Art Brodsky at PublicKnowledge.org shows his true authoritarian colors today. In a single post, he urges the elimination of free speech that he doesn’t like, and indentured servitude for network operators, such as Comcast.
I won’t spend much time on this other than to rebut two particularly repugnant pieces of his diatribe.
1. He wants a “Hechler rule” for all letters going from Congress to agencies, identifying with a $ symbol those who took money from corporations on the topic at hand. In his view, this will inform the lazy press corps and voters where their elected representatives’ real interests lie (at least we can vote them out, unlike the FCC Commissioners, but I digress…). His real aim is to shut down speech that he and others like him don’t like. They can come up with all the justifications in the world they want – i.e., it’s about transparency; keeping the process clean; “fair” and “truthful” speech; etc. – but at the end of the day, Art just wants speech that offends him to go away.
That’s real tolerance for ya’. Just like any authoritarian would do. Silence the critics.
2. Art’s got his undies in a wad about the way private entities invest their private resources. He implies that the investment arguments of Comcast (which is embroiled in getting government approval of its merger with NBC-U) are nonsense. The hidden CFO in Art surmises that because they have scaled back recent infrastructure investments (for who knows what reason – other than it’s their free choice to do so), they really aren’t serious about growing their company or staying competitive in the increasingly volatile Internet marketplace. Billions of dollars of investment in these tough times – regulatorily, economically, competitively and technologically – just aren’t enough. Art the CFO “knows” that companies like Comcast or NBC-U have the Marianas Trench of deep pockets, and accordingly must open them up for redistribution upon demand – as in payment (government extortion?) for the contemptible and corruptible Consent Decree process to approve their merger, which the companies and consumers now languish through.
“Serve me with more of your property…because I say so,” one can read between the lines, heard over the proverbial whip crack of his rant. How 1917 of you, comrade.
Art would do well to listen to Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” a couple times through. Whether he chooses to believe it or not, companies like Comcast / NBC-U are public servants. Good ones. But, they don’t need pretend CFO’s or speech police to boss them around.
They have shareholders and consumers and the marketplace that can do that just fine. At least there, they’re free to serve and speak as they see fit, until they decide otherwise.
“I ain’t gonna’ work on Artie’s farm no more…” How I wish they could sing that song.