Monday, November 8, 2010

Net Neutrality and the Election

From the "correlation does not equal causation" files, we get L. Gordon Crovitz in the Wall Street Journal:

"As a reminder of unpredictability in politics, consider what happened when the Progressive Change Campaign Committee last month announced that 95 candidates for Congress had signed a pledge to support 'net neutrality.' The candidates promised: 'In Congress, I'll fight to protect Net Neutrality for the entire Internet—wired and wireless—and make sure big corporations aren't allowed to take control of free speech online.'

Last week all 95 candidates lost. Opponents of net neutrality chortled, and the advocacy group retreated to the argument that regulation of the Internet wasn't a big issue in the election.

The broader lesson may be that people fear government regulation of what has been a free and open Internet more than they fear what any other institution might do to the Web..."

An even broader lesson might be that almost nobody was thinking about net neutrality when they entered the voting booth last week. Try as I might, I can't find an exit poll where the issue ranked among voters' top concerns last week. And though I favor net neutrality, broadly, it wasn't even really on my mind when I went to vote.

But no mind. It's pretty easy to make election results say what you want them to say -- even if the election results were silent on the issue. At the very least, opponents of net neutrality legislation can take comfort that voters aren't paying enough attention to punish them if they let corporations have their way on the web.

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