So-called net neutrality is a twenty year battle that continues today. The issue is technical and complex, but basically it is about how the FCC should regulate Internet Service Providers. The Obama FCC issued a punishing set of rules that the Trump FCC repealed. The Federal Court just upheld most of the Trump repeal, except it gave the States the right to get into the game.

The net neutrality issue is based on a law that was not passed with news discrimination in mind, but there are provisions that might make it applicable. Call it “news neutrality.” This may be a stretch, but when it comes to the egregious discrimination against conservative news sources by Google News, we are looking for new law. The law is well known to stretch when necessary.

Discrimination with regard to the Internet is the specific focus of the net neutrality debate, so that is a start. Mind you the present focus is mostly on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who under the Democrat rules were prohibited from discriminating against sources in things like fees, priority or speed.

Google is not an ISP, but this is where it gets interesting, because the law also includes language on Information Service Providers. This is what Google News is (or what Google is, I am not sure which). Thus the law already covers Information Service Providers, so the door may be open for some sort of “news neutrality” action.

Given that the law (1) addresses discrimination and (2) covers Information Service Providers like Google, it may well be the case that the FCC could interpret it as prohibiting the discrimination being perpetrated by Google News. If not then the legislation required to make the law do this might be relatively simple. It certainly fits the spirit of the existing law.

That the States are now allowed into the game is also interesting. The Attorneys General from fifty states have just launched a joint investigation of Google, led by Texas. Perhaps news neutrality will begin experimentally at the state level.

Look at it this way. Right now if a liberal wants to get the news on a breaking story, analyzed from their perspective, they just have to do a Google News search and they will get lots of options. The vast majority, well over 90%, of the articles returned are from liberal sources. Conservatives, on the other hand, have to search individually through potentially hundreds of sources to get this kind of coverage.

Google’s extreme bias is discussed more fully in these articles of mine:

How Google discriminates against conservatives and skeptics
https://www.cfact.org/2019/08/10/how-google-discriminates-against-conservatives-and-skeptics/

Reining in Google
https://www.cfact.org/2019/08/15/reining-in-google/

How to measure the liberal bias in Google News
https://www.cfact.org/2019/08/23/how-to-measure-the-liberal-bias-in-google-news/

The extreme bias against conservative sources in Google News is human
https://www.cfact.org/2019/09/01/the-extreme-bias-against-conservative-sources-in-google-news-is-human/

Clearly this extreme bias is highly prejudicial and very bad for America. People are being told in effect that the liberal view of news is the only one that exists. This probably has to affect election results, which has already been alleged. It may well also affect what young people come to believe, that liberal thinking is all there is.

The Republicans may be against net neutrality but they should be all for news neutrality, because they are the ones getting screwed big time by Google.

Author

  • David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see http://www.stemed.info/engineer_tackles_confusion.html For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see http://www.cfact.org/author/david-wojick-ph-d/ Available for confidential research and consulting.