Numerous reports have indicated that the FCC intends to try and hide its attack on net neutrality behind the looming Thanksgiving holiday. The agency is expected to either unveil its formal plan on Wednesday while Americans are distracted by holiday preparations, or potentially on Friday, while Americans are busy shopping for black Friday bargains. Regardless of when it’s unveiled, the announcement will involve unveiling a formal date to vote to finally kill the rules, currently expected to be December 15:
“It’s a devilishly brilliant plan by the FCC and its chairman, Ajit Pai, who has made no secret of his wish to undo the benchmark rules put in place during Barack Obama’s presidency. There will inevitably be plenty of people already enjoying their holiday break, and any major coverage on Wednesday will then be lost to a day of turkey, gravy, football, and indigestion, followed by three more days in which people won’t be looking at the news.”
Except this obfuscation plan isn’t “devilishly brilliant,” it’s a massive underestimation of the brutal backlash awaiting the broadband industry and its myopic water carriers. Survey after survey(including those conducted by the cable industry itself) have found net neutrality has broad, bipartisan support. The plan is even unpopular among the traditional Trump trolls over at 4chan /pol/ that spent the last week drinking onion juice. It’s a mammoth turd of a proposal, and outside of the color guard at the lead of the telecom industry’s sockpuppet parade — the majority of informed Americans know it.
Net neutrality has been a fifteen year fight to protect the very health of the internet itself from predatory duopolists like Comcast. Killing it isn’t something you can hide behind the green bean amandine, and it’s not a small scandal you can bury via the late Friday news dump. This effort is, by absolutely any measure, little more than a grotesque hand out to one of the least competitive — and most disliked — industries in America. Trying to obfuscate this reality via the holidays doesn’t change that. Neither does giving the plan an Orwellian name like “Restoring Internet Freedom.”
It’s abundantly clear that if the FCC and supporters were truly proud of what they were doing, they wouldn’t feel the need to try and hide it. If this was an FCC that actually wanted to have a candid, useful public conversation about rolling back net neutrality, it wouldn’t be actively encouraging fraud and abuse of the agency’s comment system. To date, the entire proceeding has been little more than a glorified, giant middle finger to the public at large, filled with scandal and misinformation. And the public at large — across partisan aisles — is very much aware of that fact.