, almost all of the comments seem to have been parts of organized campaigns to influence the FCC commissioners to vote one way or the other.
The report from the Pew Research Center further noted that on nine separate occasions, more than 75,000 comments were submitted all at the exact same second, which they concluded was an organized campaign that contained “false or misleading personal information.”