Three cheers for the internet as a last great bastion of democracy in America. And doesn’t it feel good to know you’re a part of it?
From the interview with Elliot Cohen, The Last Days Of American Democracy? up at AlterNet:
The Internet is really a great bastion of democracy. If we didn’t have the Internet we wouldn’t even know about the Downing Street Memos, for example. Because the mainstream didn’t cover it. And so what we’re up against is, if we can hold on to the Internet, then we still have a source of a democratic press. But the problem is, it’s being encroached upon just like mainstream media and it’s in danger of becoming really an arm of these large corporations who are now dominating the Internet. And this started in 2000, well, well before. But in 2005 there was the landmark decision by the Supreme Court, which was the Brand X decision, where the court essentially turned over the pipes that send the information down the Internet to these large corporations.
…the Supreme Court said that that is no longer the case with the Internet. The Net’s not going to be seen as a telecommunications system but rather it’s going to be conceived as an information system just like CNN or Fox cable. And what that does is open up the door effectively for various modes of control, and one of the ways in which these large corporations like Comcast are trying to control the Internet right now is through setting up these tollbooths where they are instituting, or want to institute — and there’s a lot of powerful lobbies in Congress to try to do this — they are trying to set up these tollbooths which will regulate how much, what kind of bandwidth different Internet sites can have, depending upon how much they are wiling to pay. So we have a pay-for-play system where the bandwidth will determine how quickly you connect then, and whether or not you end up spinning out in cyberspace versus reaching lots of people. And obviously those corporations with the deepest pockets are going to be able to have the best connectivity. What that means is money is going to control truth.
Kubrick’s 2001 comes to mind, the astronaut spinning off into space, all flailing arms and legs.
This past weekend, AT&T censored a Pearl Jam concert lest America be alarmed by the lyrics,
“George Bush, leave this world alone”
“George Bush find yourself another home.”
Will the corporations and govt win yet again, or is there a possibility that netizens can Save the Internet.