Will Microsoft, Yahoo!, Diller, etc. Send in the Ads to Save Net Neutrality?

It’s time for the six big new media corporate supporters of network neutrality to get real—or go back to Silicon Valley, Seattle, or Aspen. What’s needed now—after the disastrous and humiliating vote in the House—is the one thing that politicians really respect and fear—TV ads. Letters from Microsoft and visits from cyber wunderkinds aren’t enough, especially with the PR and lobbying blitz underwritten by the Telco’s. As the Senate Commerce Committee takes up network neutrality this week, it’s time for Gates, Brin, Barry Diller, Terry Semel, and Bezos to get real (we acknowledge with respect the work done by eBay CEO Meg Whitman asking one million of its members to take action).

The copy for the ad is a no-brainer: `The big Phone and Cable Companies (yes—our partners AT&T, Verizon, Comcast) want to have a monopoly over the Internet. They want to jack up the prices you and I pay for service. They want to transform the ‘Net into a pay as surf toll road filled with commercials and the kinds of programs the FCC will soon impose stiffer fines for. Help us stop them. (So, okay, that’s not the ad. But they can afford their own copywriter.)

So, we ask. Will these companies devote the resources—a pittance to their bottom lines—to help save the U.S. digital communications system from these corporate cutthroats? Or, are they really a two-faced bunch of new media conglomerates that don’t have the best interests for the democratic potential of the broadband Internet at heart?

Watch your TV screens to find out.

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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