Exposing the Left's Net Neutrality Astroturf Campaign

Guy Benson
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Posted: Dec 22, 2010 2:26 PM
Before you read my front page story about how conservatives plan to combat yesterday's FCC power grab moving forward, check out John Fund's retrospective (and indispensable) WSJ piece detailing how a handful of left-wing interest groups achieved this goal in the first place.  A taste:

The net neutrality vision for government regulation of the Internet began with the work of Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor who founded the liberal lobby Free Press in 2002. Mr. McChesney's agenda? "At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies," he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. "But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control."

A year earlier, Mr. McChesney wrote in the Marxist journal Monthly Review that "any serious effort to reform the media system would have to necessarily be part of a revolutionary program to overthrow the capitalist system itself." Mr. McChesney told me in an interview that some of his comments have been "taken out of context." He acknowledged that he is a socialist and said he was "hesitant to say I'm not a Marxist."

For a man with such radical views, Mr. McChesney and his Free Press group have had astonishing influence. Mr. Genachowski's press secretary at the FCC, Jen Howard, used to handle media relations at Free Press. The FCC's chief diversity officer, Mark Lloyd, co-authored a Free Press report calling for regulation of political talk radio.

Of the eight major foundations that provided the vast bulk of money for campaign-finance reform, six became major funders of the media-reform movement. (They are the Pew Charitable Trusts, Bill Moyers's Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, the Joyce Foundation, George Soros's Open Society Institute, the Ford Foundation, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.) Free Press today has 40 staffers and an annual budget of $4 million.

...Free Press and other groups helped manufacture "research" on net neutrality. In 2009, for example, the FCC commissioned Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society to conduct an "independent review of existing information" for the agency in order to "lay the foundation for enlightened, data-driven decision making."

Considering how openly activist the Berkman Center has been on these issues, it was an odd decision for the FCC to delegate its broadband research to this outfit. Unless, of course, the FCC already knew the answer it wanted to get.


Seriously, read the whole thing.  Soros has his tentacles in virtually everything, doesn't he?  It's no coincidence he features prominently in Townhall Magazine's January issue -- The 50 Most Dangerous Liberals in America:



The FCC's brazen move is encountering broad opposition, which is encouraging.  It will take a herculean effort to beat back the coming onslaught of regulatory excess from the Obama administration.  The Left never rests: Tuesday, it was the FCC.  Today, it's the EPA:

The Obama administration is expected to roll out a major greenhouse gas policy for power plants and refineries as soon as Wednesday, signaling it won’t back off its push to fight climate change in the face of mounting opposition on Capitol Hill.

The Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to a schedule for setting greenhouse gas emission limits, known as “performance standards,” for the nation’s two biggest carbon-emitting industries,