THE BLOG

Dozens of Democrats in Congress to Stand with Glenn Beck & AT&T, Against Obama and the Public

05/24/2010 12:16 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Oddly, dozens of Democrats (perhaps 70 again) have signed a letter supporting the talking points and agenda of Glenn Beck and one his major corporate sponsors, AT&T. This letter also contradicts the technology agenda of Barack Obama, Obama's Federal Communications Commission, and the Democratic leaders of the House and Senate Commerce Committees that oversee the communications industry. The "congressional" letter is being peddled by cable and phone lobbyists to the staff of Democratic Congressmen who have a history of putting their names on cable and phone industry's debunked talking points, sometimes apparently without understanding their meaning.

This letter, being pushed by Rep Gene Green (D-TX), pertains to whether or not the Internet will remain an open engine of economic and democratic freedom. In D.C., legislators and lobbyists are debating something called "net neutrality," which is a common-sense FCC proposal to keep phone and cable companies from interfering with what you can do online and how you can use the Internet. Without net neutrality, phone and cable companies can limit your online speech and freedom. I think the Daily Show explains the issue best (here (with John Hodgman) and here).

Glenn Beck, who thinks Barack Obama is a anti-white racist Marxist leading a coup against our country, has launched a holy war against net neutrality. This guy from "Americans from Prosperity" comes on Beck's show and spews lies about net neutrality, mainly making bizarre claims that "net neutrality" is a "government takeover," not a rule to preserve the status quo. Surprise: AfP is funded by phone and cable companies and has launched a million dollar ad campaign of dishonest arguments.

The fight at the moment turns on whether the FCC should reverse the Bush era "deregulation" of Internet providers, something even Justice Scalia thought the FCC should have done long ago. Unless the FCC properly "reclassifies" broadband providers under the Communications Act, the FCC cannot stop the largest cable companies when they block the Bible or competing online TV providers.

In fact, a lot more is at stake with "reclassification": without it the FCC cannot implement its national broadband priorities to make sure all Americans have access to high-speed Internet access. The following national priorities are put in jeopardy without reversing the current "deregulation," according to the FCC's general counsel, a lawyer who has served both Republican and Democratic Chairmen:

accelerating broadband access and adoption in rural America;

connecting low-income Americans, Native American communities, and Americans with disabilities;

supporting robust use of broadband by small businesses to drive productivity, growth and ongoing innovation;

lowering barriers that hinder broadband deployment;

strengthening public safety communications;

cybersecurity;

consumer protection, including transparency and disclosure;

and consumer privacy.

Millions have spoken out in favor of net neutrality, reclassification, and an open Internet for all Americans. And President Obama said he would take a "backseat to no one" in his support of net neutrality.

But, rather than support the expert agency and their party's leadership on these issues ... some Democrats are joining AT& Glenn Beck (I mean ... AT&T and Glenn Beck), Comcast, corporate-funded groups like AfP, and others dead-set on derailing the Obama presidency.

Some Democrats in Congress have done this before--with 72 of them signing onto an infamous letter of cable talking points to pressure the FCC back in October. Many of them also receive a lot of money from the industry and its lobbyists. They are standing with the largest phone and cable companies, not with you. You have to wonder why the congressional leadership isn't educating their members on the centrality of this issue to the Obama economic and democratic agenda.

Someone should ask them why they're standing with Glenn Beck, AT&T, and Comcast, and against their own President and the FCC. And if the House leadership or the White House won't do it, for some reason, you might have to do it for them.