Looking For Marxists In All The Tech Places

Glenn Beck's latest evidence of commie subversion of the republic: The FCC's upcoming vote on Thursday regarding Net neutrality. Along with a hired gun from a group called Americans for Prosperity, Fox's popular game, um, news show host devoted a significant chunk of time to a prolonged rant warning about the sinister threat that Net neutrality poses to our constitutional freedoms. Check out the clip:



Amusing but inaccurate. Truth be told, I must confess more than a little surprise at the paranoia. When it comes to the intersection of technology and politics, there obviously are disagreements about proper policy. But when you count noses, turns out that most Silicon Valley execs support some kind of net neutrality safeguards to prevent big carriers from deciding winners and losers online. (Google's Eric Schmidt calls this "light touch regulation.") Otherwise, the fear is that the Internet Service Providers, or ISPs in tech lingo, would be able to exert unfair pressure on Web content sites that don't want to pay up by selectively blocking or slowing their content.

Actually, I'm surprised that Beck or anyone else would get this worked up. This is basically a back to the future moment when you recall that Net neutrality was a core principle of the Internet until a rule change in 2005. That's when nondiscrimination requirements which had applied to phone service and most residential Internet access got eliminated. But here's Beck's take and that of his guest, Phil Kerpen from AFP.

Kerpen: "Look, the short-term impact of these types of regulations will just be that the Internet won't work as well, because you won't have as much competition. You won't have as much investment. They won't be able to manage the network. Things will load slowly. You'll have a more difficult time."

Beck: "So we have Marxists that are designing and working on net neutrality -are big believers in net neutrality, right? Gosh, it does seem that these would be the wrong people to help, you know, innovate business for it."

By that logic, folks like Schmidt, Barry Diller Jeff Bezos and John Donahoe constitute a cohort of commies. (Here's a letter they and several other tech CEOs sent to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, expressing their support for Net neutrality. Even the telecommunication industry's lobbyists are less apoplectic about the prospect. My former colleague at CNET News.com, Maggie Reardon, has a good piece up today reporting that even the industry's paid critics say they can live with some of the proposed Net neutrality legislation.

And this is the stuff of red revolution? Not quite, folks.
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    Charles Cooper is an executive editor at CNET News. He has covered technology and business for more than 25 years, working at CBSNews.com, the Associated Press, Computer & Software News, Computer Shopper, PC Week, and ZDNet. E-mail Charlie.

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