As the effort to gut net neutrality regulations in the US comes to a head, FCC chairman Ajit Pai has created and shared a video reassuring concerned consumers that they'll still be able to do all the things they love to do on the internet—and smugly mocking anyone who might think otherwise.
"'Gram your food?" Check.
Watch Netflix? Check.
Buy stuff online? Check.
How much extra will you have to pay for it? Hey, hey. Just trust us here.
It's a remarkably unserious display from the guy at the head of an agency charged with overseeing, regulating, and protecting all levels of communications in the US, particularly given the potential long-term impact of his charge to eliminate net neutrality regulations.
I suppose you could argue that he's just blowing off a little steam after a long, tough process of consultations and negotiations, having a little bit of fun and all that—or, maybe, you might think that he believes such a level of contempt and dismissiveness is okay because the average consumer either doesn't care or is too stupid to figure out what's going on anyway. (Ironic, I know.)
It's particularly troubling given the accusations of corruption swirling around the proccess—New York AG Eric Schneiderman said last month that tens of thousands of people in New York alone may have had their identities used fraudulently during the FCC's commenting period on the net neutrality proposal, a figure that according to Engadget could actually be as high as two million.
But hey, fidget spinners!
Interestingly (although appallingly is probably a better word), one of the people who appears in the video, during the "You Can Still Ruin Memes" bit, is Martina Markota, a video producer for The Daily Caller. Markota's website includes links to a video called "Come to Pepe," the alt-right frog mascot, and another on Pizzagate, the infamous conspiracy theory about a child sex ring run by the Democratic Party out of the basement of a Washington DC pizzeria. That video has since been removed but according to Gizmodo it covered such topics as "the Clinton political dynasty, John Podesta, email scandals, cocaine, 'government pedo programs,' and 'cheese pizza,' which she alleged was a code word referring to the alleged child sex ring."
You can dismiss Markota's personal antics as a troll or "just a joke" if you like, but for the chairman of the FCC, it is astonishing behavior.