Rick Manning

Conservatives Bizarrely Claim Net Neutrality Undermines The First Amendment

Sandy Rios of the American Family Association once again badly distorted the facts surrounding net neutrality in her radio show today, this time during an interview with Americans for Limited Government president Rick Manning.

While net neutrality is centered around treating all content equally and making sure that internet service providers do not favor certain kinds of content, the right-wing activists alleged that net neutrality will undermine content and even lead to government-led attacks on conservatives.

Rios claimed that net neutrality will give government bureaucrats the power to determine who can start a website, even though that claim is completely false. “I want to set up a website and then bureaucratic regulators will have to give me permission and I will have to pay and they will also see if my content is o.k. to be put out there on the internet,” Rios said.

“There is no doubt in the long term when the government takes control over not just the capacity to deliver internet services but also gets into the content monitoring game, which every indication is that they are doing that, at that juncture we have a real opportunity for free speech violations,” Manning said. “This net neutrality is just one area that President Obama has been engaged in a wholesale assault on First Amendment rights.”

The debate went even further off the rails when Rios and Manning claimed that Comcast is a strong supporter of the FCC’s decision to preserve net neutrality, with Manning telling Rios that “if I were Comcast, I’d be lobbying like crazy for this thing.”

“Comcast, owned by NBC, is all about net neutrality, they have been pushing and pushing and pushing it,” Rios said.

In reality, the exact oppose is true, as Comcast has joined AT&T and Verizon in fiercely opposing net neutrality, spending millions of dollars against the rules. Also, Comcast owns NBC, not the other way around.

Graphic credit: The Sunlight Foundation

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