World  
comments_image Comments

Bill Moyers: America Can't Deal With Reality -- We Must Be Exposed to the Truth, Even If It Hurts

Many people inhabit a closed belief system on whose door they have hung the "Do Not Disturb" sign.

Continued from previous page

 
 
Share
 
 
 

There are other uses of the disclosures from WikiLeaks admirably compiled by Greg Mitchell in the current edition of The Nation, where the one-time editor of Editor and Publisher performed an important public service by culling the gold from the dust.

I will close with an urgent appeal to you about one fight we won't win unless all of us join it. I'm sure everyone here agrees that we will eventually be moving to the web, all of us and that "free, instant, worldwide connectivity" is the future. But I'm sure you know that this incredible, free, open Internet highway is at risk, that corporations are on the brink of muscling their way to the front of the line. Media companies want the power to censor Internet content they don't like, to put toll booths on the web so they can charge more for the privilege of driving in the fast lanes, to turn it into a private preserve.

You may have heard that last month the FCC decided to protect free/open Internet access only on landline connections, not wireless - which is to say, there's no net neutrality in most of the online world. As Jenn Ettinger of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Free Press reported in Yes! magazine just two days ago:

The rules that the FCC passed in December are vague and weak. The limited protections that were placed on wired connections, the kind you access through your home computer, leave the door open for the phone and cable companies to develop fast and slow lanes on the Web and to favor their own content or applications.

Worse, the rules also explicitly allow wireless carriers ... to block applications for any reason and to degrade and de-prioritize websites you access using your cell phone or a device like an iPad.

Perhaps the FCC is biding its time, waiting to see how things develop technologically, with the current FCC chair seemingly more open to citizen input than was his predecessor. Or, again, maybe the landline regulation was meant simply to get media reformers off the commission's back. We can't relax our vigilance. In Ettinger's words:

The FCC still has the opportunity to put in place a solid framework that would put the public interest above the profit motive of the phone and cable companies that it is supposed to regulate. And the FCC should take immediate steps to close the loopholes it created, to strengthen its rules and to include wireless protections. The fight is far from over. We can work to change the rules, demand better oversight and consumer protections and make sure that the big companies can't pad their bottom lines on the backs of their customers.

In this effort, we have a strong ally in FCC commissioner Michael Copps, who. on my broadcast last year, spelled out how "our future is going to ride on broadband. How we get a job is going to ride on broadband. How we take care of our health. How we educate ourselves about our responsibilities as citizens ... And it's absolutely imperative that we have a place, that we have a venue to go to, to make sure that that Internet is kept open ... That's our decision to make as a people, as citizens: who's going to control this ultimately?"

With all the media consolidation that's happening today, the web may be the last stand of independent factual broadcasters like you. The stakes are high and we have come to the decisive round. I'll leave you with a story Joseph Campbell told me years ago for my series "The Power of Myth." It seems a fellow rounding the corner saw a fight break out down the block. Running up to one of the bystanders, he shouted: "Is this a private fight or can anyone get in it?"

 
See more stories tagged with: