[Cross-posted at The Left Coaster.]
As the appalling news arrived yesterday that the FCC mentally flipped and decided the internet was best served for corporate masters I remembered the many media observations of blogger Duncan Black: the internet is an accident, it never would have been set up in an open, public way like this by the insatiably greedy corporate masters who own the infrastructure.
Status quo media interests are simultaneously threatened by the new technology of the web and yet are presented with many opportunities. Rather than honestly adapt, work and change these very deep pocket interests fiercely hold onto what they know and try to either thwart the technology completely or find a crucial switch in the infrastructure to obviate its usefulness or unfairly bend it toward their advantage.
We’ve seen this story before as FM radio and cable TV technologies emerged. Need something awesome to read? The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu is a fascinating and riveting account and what corporate America will obdurately perform in decades of work to make sure technology serves their greed, not the little people.
Watching the net neutrality fight over the years I’ve been dismayed at the infinite tenacity of vast corporate money, every freaking year some horrible internet bill would be introduced to Congress, every god damn year web activists would frantically sound the alarm, troops are rallied and the bill defeated. Then like the tide the corporate slaves to greed come right back and the fight starts again.
With the history of DC and its sickening ability to be bought there was no way the little people were going to keep the internet open, no way. Sure enough, Congress failed deep corporate media interests enough times so they brought their hammer to the FCC. A complete mental flip, a terrible betrayal of the base and little people by such an action? Well fuck them, lie to them, scare them, then hope they forget when election time comes.
If perhaps there is some doubt on the harsh judgment of American government primarily serving corporate interests simply look to the energy sector, oil and gas get annual subsidy money that exceeds the cost of food stamps. DC is completely captured by the oil and gas industry, they are going to fry this planet and our species alive just for their god damn profits and fear. DC is going to help them the entire way, absolutely nothing will be done with climate change by the next President.
In the history of emerging media technologies unfortunately the solution for the little people is to pay and wait it out. We’re going to get screwed—magnitude as yet unknown—in higher costs and lost opportunities for decades until somehow the market or other technologies obviate this particular environment. Sometimes the emergence is all right, sometimes it’s crap (FM radio never came close to its full potential).
[sigh] Another fun day in watching the American political system fail its people. As I contemplate another betrayal I’m reminded of the frantic and ceaseless warnings from liberal web activists to get out the vote for the midterm elections , when we vote Republicans and the corporate agenda are held at bay.
Well wake up and sniff in that hurricane waft of bullshit, my friends, it’s simply impossible to slap me in the face with betrayal like this and then be smug that at least we’re not those fundamentalist whacko wingnut Republicans. No, we certainly are not, but the little people have been sold out so many times to corporatists and militarists it hardly matters anymore. Please tell me, is all the frantic work we performed for Democrats and Obama worth it as the internet is smashed and cashed in?
[shrugs] One supposes that the Democratic Party leadership judged that only a small fraction of junkies and activists really knows what’s going on, they’ll confuse the rest, most will forget by the election and the activists will vote for them anyway. Take the money and get elected in whatever political environment exists in the moment, long-term principles for the little people are for suckers.
Not a very good political strategy, really, with an appalling result for the country, environment and little people. Yet this is inevitable result from selling out to corporate money, DC is completely captured by it, do not degrade yourself or your intellectual heritage by denying it’s not. The little people hold on, not fooled in the least and hoping for the best.