Net Neutrality campaigners’ “Day of Action” campaign earlier this month has been followed by what we might call a “Week of Apologies.”
House of Representatives Majority Whip Steve Scalise was recently targeted by a Bernie Sanders supporter and campaign worker, shot while practicing for a charity baseball game. Scalise has been in and out and back into the hospital, fighting for his life.
It thus may not have been the best time to propose billboard ads accusing him of having “BETRAYED YOU… AGAIN” [caps and punctuation in original] and having voted to “kill” – kill! — “your online privacy.”
And yet, that is what Fight for the Future, one group in the coalition to uphold Net Neutrality deigned a good idea to do. They sent out emails trying to raise money to put that same billboard in several different congressional districts, including Scalise’s. You can see an image of one version of the billboard here.
This drew a thorough denunciation from the Amazon, Google, and Facebook-mouthpiece the Internet Association.
Its president Michael Beckerman said in a statement that his rowdy coalition partner’s “latest efforts on net neutrality are unacceptable:
Fight for the Future’s latest efforts on net neutrality are unacceptable. Accusing a Member of Congress of ‘betrayal’ while he’s recovering in the hospital is despicable. This type of advocacy is not what Internet Association and our member companies stand for. Whip Scalise is an honorable and hard working Member of Congress and I consider him a friend. We look forward to having a spirited policy conversation with him when he’s back at 100% and continue to hope for his speedy recovery. . . . In contrast, the tactics being used by Fight for the Future are not constructive. It is disingenuous for Fight for the Future to oppose working with Congress on legislation, while at the same time attacking members of Congress on this issue.
Fight for the Future has tried to get beyond the controversy by claiming the reports that Scalise’s was included in emails proposing the billboards was a misunderstanding:
“The IA statement is based on an incorrect report,” said Greer. “Rep Scalise’s name was included in private emails to two reporters, due to a copy paste error, and corrected once brought to our attention. We would obviously not run billboards against somebody who is in the hospital.”
The real problem with the pro Net Neutrality coalition is that they have no standards, and this only underscores the problem with their attempts to muscle Internet Service Providers into not having any standards themselves.
The campaign ran into other problems last week because Kink.com, which pushes the consensual bounds of bondage- and sadomasochism-themed pornography, and PornHub were also proudly listed as public supporters.
One tends to associate with people who are like him or her; “A man is known by the company he keeps” ― Aesop
With friends like these, the Federal Communications Commission may have an easier time being an enemy of Net Neutrality. Rightly so.