So what do Shirley Sharrod and Jim DeMint have in common? An undisciplined free press

Free Press’ Tim Karr today fired a salvo at Senator James DeMint, Republican of South Carolina. In a post on Twitter, Mr. Karr referred to Mr. DeMint as an enemy of the open Internet and apparently based his conclusions on $50,250 in donations allegedly received by Senator DeMint from AT&T.

AT&T not only provides plain old telephone service, but as a major provider of broadband access services, the telecommunications giant is also a fierce opponent of network neutrality.

Network neutrality requires that a broadband access provider, such as AT&T or Comcast, treat traffic from all content providers in the same manner- every bit of data is transferred in the same manner.

Given the Department of Agriculture’s blatant blunder in last week’s firing of Shirley Sharrod, a woman who was falsely accused of being a racist based on an edited version of a speech she delivered to the NAACP, I could not help but see another teachable moment on the excesses and missteps of social media courtesy of liberals like Mr. Karr and Free Press.

To steal a phrase from Van Jones, a former White House staffer who himself was the victim of a social media onslaught, this time from the right, Americans need to learn a “wisdom system” to process information especially pertaining to what we glean from advocacy journalists like Mr. Karr.

Mr. Karr’s miscasting of Senator DeMint appears based on Mr. DeMint’s sponsorship of the Freedom of Consumer Choice Act. The intent of the Act is to protect consumers from unnecessary taxes brought on by any unnecessary regulation of the Internet. The Federal Communications Commission would be required to focus on real cases of abuse and like the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission, bring those complaints to court and show evidence of anti-competitive behavior by applying standards found in current anti-trust and consumer protection law.

In other words, we would not have to recreate the regulation wheel. The FCC would have to use the tools we have in place to address real abuses, not imaginary “what-ifs.”

I know that you only get to use 140 characters in your tweets, Mr. Karr, but at least tweet with character and substance.

About Alton Drew

Alton Drew brings a straight forward and insightful brand of political market intelligence. Alton Drew graduated from the Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in economics and political science (1984); a Master of Public Administration (1993); and a Juris Doctor (1999). You can also follow Alton Drew on Twitter @altondrew.
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