NY Times Mangles Obama's Net Neutrality Power Grab
Distressed for Decades
As we know - America’s media is for the most part decidedly Leftist, often befuddled and rarely right. So when they wade into an intricate issue like President Barack Obama’s Net Neutrality Internet power grab - we can only expect even more Leftism, befuddlement and wrongness.
On February 26, the Obama Administration’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) pretended to be Congress and rewrote law. To suddenly start regulating the Internet under the 1934 Telecommunications Act - under rules written to regulate the landline telephone.
You would think we could all assume Congress’ intent in 1934 wasn’t to apply the law they were then passing to the World Wide Web, right? I mean, we were still sixty years away from the birth of what we know as the Net.
But this little bit of Reality is lost on this Administration. And, too, on the media. Led, as usual, by the New York Times.
What the Net Neutrality Rules Say
Translation: “What the Administration and We Want You to Think the Net Neutrality Rules Say.”
(T)he Federal Communications Commission…(voted) to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility….
Title II of the Communications Act gives the F.C.C. much broader powers, and by simply invoking it, it would be bringing the full authority of the agency to bear on Internet providers.
Emphasis ours - because the Times doesn’t want you to realize what it just wrote.
I will address the following bit of Constitution 101 to the media rather than Iran’s Grand Mullah (as if that will better assuage the media's President-Obama-defending delicate sensibilities).
The FCC is a part of the Executive Branch - but like just about all of the Executive Branch it is a creation and a creature of the Legislative Branch. It cannot do anything unless and until Congress first writes law that says “Yo, FCC - do this.”
Again - only the hardest core Left and the media (please pardon the redundancy) could just assume that Congress - in 1934 - intended their law to apply to the Internet. It is - on its face - utterly absurd.
But that is what the Times here is doing. Title II emanates from the aforementioned 1934 Act - and is meant for landline phones. The FCC can’t “simply invoke” it for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) - Congress has to invoke it for them.
Thus does the Times breezily brush past perhaps the largest power grab of an Administration rife with large power grabs.
The F.C.C. had to formulate new rules because the courts overturned the previous set….
Actually, the FCC has been unanimously rebuked by the courts - twice. And those power grabs were microscopic compared to this one. It’s as if the courts twice said “You can’t have a piece of pie” - and the FCC just responded with “Fine, we’re taking the whole bakery.”
The original proposal of Tom Wheeler, the F.C.C. chairman, envisioned basing the new net neutrality rules on Section 706 (the portion of the law actually written for - and meant to keep regulation-free - the Web), not Title II, but he immediately came under intense criticism.
Yes - from President Obama.
The allegedly “independent” FCC originally proposed an-obnoxious-though-less-obtrusive power grab. On which the FCC had two public comment periods - which resulted in the “4 million comments” about which you have incessantly heard. Except:
Dirty Data: Why the ’4 Million Public Comments’ on Net Neutrality Might Not Be What They Seem
Because roughly half of the comments were opposed to any new regulations whatsoever. Tie goes to - a far greater power grab than the one on which we commented? According to the Times, yes.
Because that’s when President Obama big-footed the process - and the FCC suddenly had the 1934-flashback-power-grab.
On which Obama-campaign-coin-bundling Chairman Wheeler - who extended a comment period on the old order - steadfastly refused to take any comments. He steadfastly refused to release it to allow We the People to even read it.
Wheeler steadfastly refused to wait for Congress to go first - as the Commission is Constitutionally required to do. He steadfastly refused to testify before Congress on it.
All of which is context the Times fails utterly to provide.
The Grey Lady goes on, and on, and.… 3,365 words in excerpts and their analysis - time and again attempting to provide cover for the Administration’s gi-normous power grab. Section after section presenting the Administration’s perspective - as THE perspective.
The Times then - at the very end - gives a paltry 629 words to the dissent of the FCC’s two Republican Commissioners. Most of said words are excerpts from them.
Fair. Balanced. Equal time - from the New York Times.
Editor's Note: This first appeared in NewsBusters.