May 3, 2017
A week after FCC Chair Ajit Pai outlined his plan to kill net neutrality, the internet providers who support his proposal are spinning the effort harder than a 20-something at SoulCycle. The basic message from companies like Comcast and Verizon is this: “We don’t want to get rid of net neutrality and/or an open internet itself. We merely want to do away with the rules through which net neutrality was established, because reclassifying broadband providers under Title II was bad.”
Theoretically, it’s smart strategy. Who the fuck really knows what Title II is, let alone net neutrality? Jargon like this can be useful, especially when it’s used to distract consumers who don’t have much expertise in arcane policy procedures. After all, most people probably don’t know that Title II is the only thing that gives our current net neutrality policy any teeth.
It’s important to remember, however, that ISPs are also pretty clueless, particularly when it comes to convincing the public to trust them. In the clumsy hands of telecom giants whose terrible reputation precedes them, the plan of attack has turned into a chorus of lame blog posts, bizarre videos, and frantic tweets at random people on the internet. In fact, so far, the fight they’ve put up has been odd, uncertain, and, frankly, lame as hell.