[Cross-posted at Crooks and Liars.]
One of libertarians' real blind spots is that they seem to believe that only government is capable of taking away your freedoms and your rights. Which is how right-wingers like Glenn Beck and his fellow Foxheads (see especially Michelle Bachmann) have managed to turn things smack on their heads and create the Planet Bizarro talking point that "net neutrality means censorship of the Internet".
It never seems to occur to them that, you know, lots of other people are perfectly capable of taking away your freedoms. Especially the giant corporations who control our media.
Megyn Kelly gave a succinct demonstration of how this works at propaganda shops like Fox News yesterday on her America Live program. To discuss net neutrality, she brought on Jim Harper of the libertarian Cato Institute and Josh Silver of Free Press.
Kelly proceeded to let Harper ramble uninterrupted at length, pitching the hogwash notion that "free enterprise created the Internet" (um, no it didn't). Then, when it was Silver's turn to talk, Kelly aggressively interrupted him, notably just as he was getting to the major point: Maintaining net neutrality is about ensuring that there will be no corporate censorship of content -- in other words, about maintaining the architecture that made the Internet the free and open medium that it is.
Then, when Silver finally got a chance to raise that point again, Kelly again interrupted:
Kelly: Is that right, Jim? Because everything I've read about this says this is a push, the beginnings of a push by the Obama administration to control the Internet to some extent -- more so than they had in the past.Well, she's obviously reading from diverse sources, isn't she?
In any event, Kelly again let Harper ramble on, speculating that taxes would be imposed, blah blah blah -- and cut the segment off before Silver could point out the blatant falsity of his claims.
It was quite an exhibition in "fair and balanced" TV news. And it demonstrated rather neatly what happens when corporate news channels control the flow of information: They pretend to offer "balance," but facts that undermine the predominant narrative are never given the light of day.
All the more reason to defend our Web freedoms by maintaining net neutrality. And what's bizarre is that the supposed defenders of "liberty" are on the side of the would-be corporate media controllers.
But then, we already knew that libertarianism is fundamentally incoherent.