Federal Bureaucracy Gets a Grip on the Throat of the Internet
Given the totalitarian proclivities of all oligarchical collectivists, you had to know that sooner or later Obama et al. would make their move on the Internet. An urgent warning from FCC Commissioner Michael O’Reilly:
Internet application and content companies, what some refer to as “edge providers,” are increasingly concerned by the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) newfound ability to regulate the Internet, and rightfully so. …
A very real threat is that edge providers could fall within the reach of the FCC’s newly invented authority to regulate the Internet under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
Congress never intended to give the FCC that authority. I know because I was in the room, as a congressional staffer, when that deal was made. For years, the FCC held the same conclusion. But in 2010, when the FCC’s attempt to use other statutory provisions to regulate broadband providers failed, it re-interpreted Section 706 as a new legal basis to impose net neutrality restrictions. Although, the D.C. Circuit vacated most of those restrictions in January, the decision explicitly sanctioned Section 706 as an independent grant of regulatory authority.
As a result, we now live in a world where the FCC can arguably adopt almost any rule that conceivably promotes broadband deployment. As Judge Laurence Silberman summarized in his dissent: “Presto, we have a new statute granting the FCC virtually unlimited power to regulate the Internet.”
Another voice of warning comes from the Federal Election Commission:
Government officials, reacting to the growing voice of conservative news outlets, especially on the internet, are angling to curtail the media’s exemption from federal election laws governing political organizations, a potentially chilling intervention that the chairman of the Federal Election Commission is vowing to fight.
“I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers,” warned Federal Election Commission Chairman Lee E. Goodman in an interview.
“The right has begun to break the left’s media monopoly, particularly through new media outlets like the internet, and I sense that some on the left are starting to rethink the breadth of the media exemption and internet communications,” he added.
Noting the success of sites like the Drudge Report, Goodman said that protecting conservative media, especially those on the internet, “matters to me because I see the future going to the democratization of media largely through the internet. They can compete with the big boys now, and I have seen storm clouds that the second you start to regulate them, there is at least the possibility or indeed proclivity for selective enforcement, so we need to keep the media free and the internet free.”
All media has long benefited from an exemption from FEC rules, thereby allowing outlets to pick favorites in elections and promote them without any limits or disclosure requirements like political action committees.
But Goodman cited several examples where the FEC has considered regulating conservative media, including Sean Hannity’s radio show and Citizens United’s movie division. Those efforts to lift the media exemption died in split votes at the politically evenly divided board, often with Democrats seeking regulation.
The more power Democrats and their RINO allies gain, the more success they will have in imposing such regulation.
Note that the repression of politically disfavored information outlets on the Internet will not come through a law legitimately passed through Congress, but through the massive regulatory apparatus, which Obama has tyrannically employed to impose environmentalist lunacy the legislature would never pass, and which will continue to grow like a wildly metastasizing cancer even after we are finally rid of the current Community Organizer in Chief.
Imagine an America in which you are not allowed to express political preferences on your own website. Unless we put up more resistance, we will be there soon.