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Megyn Kelly’s Blatantly Biased Discussion Of Net Neutrality

Reported by Ellen - May 11, 2010 -

Megyn Kelly’s America Live show is supposedly within that Fox News period of “objective news shows,” as opposed to “opinion shows” (America Live airs from 1-3PM ET each weekday). But Kelly’s bias against net neutrality could not have been any more unmistakable and deliberate as she hosted what purported to be a “fair and balanced” debate on the subject. Yeah, fair and balanced if you don’t count the anti-net neutrality comments of the host all the way through, her repeatedly antagonistic interruptions of pro-net neutrality guest Josh Silver, of Free Press, and the extra air time she gave his opponent to speak without interruption. With video.

Even Kelly’s introduction was biased, inflammatory and little more than an echo of right wing talking points and fear mongering. She began, “A lot of folks worry that the federal government is trying to control more and more of our lives. Now, Uncle Sam is pushing to exert more control over the INTERNET (her emphasis)! Is that something we really want?”

To guest Jim Harper, of the libertarian Cato Institute (who just happened to get the first and the last word), she said, “This plays into some people’s fears that the Obama administration is getting bigger by the day and before he’s done, he’s gonna have his hands in too many aspects of Americans’ business. Is there a point?”

Not surprisingly, Harper agreed and echoed her right-wing talking points/fear mongering by saying that net neutrality would lead to national censorship.

Kelly made no similar effort to help present Silver's point of view, which is that net neutrality PROTECTS freedom of speech on the internet. In fact, Kelly did not bother to hide her hostility toward his position, She said,“Why? Why does the FCC now need to get involved in anything having to do with the internet? They control the television. And they control the radio and a lot of people are saying, ‘Why?’ …The internet was born… of this free-thinking, unregulated mindset. So what does government have to do with it?”

Silver said that net neutrality was not a law to regulate the internet but to regulate the “giant companies” that provide it and that it would prevent them from censoring content.

But before he could finish, Kelly interrupted him to “explain” what “net neutrality” means. She said with undisguised resentment, “You already lost a lot of our viewers.”

Even Kelly’s explanation of net neutrality was biased. “Basically, what has happened is… a court came down and told the Obama administration, ‘You can’t get involved in regulating the internet.’ And now they’ve found a way to do it. Do I misstate the case?”

“Yeah, you did,” Silver noted. He added that because of actions taken by the George W. Bush administration, the court said the FCC no longer has the authority to regulate the internet. Silver said the FCC needs to “make a move” if it wants to “keep the big companies from censoring content on the web.” Silver added, “This is not about government takeover of the internet and it never was.” Foxnews.com's article on the subject is consanant with Silver's explanation. Fox News’ contributor also Jeffrey Birnbaum seems to agree with Silver. Birnbaum wrote in a 2006 column about net neutrality, “Objections about regulating or deregulating are nothing more than an ideological misdirection. Washington is involved, like it or not, no matter what the outcome.”

Kelly interrupted again. She had offered the imprimatur of legitimacy to the right-wing side of the debate when she speaking to Harper but she offered no such courtesy to Silver. Instead, she turned to Harper and said, without bothering to hide her disdain, “Is that right, Jim? Because everything I’ve read about this says, ‘This is a push, this is the beginnings of a push by the Obama administration to control the internet to some extent.'”

In that case, Kelly must only be reading right-wing analysis. If she had merely Googled “net neutrality,” she would have found that Common Cause supports net neutrality as a protection of freedom of speech, that Google believes, “While we’re not wed to any particular legal theory to justify the FCC’s jurisdiction, we do believe some minimal oversight over broadband networks is essential” and that Wikipedia correctly notes that Gun Owners Of America and the Christian Coalition of America also support net neutrality as a protection of rights, and do not view it as an encroachment.

Harper was allowed an uninterrupted length of time, longer than any amount Silver got, to expound upon his alternatives to net neutrality.

Silver shook his head in disagreement with Harper's prescriptions and looked as though he’d have appreciated an opportunity to rebut. But Kelly concluded the segment by saying, “I’ve got to leave it at that.”

You can contact Kelly at Kelly@foxnews.com.


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