Over the weekend, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) continued his crusade against net neutrality, but this time with Carrot Top style props to illustrate his gargantuan lies about the subject. Specifically, Cruz was responding to Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) recent CNN interview in which Franken explained that net neutrality is about preserving the current openness of the internet, as opposed to a closed internet with faster tubes for corporate websites and slower tubes for independent websites.
CRUZ: When you regulate a public utility, it calcifies it — it freezes it in place. Let’s give a simple contrast. The Telecommunications Act of 1934 was adopted to regulate these [brings out an old rotary-dial phone]. To put regulations in place and what happened? It froze everything in place. This is regulated by Title II. [pulls out an iPhone] This is not.
Wow. That’s a crapload of lies.
First of all, it’s the Communications Act of 1934. “Communications,” not “telecommunications.” Not a lie, but details matter when a U.S. Senator claims to be an expert on the topic.
And yes, the iPhone is subject to extensive government regulations including FCC guidelines, the proof of which can be found by looking at the funny symbols and codes on the back of your phone (any cellphone), not to mention the iPhone that Ted Cruz held up in the video. On top of that, the Communications Act of 1934 established the FCC in the first place, and the act absolutely regulates new media and mobile phones. Apple also faces anti-trust regulations on top of the technological regulations that face any company that manufactures electronic devices. Ted Cruz was clearly trying to pull another fast one, flagrantly lying to his audience.
Furthermore, cellphones didn’t magically emerge last year. The technology has been around since the 1940s, with the first mobile-phone corridors established in 1948. That means the iPhone that Cruz held up has a long history, reaching back more than 60 years, with countless developments along the way. Likewise, landline phones have gone through significant changes throughout their history as well, including design and technological advancements.
In terms of net neutrality, the government has been regulating the infrastructure for the internet since it began as a government-run DARPA operation in the 1960s. Preserving net neutrality has nothing to do with innovation and the technology behind the internet, as Ted Cruz is trying so smugly to say. It has everything to do with making sure wealthy corporations aren’t allowed to ink sweetheart deals for faster speeds, prioritizing corporate-sanctioned information, while the rest of us are stuck with slower speeds blocking fair competition and silencing less wealthy voices.
And by the way, if Cruz is really in favor of innovating our digital infrastructure, he ought to support President Obama’s efforts to do so, rather than blocking them.
Ted Cruz is a world-class liar, but he’s probably winning the debate so far with his simplistic-yet-false blurbs about the issue.