Editorial: Thanks For Your Input

With all due respect to the president, his comments on the FCC’s network neutrality rules last week were just that, comments—to be included and vetted along with the millions of others the FCC has gotten. OK, granted, his will no doubt carry more weight, but they should not be the be-all and end-all.

That’s because, as Obama said and FCC chair Tom Wheeler emphasized, the FCC is an independent agency that must look at all the facts and arguments before making decisions. That means not bowing to any political pressure, no matter from how high up it comes.

The president’s call for Title II came in part as a response to a petition on the White House’s We the People online petition site. If a petition gets enough signatures, the president will respond.

A petition calling for Title II got enough support and the president last week updated the White House response with a video giving his fullthroated support to Title II.

Title II already has its issues, which the FCC has acknowledged, but one of the problems with the White House pitch was how it was presented.

The video starts with a mock version of those annoying circulating “buffering” signals, giving the impression it is taking time to load. A similar simulation was used on sites supporting tough network neutrality regs a while back.

This was followed by Obama’s statement that Title II is needed to insure “basic principles of openness.” So, the White House decided to essentially fake a slowed Internet to announce that it thinks the FCC needs to impose Title II to prevent the slowing of the Internet.

It may have seemed clever at the time, but it strikes this page as undercutting the message at least—so, is there a real snafu, or is the White House manufacturing one?

We doubt that’s the message the White House meant to convey.