Bill Moyers criticized President Barack Obama on Friday for his decision to seemingly leave the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the hands of the anti-net neutrality forces he opposed as a candidate.
“They believed he would keep his word, would see to it that when private interests set upon the Internet like sharks to blood in the water, its fate would be in the hands of honest brokers who would listen politely to the pleas of the greedy, and then show them the door,” Moyers said of the supporters Obama won when he promised to keep the internet free from corporate influence. “Unfortunately, it turned out to be the infamous revolving door.”
Moyers explained that Obama’s choice to head the commission, Tom Wheeler, not only “bundled” more than $500,000 for Obama’s successful re-election campaign, but also a “top gun” for the cable and telecommunications industries. What’s more, Wheeler has staffed the FCC’s legal team with a coterie of former telecom attorneys, some of whom had actually lobbied against net neutrality before joining its ranks.
“However we might try to imagine that [Wheeler] could quickly abandon old habits of service to his employers, that’s simply not how Washington works,” Moyers said. “Business and government are so intertwined there that public officials and corporate retainers are interchangeable parts of what Chief Justice John Roberts might call the ‘gratitude machine.’ Round and round they go, and where they stop. Actually they never stop.”
The commission has been heavily criticized for a series of new proposals that would reportedly include an option allowing Internet service providers to charge a “fast lane” rate to certain companies.
The public uproar led video streaming giant Netflix to meet with FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai’s office while the matter is still up for public comment.
“This public comment period is crucial,” Moyers told his viewers. “You have a chance to tell both Obama and Wheeler what you think, so that the will of the people and not the power of money and predatory interests, is heard.”
Watch Moyers’ commentary, as posted online on Friday, below.