Jan
03
2011

Bogus Net Neutrality Poll

I was struck by this December 30 headline at the Huffington Post: "Only 21 Percent Of U.S. Voters Support Net Neutrality."

Really? Well it turns out the poll was conducted by Scott Rasmussen, whose polling has made him afavorite at Fox News Channel. The real story here is that the poll question was clearly cooked up to achieve the desired outcome. As Amy Lee noted near the bottom of the piece, Rasmussen asked this question:"Should the Federal Communications Commission regulate the Internet like it does radio and television?"

But the FCC's proposed net neutrality rules do not at all resemble regulation of radio and television, which (among other things) requires station owners obtain a government license to broadcast onthe public airwaves. Lee writes that the question "defines net neutrality in a very restricted way." But that's putting it way too kindly. The poll is a fraud, and a familiar one.In 2009 Rasmussendid a survey about the Fairness Doctrine, which was debunked here at the FAIR Blog (2/17/09).Rasmussen asked respondents if "the government should require all radio stations to offer equal amounts of conservative and liberal political commentary." The Fairness Doctrine never did any such thing, but conservatives have long argued that it would squelch right-wing talk radio. They've been trying to dosomethingsimilarwith net neutrality, scaring people about a supposed government takeover of the internet.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.