Broad(band)side Slams ‘Obamanet’

WASHINGTON — Cable and telco broadband providers may have fired a broadside against the FCC’s new Title IIbased network-neutrality order in opening briefs at the end of July, but a real broadside, making similar points, had already been fired.

That came in the form of the book Against the Obamanet by Brian C. Anderson, published by Encounter Books.

The pamphlet, formatted to look like a tract from yesteryear, is just one in a series of such think pieces that includes titles such as How Medicaid Fails the Poor, The Cure for Obamacare and The Truth About Gun Control.

Encounter’s Broadsides division said its pamphlets “make the case for ordered liberty and the institutions of Democratic capitalism at a time when they are under siege from the resurgence of collectivist sentiment.”

“Collectivists” likely doesn’t refer to folks mounting butterflies or stamps.

Anderson, editor of conservative think tank The Manhattan Institute’s City Journal, echoes — or foreshadows, as review copies were sent out in mid-July — ISPs labeling of Title II as a power grab and expanding on it in the broadside spirit with rhetorical flourishes such as “Internet serfdom” and painting the FCC as a swollen bureaucracy that has protected monopolies, impeded innovation and curbed speech.

He also takes the concerns of FCC commissioner Ajit Pai about new net rules straying into content — under the amorphous general conduct standard, perhaps — and uses them to raise the specter of the Fairness Doctrine, which is often at the head of the parade of horribles.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.