Terrible as it will be for the Trump administration to kill the National Endowments of the Arts and Humanities, gutting net neutrality seems to me an even more damaging attack on the arts, independent and upstart media and America’s commons.
By nominating as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission ex-Verizon lawyer and avowed net neutrality foe Ajit Pai, Trump will further commodify the internet we now all use for free, allowing biggies like Netflix and Comcast to pay for fastest service (meaning others get slower service) and exert who knows what other kinds of controls over what’s been an open space, equally accessible to all. This will hurt artists, audiences, producers, journalists, providers of cheap thrills — but the rich get richer. . .
The threat has occurred before, and only was averted by President Obama appointing an FCC chairman who supported net neutrality. Maybe if the open internet became subject to manipulations of corporate media under Trump, it could be turned around — but I’m still trying to figure out how television broadcasting once limited to three networks supported by advertisers and publicly supported PBS has become 800 channels on cable of bs costing upwards of $100 per month if you want the best stuff — and much of it has commercials, as well.
Well, net neutrality is a big, complex, abstract issue, not likely to attract a lot of marchers and not as clearly, immediately, obviously a danger to Americans as threats to ACA-users’ health insurance, womens’ health care, Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security cutbacks, reversal of environmental protections and regulations governing financial dealings, attacks on the public school system, reinstatement of bigotry against minority groups including immigrants, and oh yes, Rick Perry caring for the nuclear arsenal. But it’s one of those things we’ve been taking for granted that can be snatched away, and we’ll all be hurt when it happens, no doubt with unintended consequences trending towards income inequality and perhaps censorship. Entropy rules! Yet despots can put a brake on freedom and liberty.