Fox News Pushes Debunked Claims About Net Neutrality

Fox News promoted debunked claims about President Obama's proposed net neutrality regulations, falsely asserting that the regulations are unpopular, would stifle innovation, and raise costs for consumers. 

On Wednesday The New York Times reported that President Obama urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to “pre-empt state laws that restrict communities' ability to expand high-speed internet access to underserved areas.” This initiative is part of the President's plan to implement net neutrality regulations and “keep the United States competitive with other nations that have faster and more widespread Internet connections.”

In response to Obama's announcement, Fox News' Special Report recycled debunked conservative claims about net neutrality during the January 13 edition of the show. Host Bret Baier described net neutrality as “a slew of unnecessary regulations that hurt competition and ultimately consumers.” Fox correspondent Doug McKelway claimed the new net neutrality regulations will raise costs, citing an “estimate of15 billion dollars in new state and federal taxes a year,” and suggested that most Americans do not support the proposed regulations.

But, net neutrality has been described by Vinton Cerf, one of the founders of the internet as the guiding principle that made the internet successful. In a letter to the FCC, Google's director of communications praised net neutrality, explaining that the new rules would promote competition, and would be good for the economy. The National Bureau of Economic Research also explained that “there is unlikely to be any negative impact from such regulation on [Internet Service Provider] investment,” and companies are telling investors they'll continue to improve their networks under new net neutrality rules. 

Net neutrality also enjoys broad bipartisan support with an “overwhelming” majority of conservatives in favor of the guiding principles of net neutrality and a vast majority of Americans opposed to allowing internet service providers to charge extra for faster internet delivery speeds.

And Congress passed a moratorium in December on state and local taxes for internet sales and services which puts to rest claims that new net neutrality rules will lead to new taxes.