In retrospect, 2017 was a quaint time in our nation’s history. The coronavirus wasn’t threatening to kill us all, the Trump administration hadn’t killed us all, and the Trump tax cuts were still months away from killing us all. In fact, the only thing threatening to end life as we know it back then was the proposal to repeal Net Neutrality, a 2015 regulation that we’re told made the Internet better somehow.
To repeal it, we were told in 2017 and 2018, would literally mean the “end of the Internet as we know it,” as CNN’s front page blared in February 2017. As attorney James Hasson documented on Twitter former feminist/birth control icon Sandra Fluke declared repealing the regulation “would kill access to abortion information,” while GLAAD insisted the repealing would be “an attack on the LGBTQ community.” GQ claimed it would “ruin the internet forever,” and the American Civil Liberties Union insisted it would lead to a “two-tier Internet.” And let’s not forget Rep. Ro Khanna’s (D-CA) graphic claiming that without net neutrality, we would be charged separately for video, email, gaming, and social media.
— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) June 12, 2019
Two years ago, Senate Democrats tweeted that without net neutrality, we’d “get the internet one word at a time,” echoing one of the oft-repeated claims that repealing net neutrality would drastically slow the internet.
— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) February 27, 2018
Now, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is taking a victory lap on his opponents. In a tweet on Thursday captioning the old Senate Democrat tweet, Pai explained that broadband speeds have increased since net neutrality was repealed.
“Two years ago today, some Washington politicians promised you that the Internet would slow down. What’s happened since? Average U.S. fixed broadband speeds are UP over 76% according to Ookla. It wasn’t the end of the Internet as we know it—not even close,” Pai tweeted.
Two years ago today, some Washington politicians promised you that the Internet would slow down. What’s happened since? Average U.S. fixed broadband speeds are UP over 76% according to Ookla. It wasn’t the end of the Internet as we know it—not even close.https://t.co/nSKdQ2Olt1
— Ajit Pai (@AjitPaiFCC) February 27, 2020
Pai spearheaded the repeal of net neutrality and was rewarded with death threats from Leftists who had been convinced by Democrats and the media that the Internet couldn’t exist without a regulation finalized in 2015 despite the Internet being around for decades before. Somehow, these people though that the Internet was unusable in 2013 and before, and therefore the world would end if we were to go back to those days. For the record, we still had Facebook and Twitter back then. Maybe we would get Vine back, but other than that there really wasn’t much of a difference.
The death threats against Pai and his family were so specific that a hearing on net neutrality featuring Pai was cancelled in December 2017 “on advice of security.” In May 2019, a man was sentenced to 18 months in prison after he threatened to kill Pai the previous year.
As Hasson noted, not one person in the media or the Democratic Party has been held accountable for the blatant fearmongering around net neutrality.
“And again, the upshot of all of this was that Ajit Pai had to obtain a security detail, cancel events, and endure racist attacks and death threats that were credible and serious enough to warrant prison,” Hasson tweeted. “But there has been zero accountability for that. Zero.”