Many news sources have reported that in polls Americans are against “internet regulation”. My question is, what was the wording of the question in the poll? The Rasmussen Poll used wording that was quite ambiguous about what was entailed in those regulations. Furthermore, the third question asked whether the responder preferred “more government regulation or more free market competition?” Currently, we do not have any free market competition. If your phone works on Verizon it does not work on AT&T. If you are in a Comcast area, you cannot get your cable from Time-Warner Cable. Your provider monopolizes your access to content.
Rasmussen asked “If the Federal Communications Commission is given the authority to regulate the Internet, will they use that power in an unbiased manner or will they use it to promote a political agenda?” What they should have asked is “Given that broadband providers have a monopoly on the content they provide to you, who do you trust more to use that power in an unbiased manner, corporations that will profit from biasing access in favor of their content or the federal government which may choose to promote a political agenda?” The free market is not currently an option.
The widely quoted Rasmussen poll is inherently flawed and reflective of their own bias. They did not ask whether consumers wanted the government to protect net neutrality, the consumer’s free access to internet content. Their results can only be responsibly referenced as 21% of those responding to a false choice between free market and government regulation, favored the choice to which the biased questions of the Rasmussen poll pointed. Journalists need to move away from parroting sensationalist headlines and do the minimal digging required to determine that this poll was biased, flawed, and propaganda. Maybe it won’t sell more papers (but then again maybe it will). But if journalism is ever to regain the public trust, journalists are going to have to do the work to earn that trust.