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Last week The Commercial Appeal took the National Conference for Media Reform to task after a speaker at the closing event repeated some fairly glaring inaccuracies about Memphis and Shelby County. And just as a raging fire may be fought with more fire, so too the CA countered the vile lies spread by the nasty media reformers with some good old-fashioned corporate disinformation. According to the CA: "The conference's organizer was Free Press, a nonprofit that advocates for local ownership of media, community, and public broadcasting and 'Net neutrality,' which prohibits telecom companies from charging individuals or companies to provide superior Internet service."

Whoa, Nelly! Does this mean there's actually a superior version of the Internet that companies and individuals could buy if only all those dirty, communistic hippies in the media-reform movement weren't standing in our way? Sadly, the answer is no.

In interviews earlier this month with the Flyer, FCC commissioners Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps both described any attempt to end network neutrality as a giant gift to telecoms at the consumers' expense. Both agreed that there was no superior corporate Internet service waiting in the wings and described any such claims as a kind of corporate propaganda. Copps said that if Net neutrality was overturned, "superior service" would mean nothing more than redistributing available bandwidth on a pay-to-play basis.

Why on earth would a newspaper operated by Scripps-Howard, the multi-tiered media company with an online audience exceeding that of Viacom, CBS, General Electric, Comcast, and Advance, repeat a misleading telecom talking point? Maybe it's because they're a multi-tiered media company with an online audience exceeding that of Viacom, CBS, General Electric, Comcast, and Advance?

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