Obama-appointed FCC chairman distances himself from Obama on so-called ‘net neutrality’

“Hours after President Obama called for the Federal Communications Commission to pass tougher regulations on high-speed Internet providers, the agency’s Democratic Chairman Tom Wheeler told a group of business executives that he was moving in a different direction,” Brian Fung and Nancy Scola report for The Washington Post. “Huddled in an FCC conference room Monday with officials from major Web companies, including Google, Yahoo and Etsy, agency Chairman Tom Wheeler said he has preferred a more nuanced solution.”

“White House aides had wrestled over whether Obama should publicly prod the FCC to adopt the strongest rules possible on the ‘net neutrality’ issue. Ultimately, aides felt that a public stance would galvanize allies in Congress as well as young, tech-savvy progressives, a key part of the Democratic base, according to several people familiar with the matter. The decision to speak out also comes as Democrats are aggressively courting Silicon Valley in preparation for the 2016 campaigns,” Fung and Scola report. “But the move by the White House has put Wheeler in an uncomfortable spotlight. The two men have long been allies. Wheeler raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Obama’s campaign and advised the president on his transition into the White House. Obama last year appointed Wheeler to lead the FCC as it was poised to tackle its biggest issue in years — the rules that govern content on the Web.”

“The aides saw a political upside to a strong statement. A key contingent of the president’s base — young, tech-savvy progressives — would be energized by the action, and a strong statement on net neutrality could also help his relationship with congressional Democrats, according to government and industry officials… ‘I see him almost salivating over a congressional fight, or a fight with the carriers, over this issue,” said the aide, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk on the record. “This is a populist issue he thinks he can win on,'” Fung and Scola report. “Wheeler worries that the president’s more drastic approach is too simplistic, according to people familiar with his thinking. With his long experience in the telecommunications industry, Wheeler is well aware of concerns that ill-considered regulations could stifle innovation and slow the growth of the country’s broadband infrastructure, those people said. And he worries that the White House is being naive about the ripple effects of changing how a major piece of national infrastructure is governed.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

Related articles:
What does so-called ‘net neutrality’ mean for Apple? – November 12, 2014
AT&T to pause fiber investment until net neutrality rules are decided – November 12, 2014
U.S. FCC plays Russian Roulette with so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 11, 2014
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner: Republicans will continue efforts to stop misguided scheme to regulate the Internet – November 10, 2014
Tech Freedom: Obama cynically exploits confusion over Title II, misses opportunity to lead on legislative deal – November 10, 2014
Obama want FCC to regulate the Internet; Cruz calls it ‘Obamacare for the Internet’ – November 10, 2014


  1. Isn’t it amazing how every time Obama is mentioned in a MDN headline, firsty and botty jump right in with their lists of right-wing talking points. Every time. Just look at the hate shooting out of them like their hoped-for 2nd Amendment war. It doesn’t matter that present false claims, everything is wrong if Obama is involved. Now we have the President (who won twice btw) in support of Net Neutrality, so of course it’s a bad thing that botty and firsty are against. Did it ever occur that without net neutrality, Comcast could just slow down MDN to a 404 crawl and you guys and your perpetual hate stream would be silenced? Oh, right. It’s Obama so it must be bad. You know, I heard he got a C in his College Algebra class!!!

  2. I pay to use the internet. $60.00 for 100 GB a month.

    Yes, I know, screwed without the fun.

    On top of this, incoming movies from Netflix are about to be double charged. Once to me and once to Netflix, from my internet provider.

    Double dipping is wrong.

  3. Goddammit MDN. Will you please stop being such collective cowards and explain, in clear terms, what the F*** your problem is with net neutrality? You’ve been posting these stories for ages, always with snarky headlines which make it clear that you have no respect for net neutrality and think it’s some kind of joke. But there’s almost never a Take. One time you said, “We’re on the side of consumers,” but left it at that, with no explanation as to why you think net neutrality doesn’t serve that interest.

    I think you owe it to your readers to post an editorial explaining your position. The only reason I figure that you don’t do this is because the comments on these postings show that at least half, probably a big majority, of your readers support net neutrality.

    Grow some damn b*lls, MDN. If you’re going take a position on this issue, f***ing take it. Stop with this snarky passive-aggressive poking.


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