“Freedom of the Press is Only Guaranteed to Those Who Have One.”

For a brief moment there, we all had one: the Internet.

We just lost it.

Late Monday, a majority of the FCC’s commissioners indicated that they’re going to vote with Chairman Julius Genachowski for a toothless Net Neutrality rule.

According to all reports, the rule, which will be voted on during tomorrow’s FCC meeting, falls drastically short of earlier pledges by President Obama and the FCC Chairman to protect the free and open Internet. …

instead of a rule to protect Internet users’ freedom to choose, the Commission has opened the door for broadband payola – letting phone and cable companies charge steep tolls to favor the content and services of a select group of corporate partners, relegating everyone else to the cyber-equivalent of a winding dirt road. …

Instead of re-establishing the FCC’s authority to act as a consumer watchdog over the Internet, it places the agency’s authority on a shaky and indefensible legal footing — giving ultimate control over the Internet to a small handful of carriers.

Timothy Karr: Obama FCC Caves on Net Neutrality — Tuesday Betrayal Assured

The headline is a quote from H. L. Mencken. I have used it before.

Back in April, 1980, in an article for Lansing Magazine, I wrote about the coming of the internet (which I did not invent or name but did anticipate), and quoted Mencken from memory (but did not cite him, not yet having an internet track him down).

Once there exists a widespread network of personal computers, exactly who will newspapers and magazines serve? Those who want to disseminate information will tie directly into that network, as will those who want to receive it. Someone once said that freedom of the press is only guaranteed to those who have one. Anyone with access to the network I am describing will have access to the most powerful press in history. What will society be like when everyone actually has freedom of the press?

It is ironic that people have long feared the computer as a tool of Big Brother. In fact, it is governments which should fear the coming of the micro. … Every man a magazine!

Freedom of the press for those of us without one was a lot of fun while it lasted.

Why don’t we just call ourselves the United Corporations of America and be done with it?

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