Free Press: First Amendment for Me, Not for Thee


Posted by Kelly William Cobb on Monday, June 28th, 2010, 5:57 PM PERMALINK


When the Federal Communications Commission merely met with private sector representatives to try to broker a legislative solution on Internet regulation last week, the neo-Marxist media reform group Free Press went berserk.  As we mentioned before, the battle over Net Neutrality regulations is mainly between Internet service and content providers.  But when the FCC agreed to meet with these two sides, Free Press’s President Josh Silver – who is one of the most vocal proponents of heavy Internet regulation – took issue with the FCC for just talking to the stakeholders that would be most impacted by the regulations he demands.

First, the group demonized the private sector and the FCC for daring to meet with anyone aside from Free Press and the far-left.  This came despite the fact that a representative for the pro-Internet regulation coalition that Free Press is a prominent member of was one of the attendees at the gathering.  That wasn’t enough, however.  Free Press then dropped $42,000 on a single Washington Post ad (normally $122,000) chiding the FCC for including Internet service providers in the meeting.  Again, they failed to mention that their coalition and the main private sector companies that also want Net Neutrality were in attendance.  And, continuing their unbridled streak of false and illogical statements (see our FCC comments), they tried to wrap the attack ad in utterly irrelevant and populist sentiment about oil companies and banks.

Meanwhile, Free Press and their pro-regulation allies have had no less than thirty meetings with the FCC, not to mention the many meetings they had with the Obama administration’s transition team.  If that’s not enough, Free Press’s former press director is now FCC Chairman Genachowski’s hand-picked Press Secretary, and the latest FCC plan to regulate the Internet looks like the staff of Free Press wrote it themselves.

There are two major takeaways here.  First, the First Amendment of the Constitution expressly provides a right to petition government.  Free Press has had their fair share of meetings at the FCC, but that’s neither here nor there.  The fact is that in Free Press’s worldview, they run the entire telecom industry by silencing their opponents, since the right to lobby the FCC only applies to them and not those most impacted by their unwarranted and overreaching regulatory ambitions.

Second, how can anyone trust Free Press’s claim that they don’t believe this Internet regulatory power grab will lead to censorship of Internet and media content?  (See here and here).  If dismissing one clause of the First Amendment while claiming to embrace another isn't enough, they also go around manufacturing a “right” to Internet access.  Show me that one in the Constitution.  This should make clear Free Press's hypocrisy, manipulation of rhetoric, and their wildly inconsistent view on rights.

Free Press: You’re not the only voice in this debate.  Quit pouting and get over it.

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