One of America's leading authorities on technology and telecom policy, Motley is a writer, television and radio commentator, political and policy strategist, lecturer, debater, activist, and policy advisor to The Heartland Institute.
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In which I referenced a bit of good news on the Internet front. In a possible deal between ESPN and AT&T (at least), the sports network would pick up some of the tab for the delivery of its content. Which would be outstanding news for consumers. More content, more Internet use – for no more coin.
I then had the audacity to use the Left’s absurd words against them. “Consumer” interest groups – allegedly interested in consumers – were opposed to this, and calling on the government to stop it. And doing all of it in complete contravention of the facts.
My essay drew the scattershot attention – and conspiratorial ire – of Salon’s Andrew Leonard.
At Red State, the wonderfully monickered Seton Motley put down his monocle and blustered about the “ridiculous folly of the Left.” Public Knowledge isn’t a consumer interest group, he raged, it’s a “government interest group” whose sole goal is “growing government.”
Both Scott Cleland and RedState, intriguingly, brought up the same useful analogy to explain why Public Knowledge was off-base. When ESPN pays a company like AT&T to lift data caps for its streaming video, it’s just like any other company paying the phone company subsidized access to an 800 toll-free number.
RedState: Do these Leftist “consumer” groups oppose 800 numbers? Do they claim 800 numbers prevent you from calling other numbers? Do they claim 800 numbers hurt you –- the consumer? They would look ridiculous if they did.
There’s a good reason why the 800 analogy appears in both anti-Public Knowledge diatribes. Because it was originally suggested by AT&T itself back in February.
It is neither “intriguing” nor surprising that Cleland – full disclosure, a friend, but one with whom I never discussed my essay or his – and I would unilaterally deliver the same obvious example of how foolish the Left is being here.
And it is neither “intriguing” nor surprising that Mr. Leonard’s assertion that AT&T originally posited it in February 2013 – is completely wrong.
Perhaps for him an idea is born the first time he stumbles upon it.
I can’t speak for Cleland – again, because I have never discussed it with him – but I have been using said analogy since at least June of 2010, when I first started in writing and on radio and television discussing the absurdity that is Net Neutrality.
It is so obvious, and been used by so many people so many times, I’m not sure who came up with it when. It’s in the free market zeitgeist – like knowing the Left impedes economic growth and creativity. It’s a factual, rhetorical given.
Perhaps its free market nature prevented Mr. Leonard’s conceiving it – or his not having heard of it prior to February. He was, however, completely capable of conceiving out of whole cloth a marching-orders-conspiracy-theory.
It surely comes as no surprise that a telecom lobbyist and RedState are simply repeating AT&T’s propaganda.
Again, his chronology and his concept are woefully off. So too is his worldview. But hey – Leftists never allow facts to get in the way of a good beating.
I am a nothing if not magnanimous – I emailed Mr. Leonard the following:
Greetings. I’d like to respond to your piece in your august pages. You willing?
No response from Mr. Leonard. So I Tweeted at him:
@koxinga21 attempts some shots at me & #Leftist #NetNeutrality defense in @Salon http://t.co/1p83S1IZXp. Will he let me respond in his mag?
Again, no response from Mr. Leonard. Thus this comes here.
Will Mr. Leonard respond to this response there – with corrections aplenty? I won’t halt respiratory activity in the waiting.
[First posted at Red State]