By Glen Ford
Black Agenda Radio
With the “compromise” on Internet neutrality, President Obama has betrayed another campaign promise, and this time has no excuse that the Republicans made him do it. The outcome was really never in doubt, since Obama named as his FCC chairman a man who helped make radio and television into a corporate wasteland, under Bill Clinton’s administration.
The Federal Communications Commission’s failure to ensure Internet neutrality signals the beginning of a kind of Oklahoma land rush up and down the digital highways. The FCC has fired the starting pistol to allow giant telecommunications corporations to make their mad dash into what was formerly public space, and stake their own, private claims while charging rent and tolls and fees from horizon to horizon. We, the public, are to be treated like the Indians of Oklahoma, in 1889, dispossessed in favor of business and commerical interests. President Obama is the Great Father in Washington who spoke with forked tongue when he swore that he would “take a backseat to no one” in the cause of Internet neutrality.
President Obama, of course, controls a majority on the FCC, and is ultimately responsible for the commission’s decision. He can’t claim that the Republicans forced his hand by holding anything hostage. No, Obama stabbed Internet neutrality in the back because that’s the job description of a corporate politician – to facilitate the orderly dispensing of public property to private pockets.
The FCC decision was described as a “compromise” between public and corporate interests. Politicians like Barack Obama believe that corporations have an inalienable right to make ever-increasing profits, and that right supersedes any claims by the non-corporate citizenry.
Therefore, it is perfectly logical that the wireless sector of the Internet – which is growing by leaps and bounds and holds the most promise of fantastic profits – become a playground for the corporations, who will be allowed to do pretty much as they see fit. On the non-mobile side of the Internet, the FCC’s new rules are full of loopholes, allowing Internet carriers to create fast lanes for higher paying companies and customers.
Think of the Internet as a vast plain on which a great city is to be built. Now, consider that a few huge corporations will be given the privilege to draw the grid for that new city, and to decide who gets to live in the high-class neighborhoods, and who winds up in the ghetto.
“The FCC’s new rules are full of loopholes, allowing Internet carriers to create fast lanes for higher paying companies and customers.”
The FCC’s decision was totally predictable. Just as Obama guaranteed that the banks would would rob the U.S. Treasury blind, when he brought Bill Clinton’s old Wall Street gang into the White House, so Obama signed the death warrant for Internet Neutrality when he appointed Julius Genachowski as FCC chairman.
Genachowski was the top communications advisor to the Clinton White House and an architect of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. That infamous legislation led directly to the greatest corporate consolidation of radio and television stations in American history. Julius Genachowski is one of the reasons that today’s radio and TV landscape is such a wasteland of corporate sameness.
Now, he is positioned to do the same thing to the Internet, courtesy of Barack Obama, the guy who never made a promise he wasn’t prepared to break.
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