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MoveOn Blamed For Net Neutrality Failure

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What had been a bipartisan look at the future of Internet access, and if broadband firms should be able to charge content providers a premium in exchange for guaranteed digital delivery, became a partisan issue after MoveOn entered the debate.

Net neutrality is the concept where all traffic on the Internet receives equal treatment. Packets go from place to place without one getting bumped ahead of the others. Such a status has helped contribute to the benefits of sharing and creating content and services online.

As noted by Jason Lee Miller and numerous others, the Department of Justice gave a thumbs-up to prioritization of Internet traffic. If you want the best chance of consistently delivering content to your visitors, you’re going to have to pay.

So much has been said about net neutrality that it seemed maintaining a status quo that has helped businesses boom (and send more taxes to Washington) would be easy to accomplish. It didn’t happen that way.

CNet writer Declan McCullagh summed up ten reasons (really nine, he blames the Bush Administration twice) why net neutrality fell harder than a sack of wet cement. In his final reason, McCullagh calls vociferous net neutrality advocate MoveOn out for indirectly carrying the day for the other side:

Most technology debates in Congress aren’t especially partisan: Both Democrats and Republicans fall over each other to enact unconstitutional restrictions on free speech when it comes to laws like the Communications Decency Act. The R&D tax credit is another. But somehow along the way, perhaps because Internet companies allied themselves so closely with MoveOn.org (hardly a non-partisan group), it became a partisan issue. And that led to the usual partisan gridlock.

McCullagh also cited a conversation with Heritage Foundation senior research fellow James Gattuso, who thought the for-profit members backing net neutrality became a little frightened at the partisanship, and worse, being affiliated with the stridency of the “hard left”:

“Some of the rhetoric got a bit out of control on the left. They started talking about the evils of pricing and the evils of price discrimination in markets. Anyone in the corporate side had to have second thoughts about that.”

We contacted MoveOn for comments about these views, but the organization, which has been so active in getting the net neutrality message out, has not responded to that request. This seems like the wrong time to go silent.

MoveOn Blamed For Net Neutrality Failure
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