July 13, 2017 Last Updated 11:33 am

If freedom of the press and net neutrality are still important which party is willing to say so?

New poll finds that Trump voters overwhelmingly support the current net neutrality regulations, but that doesn’t seem to be influencing the new FCC chairmen, appointed by the new president

The revelations contained in Donald Trump Jr.’s email chain has changed very little in Washington DC. The Republicans continue to consider the idea that the president worked with a foreign government to get himself elected merely the details of a campaign tactic while Democrats flounder around as individuals.

All this means that the attacks on the media will continue, with few in the industry willing to take a stand to defend itself. Except for a few statements from some groups that represent journalists, none of the major trade organizations that represent publishers have spoken up in defense of their members or the industry as a whole.

I think I know why.

As I’ve written before about my own experiences as a B2B publisher, members often vote and act against their own best interests when it comes to politics. Just as most road contractors support politicians who do not favor investing more in transportation construction, many owners of publishing companies support the very politicians who today scream ‘fake news!’

This is not to try and advocate for one party versus another, as I don’t see Democrats doing much to protect freedom of the press, or the right of news organizations to be free of DDoS attacks, trolls and bots.

So, who will step up?

While Sinclair Broadcasting Group acquires Tribune Media, and the Mercers invest in Time Inc., there is more and more a possibility that the media in the United States will only be the plaything of those who have no interest in journalism and only an interest in controlling the levers of government (and hence the tax code).

As I said in January, and will say again, the biggest threat to the publishing industry is not Apple or Google or Facebook, but the current political situation in the US (and UK, I might add).

But if there is any chance that the big techs will be better regulated, it will only happen if there are government officials around who will place the First Amendment ahead of business interests, or partisan political interests.

I don’t see these officials inside the current administration, but would they be there in a future administration? Which party will make it a plank that the media should be free and independent of the government? Shouldn’t both parties support this idea?


A new poll (PDF) from the trade group Incompas and Republican consulting firm IMGE, finds that a majority of Republicans support net neutrality regulations. Even 75 percent of Trump supporters said that they agree that internet service providers should follow net neutrality roles, despite the fact that the president appointed the FCC chair tasked to kill off those same rules.

According to the new poll, Republicans actually support net neutrality and want the rules to be maintain at a slightly higher rate than Democrats, though the difference is small. In fact, there is very little support at all for changing the rules, but like in the health care debate it may not matter what the voters want.

Where the public is more ambivalent is regarding whether the government should stop the AT&T/Time Warner merger, or whether Comcast should be broken up. One problem may be that the question was asked after informing the survey participant that Trump supported these positions — with the president’s poll numbers in the tank, it may have possibly led some to simply say ‘if he’s for it, I’m against.’

“I think the open internet has been the most successful expansion of free-market capitalism in world history,” Chip Pickering, CEO of Incompas told The Hill in an interview.

“It’s impossible to create competitive free markets without laws, legislation and rules,” said Pickering, a former Republican member of the House of Representatives from Mississippi. “So we just have to counter what I think is a misrepresentation of competitive rules and policy so that Republicans can say, ‘Yeah, that’s consistent with my beliefs.’”

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