Federal Communications Fee Chairman Ajit Pai has been trying to push the concept of internet neutrality as a lot ado about nothing, a riot whipped up by Hollywood celebrities who disregard info to make their level. Not solely is he unsuitable, he’s responding to them so he doesn’t have to reply to everybody else.

Final week, I talked about Pai’s dodgy response to criticism at a chat he gave, the place he skirted the difficulty and parroted the identical factors he all the time has, whereas concurrently accusing Twitter of being the actual downside. It was like watching a vaudeville skit the place a personality factors in a single path, then runs away when their accomplice turns to see what they’re pointing at — solely rather more stodgy.

What I didn’t point out — if solely as a result of I felt it might additional degrade the dialogue — was the truth that Pai successfully wasted a number of minutes of airtime speaking about varied celebrities who criticized him. Going after Cher, Mark Ruffalo, and Alyssa Milano particularly, he cited particular person tweets from them in as dismissive a way as you possibly can think about.

His response to Alyssa Milano, particularly, reeks of hole, factless patronization, particularly the reference to a present Milano starred in as an adolescent: “If this have been Who’s the Boss?, this could be a possibility for Tony Danza to dish out some knowledge concerning the penalties of creating issues up.”

Alyssa Milano got here again at Pai on Twitter, going into element about what Pai failed to deal with, and making her case for internet neutrality. Most, if not all of it, is stuff we’ve talked about earlier than.

Although Ajit Pai has ceaselessly, flagrantly lied concerning the points behind internet neutrality and what is going to come after it’s presumably rolled again later this month, he’s continued repeating the identical factors. His counter-strategy to the mountains of public opposition to these factors appears to be going after public figures who’re themselves related to frivolous actions.

It’s not the primary time Pai has tried to fade behind dismissive reactions, both. If you wish to see this technique in microcosm, take a look at his “Imply Tweets” video, the place he reacts to an inventory of rigorously chosen tweets that solely assault his place within the shallowest, least substantial method attainable.

It’s simpler to dismiss opposition in the event you say it’s coming solely from the mouths of people who find themselves “simply” actors, singers, and so forth. They aren’t politicians, or lawmakers, or former Verizon attorneys — so their opinions, irrespective of how legitimate, might be disregarded as being the mouthpieces of an ignorant and misinformed inhabitants.

It’s changing into more and more apparent that is what Ajit Pai thinks of us — and why he’s so content material to by no means change his argument irrespective of how many individuals see proper by way of.


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