Bill Moyers is the ordained Baptist minister who was LBJ’s Chief Propagandist during America’s descent into the Viet Nam quagmire. He made a name for himself by pushing Joseph Campbell’s loopy theories about the alleged universality of mythology on PBS and giving a megaphone to voices on the lunatic fringe of American politics such as Noam Chomsky. He’s jumped into the Net Neutrality fray with both horns, airing a 90 minute ad for Bob McChesney’s Save the Internet campaign that trails off into odd conspiracy theories toward the end. PBS has set up a web page to promote it, where you’ll find this gem:
The future of the Internet is up for grabs. Last year, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) effectively eliminated net neutrality rules, which ensured that every content creator on the Internet-from big-time media concerns to backroom bloggers-had equal opportunity to make their voice heard. Now, large and powerful corporations are lobbying Washington to turn the World Wide Web into what critics call a “toll road,” threatening the equitability that has come to define global democracy’s newest forum. Yet the public knows little about what’s happening behind closed doors on Capitol Hill.
Some activists describe the ongoing debate this way: A small number of mega-media giants owns much of the content and controls the delivery of content on radio and television and in the press; if we let them take control of the Internet as well, immune from government regulation, who will pay the price? Their opponents say that the best way to encourage Internet innovation and technological advances is to let the market-not the federal government-determine the shape of the system.
Kindly note that this goes beyond the usual refrain of “Big Telco is stealing the Internet and our Democracy will soon be lost” to assert a conspiracy of Big Telco and Big Media. In fact, the last 30 minutes of the show isn’t about the Internet at all, it’s about media consolidation, McChesney’s favorite hobby horse.
Is net neutrality a legitimate part of the media ownership debate, or simply a fear and smear campaign devised to enhance the influence of self-promoters like McChesney and his ilk?
You can probably guess what I think about that.