On Tuesday, the Sunlight Foundation released its study of the public’s response to proposed Net Neutrality rules, also known as Internet Regulation.
Earlier this month, President Obama directly addressed the issue claiming that “the public has already commented nearly four million times” supporting the reclassification of the Internet as a “public utility.”
As it turns out, the President, and the Federal Communication Commission got the facts totally wrong.
For background, the FCC conducted two comment periods in which the public was asked to weigh in on the issue.
The first round resulted in 800,959 comments being submitted to the FCC.
Analysis by the Sunlight Foundation concluded that 99% of those comments were in favor of regulating the Internet and 60% of the comments were submitted through form letters.
In September of this year, the FCC conducted a second round of public comments.
Those in favor of allowing the government to take authority over the Internet led a campaign called the “Battle for the Net.”
The campaign was by all descriptions, massive, with over 40,000 organizations participating in the drive.
Some of the biggest online players signed on to promote the campaign including Netflix, Foursquare, Kickstarter, Reddit, Tumblr and Vimeo.
The 40,000 sites that participated, including the White House, placed a fake “buffering” widget on their sites as a scare tactic implying the Internet would be slowed to a crawl if the government was not able to regulate the Web.
The scare tactic led to hundreds of thousands of people sending comments to the FCC in favor of Internet Regulation.
The content providers and left-leaning organizations favoring Internet Regulation assumed that since they won “Round 1” with 99% support, they could handily shut the door on the matter in “Round 2.”
They were wrong.
In the Sunlight Foundation’s report released yesterday, the headline read, “One group dominates the second round of net neutrality comments.”
This “dominating” group is the seemingly small policy organization, American Commitment, led by free-market policy analyst Phil Kerpen.
While 1.4 million comments were submitted to the FCC in the second round of comments, 60% of the comments actually opposed Internet Regulation.
Nearly all of those comments, 56.5% of all comments submitted, were gathered through the efforts of American Commitment.
Note that this site, Liberty News Now, was a partner in the “Stop Internet Regulation” campaign.
The President’s comments were premature and delivered before the votes were counted and duplicates removed.
In the end, the majority of readers of Liberty News Now along with hundreds of thousands of others, when presented with the clear facts about Internet Regulation, chose against the new rules.
In total, the verified comments submitted by American Commitment totaled 728,000.
The backers of the “Battle for the Net” underestimated the organizing power of Phil Kerpen and the sentiment of the public.
Now that the facts are out, will President Obama correct the record?