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Thursday, 29 June 2006 13:43

Support Senator Wyden's Efforts to Save the Internet

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A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL Barely noticed this week was this news item: A Senate Committee, on a tie vote, failed to pass out a measure that would preserve the pro-democracy concept of "Net Neutrality." The House has already defeated "Net Neutrality" and opened the net up to the predatory practices of Telecom companies. BuzzFlash wrote several commentaries and headlines denouncing the progressive websites who took money to post misleading and deceptive ads from theTelecom lobby. Many of them not only posted one ad, but posted two or three in succession, for weeks. Many of them responded to critics with inane and self-serving excuses that were as ludicrous as the double-talk that these same sites denounce the right wing for making. BuzzFlash hasn't weighed in on the controversies currently raging about the credibility of certain blogs. The progressive community on the net is too small to start shooting around at each other in a circle. But the issue of net neutrality is different. It is a life and death issue for all of the pro-democracy forces on the Internet. If we lose this battle, the Net may see itself fade into citizen participation and a diversity of viewpoints? Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon is signaling that he is prepared to filibuster for a net neutrality provision in the overall telecommunications bill before congress (which, by the way, will give large companies even greater latitude to profiteer cable TV, as well as not prohibit them from carving up the Internet as we know it). Some of the websites who ran the ads argued that they wrote editorial content supporting net neutrality, but that was undercut by blatantly deceptive ads that misled readers about the issue. For all we know, the ads are still up. (It doesn't really do much to support net neutrality in a commentary that disappears quickly, while the "hang the Internet" ads stay up day after day.) That's a shameful sign that some members of the progressive net lack the spine and sense of strategic responsibility that they decry the centrist Democrats for not having. But at this point, the only recourse we all have is to contact as many senators as possible and tell them not to support the Telecom bill unless it includes the net neutrality provision. Encourage them to join Senator Wyden in holding the bill hostage (and there are plenty of goodies for the Telecom companies without letting them destroy democracy on the Internet). You can reach Senator Wyden's office and the offices of other senators by finding their contact information at http://www.senate.gov. For more information, go to http://www.savetheinternet.com. The time is now. A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL Recruit 5 people to sign up for BuzzFlash alerts and help spread the truth: http://www.buzzflash.com/alerts/subscribe.php