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May. 17 2010 - 9:43 am | 1,044 views | 1 recommendation | 11 comments

Glenn Beck: Free information is good, Net Neutrality is bad

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It will come as a surprise to no one that the weeping demagogue recently shot another nonsensical contradiction into the ether. While giving the commencement address at Liberty University [hold for laughter to subside in 3...2...1] Beck chastised President Obama for his admittedly stupid “middle-aged man pretending to be confused by technology he probably uses every day for the sake of scoring cheap populism points” comment about iPods and iPads.

Beck’s point was that consuming information is good, information should be kept free, burning books is bad, and he encouraged Liberty’s graduating class to consume as much information as possible. It’s one of those empty platitudes no one in their right mind, who isn’t a fascist, would ever seriously argue i.e. the perfect commencement closer.

Yet, this is the same man who opposes Net Neutrality, the political movement that advocates no restrictions be placed on content or traffic in order to keep information free and open on the internet. Because pseudo-Libertarians like Beck have gotten it into their heads that government intervention is always, always bad, they’ve actually warped the idea of NN, and are now portraying it as censorship. Also, Satan is probably involved, too.

“We are dealing with people who think they should rebel until they get their little kingdom like Satan did,” said Beck. “You know what? Thanks, Mr. President, but I think we’re going to keep the Internet the way it is right now. You know—or at least until people who are worshipping Satan, you know, aren’t in office.”

NN is literally about keeping the internet free and open. It’s about keeping the internet the way it is. Opponents of NN are the ones who want to alter access and essentially create multi-tiered content that won’t be free and open to everyone, the very thing Beck claims he fears.

The fact that Beck can hold this level of cognitive dissonance between his ears without his head exploding serves as a wonderful demonstration. The far right’s mistrust of the government is so profound that they can convince themselves they are the victims of persecution even when the government is working on their behalf.

Regular readers of this blog know that I am a frequent and enthusiastic critic of the Obama administration, but on this topic (and most of the other topics he discusses,) Beck is wrong. NN is an essential part of preserving a democratic internet, and the flow of free information.


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  1. collapse expand

    Do you think Glenn Beck is aware that CATV stands for Community Antenna Television? That it was originally a means for the government to propagandize the masses through Public (read, Socialist) broadcasting? That governments mandate that subsidized cable plans be offered at low rates?

    Why does Glenn Beck willingly associate with such an obviously socialist medium under the thumb of big FCC?

  2. collapse expand

    “The fact that Beck can hold this level of cognitive dissonance between his ears without his head exploding serves as a wonderful demonstration. The far right’s mistrust of the government is so profound that they can convince themselves they are the victims of persecution even when the government is working on their behalf.”
    ________________

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that’s not it. He’s not confused about it; neither was Bachmann. They are liars, trying to convince the incredibly ignorant bulk of their constituency that black is white and up is down.

    If they can convince even a small portion that net neutrality equals censorship and tiered/controlled access somehow equals freedom, they’ve done their part. Disgusting, really.

  3. collapse expand

    I don’t know whether Glenn Beck believes the stuff that spews out of his mouth or whether he just considers himself an entertainer but he seems to have a pretty sizable following and that’s scary. There are actually people that listen to this kind of twisted logic and swallow it because it saves them from the need to think. I guess it takes all kinds.

  4. collapse expand

    We want to keep government out of the net and especially want to keep obama’s hands out of it

    • collapse expand

      Andy did you even bother to read the article this time or do you just go straight to the comment section and say something stupid. How would you feel if your internet provider decided that it didn’t like fox, beck or any of the other garbage that you get your propoganda from. So they slowed down the traffic to that website so that only a couple poeple could view it at a time. That is what they are trying to stop.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Here’s an idea, get a different internet provider. Except you theory does not make sense, since it would not be in the interest of IP to block or control content as customers would leave. The only reason Comcast throttled content, was it interfered with other customers. A small number of people were interfering with the quality of many customers.

        Once FCC applies rules, there will be no other choices.

        Perhaps we should apply progressive ideas and make the heaviest internet users be charged the least. Better yet, they get money back every year.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  5. collapse expand

    Once you’re done with the obsession with Beck, how about addressing the issues with NN?
    NN does have issues as addressed by EFF.
    http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/05/net-neutrality-fcc-trojan-horse-redux
    I was on a petition to fix issues with NN a few months ago. I still don’t trust FCC. It would only be a matter of time before special interest groups pressure FCC to apply “decency ” rules. They’ve already shown a history of doing just that.

    And why do we need new laws “to keep it like it currently is”? Makes as much sense as spending more money to get out of debt (except if you’re a gambling addict ).

    • collapse expand

      The large providers want to tax users for certain kinds of content/access (http://www.savetheinternet.com/frequently-asked-questions). As usual, this comes down to companies like AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner Cable squeezing more cash from their customers. NN keeps the internet level and open to all users.

      These companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying and disinformation campaigns. Unfortunately, people like Beck have become their unwitting (perhaps) accomplices.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        I have no problem with the idea of NN, it’s the method of how that is achieved and enforced that I have concerns (plus how its interpretation has evolved). With every government regulation, there will always be unintended consequences. One of those being uncertainties in the rules. Which can be destructive to the market.

        The problem arises when content is slowed based on the type of content. And any company that attempts control of a single application or content will be called out on it. With or without regulation.

        But then again, like our laws, I do agree with the idea that SIMILAR applications should be treated equally, not necessarily all applications. Multi-tiered service is a practical solution to keep the network robust. Most corporations already use QoS to ensure VOIP will win over http data on a congested network. Bandwidth unfortunately is not infinite.

        I also agree with IPs charging by the size of the bandwidth and volume going through it, just like electricity. As long as I am well informed of the conditions when I sign up.

        You’re just glazing over the NN issue and automatically chastising those that disagree or are skeptic without really understanding the whole picture or ramifications of regulation.

        The internet freedom preservation act is a good example of poor implementation of NN. It will only result in internet costs going up and as usual with regulation, prevent new competition and innovation.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  6. collapse expand

    Don’t ever put me in the same room as that fat ass, ugly, blow hard. I will break his goddamn neck and drink his blood, transform into a bat and vanish into the darkness where I will draw pentagrams behind wallpaper in shady hotel rooms, and leave a foul stench in your grandmas under wear drawer, for I am a satan worshipper too!~!!!!

  7. collapse expand

    To grant the government a regulatory power that would protect free speech would be tantamount to asking a sexual predator to chaperon a high school dance! In “The Federalist Papers”, Alexander Hamilton made it clear that prohibitions against government abuse of rights do not provide regulatory powers over such freedoms. This was written prior to the addition of a “Bill of Rights”. Hamilton was warning that such a statement of rights would provide easy avenues of deception to “men disposed to usurp”. It is ironic that the false reasoning he describes is similar to what he himself later employed in his own attacks against the protections granted by the Constitution.

    “I will not contend that such a provision would confer a regulating power; but it is evident that it would furnish, to men disposed to usurp, a plausible pretense for claiming that power. They might urge with a semblance of reason, that the Constitution ought not to be charged with the absurdity of providing against the abuse of an authority which was not given, and that the provision against restraining the liberty of the press afforded a clear implication, that a power to prescribe proper regulations concerning it was intended to be vested in the national government. This may serve as a specimen of the numerous handles which would be given to the doctrine of constructive powers, by the indulgence of an injudicious zeal for bills of rights.”—Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 84

    Even if it were appropriate for the government to claim such a power, the FCC’s own studies have found no significant examples of the abuses that “net neutrality” would supposedly prevent (news articles can only point to a single issue with a Pearl Jam concert). As soon as the FCC lost its court case to gain control of the internet, Obama started using Bush’s old “national security” tactic, drumming up fear that only the government can protect us from an online attack by terrorists. I have to seriously question why the government is so keen to fix something that they admit ain’t broke. Glenn Beck is often wrong, but he is right here. Perhaps you trust Obama to be the gatekeeper for which information you see, but what about the next guy? Would you trust another George Bush to control the flow of information? I trust neither. I would much rather have several competing interests managing my internet experience. Government has been shown time and time again to be the greatest source of oppression when it comes to free speech. The Constitution was meant to keep free speech out of the government’s hands, not to place it in its iron fist!

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