Former Clinton press secretary Mike McCurry is deceiving the public, and its making my blood boil. With this Op-Ed in the Washington Times and this one on MyDD on behalf of the telco cartel, McCurry shows himself as either willfully dishonest in the debate over Internet freedom or just plain cluesless. Now, to be clear, working as a lobbyist for telecommunications companies is fine. As he explained in a comment on MyDD, he's just paying his mortgage. What's NOT fine is that he's misrepresenting the fight. McCurry is pretending to uphold the Clinton legacy on the internet.From MyDD:
I joined the effort opposing regulated net neutrality because, contrary to what you write, it's absolutely consistent with the Clinton Administration's policies toward the Internet. The Internet became a true mass-market medium during our eight years
These so-called "net neutrality" regulations would completely undercut this legacy.
And from the Washinton Times:
In my view, we're far better off continuing on the sound path the Clinton Administration established.
We agree we need to continue down the path of the Clinton/Gingrich years. So thats not the issue. The issue is: Who in this debate stands on the side of the Clinton legacy of a free and open Internet where the little guy can turn a small idea into a big idea online? The giant telecom cartel? Not exactly. You see, what McCurry did not tell the public was that during the Clinton years, the FCC actively enforced net neutrality the Internets First Amendment against his telecom clients. Common carrier statutes have in fact been a bedrock principle of telecommunications law since 1934, and in 1996 Congress ratified that with a commitment to network neutrality. Yet less than a year ago, in August, 2005, the Clinton -Gingrich policy of enforced network neutrality was radically upended by the FCC
The FCC said that phone companies such as Verizon, SBC, BellSouth, Qwest and other local telcos will no longer be regulated by traditional telephone rules when it comes to their DSL broadband services. The FCC agreed unanimously to classify DSL broadband as an "information service" rather than a telephone service. Phone companies will no longer be required open their broadband networks to access by third-party ISPs.
After a one-year transition period, the phone companies can arbitrarily end any agreements they were forced to make with independent ISPs. During the transition year, the ISPs can attempt to negotiate new deals, but the cards are all in the hands of the telcos.
In other words, you know all that nice Clinton-Gingrich policy that made the internet work? Yeah, after a one year transition period, that's gone, as a sort of sunset provision for the free internet sets. This is incredibly sneaky. What McCurry is doing is couching a radical change to the internet in the guise of the status quo.
McCurry knows that due to the actions of the industry he represents, we are in the waning months of the Clinton/Gingrich-era internet, where telcos are forced to treat everyone fairly. In three months, we won't be there anymore unless Congress passes Net Neutrality legislation. It's funny how the telcos want Congress to cement the FCCs radical change to the Clinton/Gingrich era into the law while no one's looking all while pretending others are advocating such radical change. And McCurry's treatment of this fact is simplistic and gallingly deceptive.
The Internet, now in its adolescence, is healthy and growing nicely. There is not even the slightest hint of illness... Having government now step in to administer treatments would be bad bureaucratic medicine.
That is absolutely false. The government did step in, a year ago, and the changes are going to take effect in three months. In other words, if we do not revert back to the Clinton-Gingrich policies that protected network neutrality, the free internet as we know it has three months to live.
Now, Mike McCurry is a nice and a smart guy, and I have a lot of respect for him and his communications skills. The problem is that here he's operating in bad faith. He might just be lying, or he might be just too clueless to know any better. It doesn't really matter; McCurry just shouldn't be involved in public policy in this area. Anyone who pretends that a massive giveaway to anti-competitive private interests is somehow a continuation of the status quo is not fit to responsibly create policy around something as vital as the internet.