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Partisan neutrality?

Mike Masnick, posting on Techdirt, notes an unfortunate development in U.S. politics: the adoption of network neutrality as a partisan issue. At which point the discussion starts to sound eerily familiar:

The only reasons the telcos are in the position to violate network neutrality are because they’ve pretty much been granted subsidies and monopoly rights of way – and part of that bargain was that to increase competition, there needed to be open and fair access. To suddenly claim that we need a hands off approach is ignoring the fact that there’s never been a hands off approach and the companies involved were granted special rights.

This neutrality dilemma reminds me a lot of similar discussions of free markets. The difference is that it is a less mature discussion – for now. We have been talking about markets for a long time now, and we no longer frame the debate in terms of whether a market is simply free or un-free, as all markets exist in a relative state of freedom at all times.

The debate on neutrality, being younger, so it still sounds, like a bunch of people agitating for or against a perect state of being known as ‘neutrality’. But like freedom, neutrality an ethos, not a state of being. As Masnick implies, there may be such a thing as objective reality (I like to think so), but there is no such thing as objective neutrality.

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3 comments to Partisan neutrality?

  • Paul Marks

    Quite so:

    There should be no F.C.C.

    There should be many T.V. stations with different points of view – not the phony “objectivity” (i.e. standard statism) of the networks.

    Fox is a part alternative – but it shares many of their assumptions. Nor is a Republican fan club the same as free market supporting television news and current affairs service.

    It is like American newspapers, they are (mostly) part of the liberal left.

    But they all pretend to this “objective” stance.

    Perhaps it is the school of journalism sickness.

    There should be no “fair and balanced” claims (by Fox or anyone else).

    It should be “this is our point of view and we are proud of it – listen and watch”.

  • Uain

    We’ll have to all move to Utopia to see that kind of honesty from our news providers.

  • “Objectivity” is a delusion. There should be a thousand news providers in every market, each with a distinct point of view. Wait a minute. There are. They’re called blogs.