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Tuesday, October 21, 2014
NewsBusters' Zinger Fail
Topic: NewsBusters

A lot of right-wingers didn't like Jon Stewart's attempt to get Bill O'Reilly to admit that white privilege exists. One of them is NewsBusters' Jack Coleman, who ranted in an Oct. 16 post:

How about that, Stewart got it right. When he claims white privilege still exists, Stewart is correct -- and he doesn't have to look far for evidence. His own cable show, the one that has made him immensely wealthy and influential, provides it. And since liberals see power, wealth, influence, etc., as zero-sum equations, each must have come to Stewart at the expense of other people. Surely some were people of color.

[...]

[Mediaite's Joe] Concha linked to a Reuters story from August on lack of diversity among Stewart's guests -- and the numbers "start to look very grim indeed." Sixty-eight percent were white and the few African-American guests were all entertainers. "Out of 45 guests, just three were women of color," according to Reuters, referring to one of the least covered fronts in the war on women.

Since Stewart is so passionate about the corrosive "residue" of white privilege -- wherever it exists -- he surely won't allow it to persist at a workplace where he's been instrumental in perpetuating it.

Coleman apparently thinks this is some kind of gotcha zinger. But he apparently missed the end of the show on which the Stewart-O'Reilly argument took place, where Stewart said: "Don't think I don't realize that I'm not the ideal advocate for the convesation I was having with Bill O'Reilly."

Coleman also somehow overlooked O'Reilly's own zinger in the extended interview, telling Stewart that "in your case, there is white privilege. The fact that you're here sitting there -- he doesn't even shave."

Coleman also failed with his account of this exchange:

"If there's white privilege then there has to be Asian privilege," O'Reilly countered, citing higher incomes among Asian Americans.

Stewart -- Depends on where they're from.

O'Reilly -- They're from Asia, they're Asian Americans. (Zing! That one must have stung).

Actually, it does depend on which Asians you're talking about. The Chinese experience in America is undeniably different than, say, the Japanese experience or the Vietnamese experience or the Thai experience.

Maybe Coleman needs to have his zinger detector recalibrated.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:26 PM EDT
Monday, October 6, 2014
NewsBusters' Blumer: It's 'Too Easy' To Vote
Topic: NewsBusters

In the midst of using a Sept. 29 NewsBusters post to whine about coverage of the upholding of an Ohio early-voting law, Tom Blumer demonstrates his hostility to early voting:

Ohio had no early voting of any kind until 2006. The system was simple: Vote on Election Day or vote absentee if you had a valid excuse out of a list about ten possible reasons for doing so. No one complained until a George Soros-backed group attempted to impose an early-voting and redisctricting regime on the state through the initiative process. The "Reform Ohio Now" initiatives went down by 2-1 margins.

Nevertheless, Ohio's current voting regime is about as easy as can be — too easy, in yours truly's opinion[.]

Blumer does not expaned on how difficult he thinks voting should be.

Blumer also complains about an "activist judge" who supported "having 28 days of early voting instead of 35." But he doesn't explain that, according to the Associated Press article he's complaining about, there was 35 days of early voting until the Republican-controlled Ohio legislature reduced it to 28. The court ruling in question denied an attempt to restore the original early-voting schedule; Blumer sneered that the civil rights groups who supported the restoration were "misnamed" and that "During the 41 years after the Voting Rights Act's passage, no court ruled that Ohio's election system violated [it]."


Posted by Terry K. at 5:02 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 30, 2014
NewsBusters Thinks WMDs Were Found In Iraq
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters' Tom Blumer desperately wants to cling to the idea that weapons of mass destruction really were found in Iraq.

Blumer rants in a Sept. 29 post:

Apparently, "There were no WMDs in Iraq" is the left's Iraq War equivalent of their false "settled science" on human-caused global warming. Of course, climate science isn't settled at all, given that there hasn't been any warming in almost 19 years.

What is settled is that there really were WMDs in Iraq. The left's, Democrats' and others' claims that there were none — zero, zip, nada — is what is self-evidently false.

Wikileaks documents, purloined by Bradley/Chelsea Manning, considered a folk hero by many, show that there WMDs in Iraq.

Blumer cites as evidence of this a Wired report noting that the WikiLeaks findings show that "Remnants of Saddam’s toxic arsenal, largely destroyed after the Gulf War, remained" and that no "evidence of some massive WMD program by the Saddam Hussein regime — the Bush administration’s most (in)famous rationale for invading Iraq."

Blumer also cites the existence of uranium yellowcake in Iraq as evidence of WMDs.

Blumer huffs that the Wired writer "tries to minimize the impact by overstating the Bush administration’s actual position." But Blumer is also overstating the opposite position. Nobody is claiming that "zero, zip, nada" chemical or nuclear weapons were found in Iraq. The standard as articulated by the Bush administration prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq was that Saddam Hussein was amassing WMDs that posed an "imminent" threat to the U.S.

Degraded, decaying 20-year-old chemical weapons aren't WMDs as defined by the Bush administration. Non-enriched, natural uranium that Iraq had no capability to enrich aren't WMDs either.

Nevertheless, Blumer concludes: "There were WMDs at the time of the Iraq invasion, and it's not arguable." Actually, it is -- just don't expect Blumer to admit it.


Posted by Terry K. at 8:38 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
NewsBusters Misinformation Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

In the midst of a freakout over Salon suggesting that George Wallace was a Republican, P.J. Gladnick goes on a misinformation spree in a Sept. 12 NewsBusters post. In whining that a Salon article on Republican voter suppression "is chock full of blatant attempts to rewrite history," Gladnick engages in his own revisionism.

Gladnick complains that Salon references "the myth of the 'stolen' Florida 2000 election , citing a CNN report that "Bush's margin would have tripled if the 'undercounted' ballots had been checked as Gore wanted." In fact, a news consortium that reviewed all presidential ballots in the 2000 election in Florida found that "Gore might have eked out a victory if he had pursued in court a course like the one he publicly advocated when he called on the state to 'count all the votes.'"

Gladnick then has a fit over Salon's claimthat "the parties switched places over civil rights," citing a random guy at an obscure history bulletin board to claim that "With only one exception [Strom Thurmond], all of the Democrat segregationists remained Democrats when that [civil rights] era ended."

But that's miseading -- because the Southern shift from Democrat to Republican didn't happen immediately doesn't mean that there was never a shift. Jody Seaborn points out

The party shift was underway. It was multilayered and would take decades to complete, but Johnson was right. The South was a conservative stronghold in 1964. It remains so. What has changed over the past 50 years is the region that was once solidly Democratic, with only a handful of Republican representatives and senators scattered here and there, is now solidly Republican. And the passage of the Civil Rights Act is a big reason why.

Jamelle Bouie wrote at the American Prospect:

White Southerners jumped ship from Democratic presidential candidates in the 1960s, and this was followed by a similar shift on the congressional level, and eventually, the state legislative level. That the former two took time doesn’t discount the first.

Gladnick also complained that Salon cited an alleged voter fraud complaint in Georgia but "very conveniently did not mention that Kemp's investigation was initiated by complaints at the local county level by election officials of registration irregularities." But Gladnick conveniently didn't mention that the group conducting the voter registration drive at the heart of the complaint, by state law, must turn in all voter registration forms even if they are incomplete. The Washington Post also reported that the group "reached out to the secretary of state’s office proactively in June to ensure they complied with state law."

If Gladnick couldn't manufacture the kind of outrage he cobbled together for his post, would he still be a NewsBusters blogger?


Posted by Terry K. at 10:03 PM EDT
Tuesday, September 2, 2014
NewsBusters' Blumer Repeats Misleading Claim About Arctic Ice
Topic: NewsBusters

Tom Blumer is very excited in an Aug. 30 NewsBusters post:

Ice, ice baby. That's what they have a lot more of in the Arctic.

The UK Daily Mail, one of those British tabloids the left has despised going back to the Clinton administration and its paranoia about a right-wing media conspiracy, reports from authoritative sources — the kind the U.S. establishment press uses when it seems to support the hoax known as human-caused global warming — that the Arctic ice cap has expanded rapidly in the past two years. In doing so, it has made up all of what was lost between 2009 and 2012 with a slight margin to spare. Seven years ago, former Vice President and leading global warming false alarmist Al Gore predicted that "It could be completely gone."

Because this makes Al Gore look bad, the story is too good for Blumer to fact-check. Maybe he thinks he doesn't need to because the Mail's sources are so "authoritative" that they don't need fact-checking. Slate's Phil Plait does a fact-slap on the Daily Mail, which he points out is "to scientific accuracy what a sledgehammer is to an egg":

This claim is a humdinger, and typical denial double-speak. It’s technically true, but also really wrong. It’s like examining someone who has a 106° fever and saying it’s really made their skin glow. 

[...]

Mentioning Gore is at best a distraction, red meat to the deniers. Gore isn’t a climate scientist, and as we well know actual climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that the world is warming. One of the outcomes of this is the decline of Arctic sea ice.

Briefly: Arctic sea ice reaches a minimum in late September every year. The overall trend for the amount of ice at that time is decreasing; in other words, there is less ice all the time. Some years there is more than others, some less. But the trend is down, down, down.

In 2012, a mix of unusual causes created conditions where the minimum reached a record low, far below normal. The next year, in 2013, the ice didn’t reach quite so low a minimum extent, and this year looks very much the same as 2013. But saying the ice is “recovering” is, to put it delicately, what comes out the south end of a north-facing bull. You can’t compare two years with a record low the year before that was due to unusual circumstances; you have to look at the average over time.

Of course, if you do, your claims that global warming isn’t real melt away.

Plait cites actual authoritative sources, unlike the Daily Mail sources Blumer places his faith in, and even supplies a chart demonstrating the trend of declining Arctic ice over time and, thus what a bunch of bull the Daily Mail article is:

Since Blumer claims to know his authoritative sourcees, perhaps he can explain why "authoritative sources" that conform to his right-wing agenda are so much better than actual authoritative sources who don't.

Posted by Terry K. at 10:07 PM EDT
Friday, August 22, 2014
NewsBusters Makes Anti-Obama Screed Quietly Disappear
Topic: NewsBusters

Mark Finkelstein used a Aug. 20 NewsBusters post to promote an anti-Obama screed:

Weak Sauce: Obama White House 'Appalled' By ISIS Beheading of Journalist

"Appalled"? Really?  Gee, why didn't President Obama go all out and announce that he was "dismayed" by the ISIS beheading of an American journalist. Was "appalled" really the strongest reaction this administration could muster?  Apparently, yes.  Here was the White House statement: "we are appalled by the brutal murder of an innocent American journalist, and we express our deepest condolences to his family and friends."

Let's try out a statement that an American president who truly represented our nation's values and interests might have issued: "The search is underway for those who were behind these evil acts. I have directed the full resources of our intelligence and law enforcement communities to find those responsible and to bring them to justice. We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them."  Oh, wait.  Can't have that.  That was the statement that President George W. Bush delivered on September 11, 2001.  More after the jump.

Guess President Obama didn't want to incite or offend the terrorists.  So rather than expressing anger and the determination to avenge this murder, Obama contents himself with such weak sauce.  That's not how you deal with and defeat terrorists.  Will this president ever figure that out?

A day later, however, Finkelstein's screed disappeared. Why? Perhaps because it was so blatantly partisan, and such partisan activity violates the tax-exempt status of its parent, the Media Research Center -- something the MRC occasionally has trouble understanding.

NewsBusters didn't explain any of that to its readers, though -- it simply deleted Finkelstein's post without explanation or apology, and the URL for the post returns only an "Access denied" message. Talk about weak sauce.

It's still in Bing cache, though, so read it while you can. Oh, and here's a screenshot for posterity:


Posted by Terry K. at 2:54 PM EDT
Sunday, August 17, 2014
NewsBusters Ignores Simple Facts, Fails At Being A Limbaugh Apologist
Topic: NewsBusters

The folks at the Media Research Center are seemingly contractually obligated to defend whatever Rush Limbaugh says, no matter how offensive -- which would explain why so many MRC employees endorsed his disgusting attacks on Sandra Fluke.

Lesser Limbaugh offenses, meanwhile, get a more full-throated defense. Witness Randy Hall's Aug. 14 NewsBusters post (emphasis is his):

It's always interesting when liberals and members of the mainstream media think they've caught conservative icon Rush Limbaugh making an inappropriate comment during his three-hour weekday radio program. Even though almost none of them bother to actually listen to his remarks, the outrage flies from online posters and news outlets across the country.

This was the case on Tuesday, when Limbaugh's discussion of the suicide by beloved comedian Robin Williams was misquoted to say that the iconic actor killed himself because of a leftist worldview.

Curiously missing from Hall's post, however, is any direct quote of Limbaugh's original remarks on Williams. Hall is simply regurgitating Limbaugh's complaint -- as so often happens when he gets called out for saying something he shouldn't have -- that he was misquoted and/or taken out of context by the liberal media.

Thus, Hall's readers will never know that Limbaugh did, in fact, link Williams' suicide to a "leftist worldview," claiming that Williams' alleged survivor's guilt over several of his friends who died young "is a constant measurement that is made by political leftists in judging the country."

Hall concludes that claiming that "liberals fail to understand the bond between Limbaugh and his listeners, who have remained loyal during the radio host's ups and downs since 1988." Given that Hall took Limbaugh's defensive remarks at face value rather than bothering to examine what Limbaugh actually said, that bond apparently includes ignoring clear facts in order to maintain a cult of personality.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:54 PM EDT
Friday, August 15, 2014
NewsBusters Endorses Attack On Sharpton Featuring Vile Racial Slur
Topic: NewsBusters

A former basketball player hurled a vile racial slur at Al Sharpton, and NewsBusters has no problem with it.

NewsBusters' Randy Hall was so unbothered by it, in fact, that he put it right in the headline of his Aug. 14 post: "Sharpton Hits Back at Critic Who Called Him 'Coon' for Seeking Publicity After Ferguson Shooting."

So unbothered was Hall by this racial slur that he went on to endorse the message of the critic -- onetime NBA star Gilbert Arenas, best known for the gun obsession that got him suspended from the Washington Wizards --that Sharpton is "a publicity-seeking 'coon'" and even bolded the word in his excerpt of Arenas' rant:

That initial reaction came from Gilbert Arenas, a former guard for the Washington Wizards National Basketball Association team, who begged Brown's family to leave Sharpton out of the situation because “Caesar the monkey” or a character from the Planet of the Apes series “could get them better justice.”

Arenas then continued his race-tainted rant by stating that “the stats also show Al 'coon' sharpton has not helped one situation he has protested at; he actually made it worst [sic] and because of him, the jury goes the other way (think about it).”

He also pointed to other situations in which Sharpton's involvement had a negative impact, including the Jena Six -- black teenagers convicted in the 2006 beating of a white student at Jena High School in Louisiana -- whom Sharpton defended even after they were found guilty.

The athlete also discussed the minister's involvement in the Trayvon Martin case, when the teenager was shot by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic man who was later acquitted of any crimes in the incident.

“The list goes way back,” Arenas added, because Sharpton is “lookn for attention; what u said at trayvon's rally, #enoughisenough; ur right, we're tired of u PRETENDING.”

So unbothered was Hall by Arenas' vile racial slur that the only criticism he could muster was that Arenas' rant was "race-tainted." At no point did he  mention the fact that "coon" is a vile slur that has no place in civilized debate.

Such insensitivity is part for the course at the Media Research Center, which has also found nothing wrong with Rush Limbaugh calling Sandra Fluke a "slut" or Mark Levin calling Mary Landrieu a "whore."

UPDATE: Breitbart uncritically publishes Arenas' rant, including the "coon" slur.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:37 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, August 15, 2014 12:25 PM EDT
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Tim Graham Transgender Freakout Watch
Topic: NewsBusters

The Media Research Center's Tim Graham has been on quite the roll lately when it comes to freaking out about transgenders. He's in freakout mode once again in a July 27 NewsBusters post railing at the New York Times for treating transgenders as if they had basic human rights:

In the same Friday New York Times in which “conservative firebrand” Dinesh D’Souza was dissected and a “conservative script” was honed to “light fire on abortion,” the social leftists pushing transgender issues were never identified as liberal or leftist. This time, the venue for gender delusion was a Quaker college in Oregon.

Forget the science. The dictatorship of relativism is bearing down.  A person's gender is utterly dependent on what they feel like being. A caption on Friday explained: “Jaycen, a George Fox University student who identifies as male, wants to live next year with a group of male friends; however, the college considers him a woman and turned down his request.”

[...]

Now what if someone took this same argument and made it about race? As in: I was "assigned whiteness" at birth, but I feel like I should be black based on my "lived experience" pretending to be what I am not? Jaycen is supposedly more male because she's into "the video game Call to Duty and listening to R&B and hip hop." Could it be discriminatory not to allow people who "identify as black" into black colleges or affirmative action programs, as the "identify as women" advocates push their way into women's colleges?

[...]

There's not one sliver of space in this politically correct story for the idea that the "LGBTQ" agenda is completely at odds with Christianity and other major global religions, and that to force this sinful agenda on religious institutions is a breach of religious liberty, which seems to be one of the Obama administration's goals.

What does Obama have to do with this? Nothing that we can see, beyond Graham inadvertently exposing the Media Research Center's agenda to be less about "media research" and more about partisan politics, which the MRC's nonprofit tax status theoretically forbids.


Posted by Terry K. at 2:23 PM EDT
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
NewsBusters Glosses Over Plagiarist's Conservative Ties
Topic: NewsBusters

NewsBusters had little to say about BuzzFeed's Benny Johnson being fired for plagiarism, using it only as the introduction to a "weekend open thread" in a July 26 post.

NewsBusters clipped a Huffington Post item noting that "Benny Johnson was previously with Glenn Beck's The Blaze, and has also written for Breitbart News," but it avoided further discussion of the unavoidable conclusion those ties mean: Johnson is a conservative.

Outlets like the Blaze and Breitbart are ideologically driven -- much more so than the mainstream media outlets NewsBusters' minders at the Media Research Center love to fearmonger about -- so it's unlikely that Johnson could have gotten jobs there without demonstrating a commitment to right-wing ideology. That says a lot about right-wing media ethics, but you won't hear NewsBusters talk about that.

NewsBusters also won't mention the fact that it previously promoted a Johnson post at BuzzFeed item later found to have contained plagiarized content. A February 2013 post by Randy Hall highlighted a Johnson item headlined “7 Things Democrats Would Have Freaked Out About if Bush Had Done Them”; that item now contains an editor's note that "This post has been corrected to remove phrasing that was copied from The Hill. BuzzFeed takes its responsibility to readers very seriously, and plagiarism is a major breach of that responsibility."

NewsBusters has long covered for the mistakes of conservative writers. When conservative Washington Post blogger Ben Domenech  was forced to resign after evidence of plagiarism surfaced, the MRC did what it could to change the subject. Tim Graham asserted that "What the Domenech fiasco should show is that left-wingers like those Media Mutterers are quite furious in attempting to keep the liberal media as liberal as they can muster," and Greg Sheffield claimed that the Post "cave[d] in to left-wing pressure" to fire Domenech while not mentioning his plagiarism.

(Interestingly, Domenech has rehabilitated himself, now running the the Federalist website, and NewsBusters likes to cite him.)


Posted by Terry K. at 1:51 PM EDT
Friday, July 18, 2014
Finally! MRC Discloses Its Link To Catholic League
Topic: NewsBusters

Matthew Balan devortes in a July 17 NewsBusters post to the latest rant from the Catholic League's Bill Donohue, this time complaining about David Letterman "making light about Pope Francis's recent remarks about priestly celibacy." For the first time that we've noticed, Balan makes an important disclosure: "it should be pointed out that MRC President Brent Bozell serves on the board of advisors for the Catholic League."

We've documented how the MRC has regularly failed to disclose Bozell's links to the Catholic League in uncritically echoing whatever new outrage Donohue felt compelled to issue a press release about.

Balan is correct that Bozell's link to the Catholic "should be pointed out," which raises the question about why the MRC hasn't felt compelled to point out this blatant conflict of interest until now.


Posted by Terry K. at 5:14 PM EDT
Thursday, July 17, 2014
NewsBusters Joins MRC Freak-Out Over Obama Using First-Person Terms
Topic: NewsBusters

Mark Finkelstein devotes a July 17 NewsBusters post to an anti-Obama rant:

But enough about me.  Let's talk about how you feel about me . . . Maybe Barack Obama should modify his famous New Age-y line, uttered after the 2008 Super Tuesday results, to read "I am the one I have been waiting for." In recent times, it's become an entertaining parlor game to count the number of self references in President Obama's public statements. 

The latest opportunity to play the game comes via a fund-raising email the prez sent out this morning. Defiantly entitled "I Won't Apologize," the short message contains by my count no fewer than 11 self-references [12 if you count the URL for the fund-raising link]—a self-adoring assortment of I, I'm, I'll and me. View the complete email after the jump.

Why would a man with such a sorry record in office have such high self-regard?  Let's hear from our armchair psychoanalysts out there!

This follows in the footsteps of CNS' Terry Jeffrey -- like NewsBusters a division of the Media Research Center -- who has a similar obsession with how often Obama refers to himself in the first person, despite the fact that it's hardly out of line with previous presidents. Like Jeffrey, we don't recall Finkelstein showing concern over the first-person usage of Republican presidents.

Someone should also remind Finkelstein of the mission of the organization that publishes him. It's supposed to be a media watchdog, not a place for right-wing rants, which would seem to jeopardize the Media Research Center's nonprofit tax status.

Perhaps Finkelstein should stick to media issues, like whether Matt Lauer is secretly showing support for Palestinians by wearing a scarf.


Posted by Terry K. at 6:03 PM EDT
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Conservative Media Criticism, Tim Graham Edition
Topic: NewsBusters

Tim Graham huffs in a June 19 NewsBusters post:

The liberal St. Louis Post-Dispatch has bowed to the "Fire George Will" folks and discontinued his syndicated column after he wrote about liberal universities now being pressed to stem an alleged tide of campus sexual assault. They're switching to big-government conservative Michael Gerson, the former chief speechwriter to President George W. Bush.

Gotta love all the unsupported assertions in that paragraph. How does Graham know the Post-Dispatch is liberal? Does the fact that it published Will and will publish Gerson suggest otherwise?

Graham's assertion that Will's column targeted "liberal universities" (how does Graham know those universities are liberal?) over "an alleged tide of campus sexual assault" glosses over the offending claim Will made: that being a sexual assault victim is somehow a "coveted status."

Finally, Graham whines that Gerson is a "big-government conservative" with, yes, no supporting evidence nor an explanation of how Gerson's purported view is any different from Will's.

Conservative media criticism, ladies and gentlemen.


Posted by Terry K. at 11:09 PM EDT
Thursday, June 19, 2014
NewsBusters Unhappy People Coming To Logical Conclusion On False-Claim Lawsuit
Topic: NewsBusters

Gabriel Malor writes in a June 17 NewsBusters post:

Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony List should be allowed to challenge in court an Ohio state law that criminalizes making false statements in an election campaign. The law, which subjects individuals and groups to costly litigation, fines, and even jail time if they can't defend their political speech to bureaucrats and judges, was used in 2010 to intimidate billboard owners into rejecting the pro-life group's election advertising. The question of whether “somebody should be able to get into federal court,” in the words of Justice Kagan at oral argument, united both the left and right wings of the high Court given the obvious and repellent injury to free speech rights.

Although it said that Susan B. Anthony List should have its day in court, the Court did not rule on the underlying merits of Ohio's false statements law. But that's not how left-wing commentators saw it. Immediately mischaracterizing the decision as endorsing a "right to lie," writers from across the Left used the decision to smear Susan B. Anthony List, in particular, and the political right, in general, as liars.

Malor ignores the fact that if you are fighting against a law that penalizes false political claims, as the Susan B. Anthony is, the conclusion is logical and inescapable that the SBA List wants to be able to spread falsehoods with impunity.

Melor also fails to explain what's so onerous about having to prove the truth of your words.


Posted by Terry K. at 3:26 PM EDT
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Seton Motley Misleads About Net Neutrality Again
Topic: NewsBusters

Seton Motley has long misled about net neutrality, and he does so again in a barely coherent June 16 NewsBusters rant, in which he targets HBO's John Oliver for explaining the subject in a manner of which Motley does not approve:

Oliver doesn't explain Net Neutrality - he gets it fundamentally wrong.

Oliver’s segment was start-to-finish Leftist rote.  Unwittingly I’m guessing, he’s carrying the water of the Internet’s bandwidth hogs.  Particularly video-streaming companies like Netflix, Google (who owns YouTube) - and, perhaps, movie channel HBO? - who want the government to mandate that they get a free ride for being bandwidth hogs.

And Oliver omits a panoply of contravening information.

Oliver begins his piece by incorrectly asserting that huge-bandwidth-using-companies paying for the bandwidth they use is the creation of an Internet “fast lane.”  Thus leaving the rest of us consigned to the “slow lane.”

Only there will be no such thing. What Oliver and Company report as brand new “fast lanes”- are in fact regular lane deals that have existed as long as has the Internet.  It is all a part of what is called peering.

The words "fast lane" and "slow lane" are the total extent to which Motley quotes Oliver, which poses a problem in Motley trying to disprove Oliver -- and a sign that Motley will be building straw men instead of engaging in a actual discussion.

Motley also undermines himself by including in one of his links showing how "pseudo-news pseudo-consumers were thrilled" a substantive debunking of the point he's trying to make, a Slate piece by Marvin Ammori.

Motley takes particular umbrage at Netflix over the peering, or interconnection, issue:

Netflix for years had no problem paying middle men for their monster bandwidth use - companies like Level 3 and Cogent.  Who are Internet Service Providers (ISPs) - just for these guys rather than us.

Then it occurred to Netflix that it made more business sense to cut out these middle men - and deal directly with our ISPs.

[...]

Except Netflix suddenly, disingenuously claimed these very ordinary deals were Net Neutrality violations.

[...]

But again, Netflix has always paid someone for their bandwidth hoggishness (as well they should).  The only thing new here is their trying to get the government to mandate they no longer have to.

Ammori debunks this idea, responding to a critic named Jon Healey who had made claims similar to Motley's:

Interconnection is a term referring to where and how Comcast’s network connects to the network carrying Netflix’s traffic. This connection is necessary for Comcast users to watch Netflix. Netflix claims that Comcast (and apparently Verizon and others) deliberately congest these connections to force Netflix and other companies to pay Comcast (and Verizon). John Oliver suggested—based on these facts of Netflix’s speeds on different networks—that Comcast and others would have the incentive to make websites work poorly to force them to pay.

But you don’t have to know what interconnection is to realize Healey is being misleading. If you watch the video, you’ll notice Oliver never says the Comcast-Netflix dispute is a network neutrality issue. But, if he had, he would have been in good company. As a matter of fact, not spin, the net neutrality proposal actually includes questions on interconnection (and other things Wheeler opposes, like Title II, protecting mobile users, and banning discrimination). That suggests that interconnection has at least something, not “nothing,” to do with net neutrality. Plus, as I explain here, the net neutrality legal orders have repeatedly rested on interconnection concerns from 2005 through 2010, including for their jurisdictional authority in key decisions. Oh, and the lawyers at Netflix, Level 3, Cogent, and ... the major Internet companies ... all believe that the interconnection is part of this debate and have filed legal arguments about it in the FCC's net neutrality docket. So clearly interconnection has something to do with net neutrality. Healey is just repeating the FCC chairman's talking points that interconnection is not related to net neutrality.

Ammori notes that "John Oliver joined the huge chorus that consists of just about everyone except the phone and cable giants, politicians opposed to anything Obama supports, and the FCC chairman." Add Seton Motley to that list.


Posted by Terry K. at 10:07 AM EDT

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