If Net Neutrality Is Such A Big Deal, How Come It's Not In The News?


Network neutrality is one of business and government's biggest ongoing debates. But even though our lives are increasingly influenced and determined by online interactions, many people have no idea what the phrase means.

A recent Pew Research Center report put a point on how little the debate seems to be engaging the public. Out of the 203 articles that even mentioned net neutrality in 2014, 139 were in the same six papers. Twenty-five out of nearly 3,000 TV news programs discussed the issue. That's 0.8%.

The story's very different on Twitter, where nearly all the 650,000 tweets on the topic expressed support for an open Internet. Then again, Twitter's not even close to a representative sample of the US population.

A separate VentureBeat poll revealed similar findings. Of 714 people surveyed through Google, nearly 60% reported that they didn't even know enough about what net neutrality was. (And these are people already savvy enough to spend enough time on the Internet to take Google surveys.)

So where does that leave us? Well, it leaves journalists with more of a responsibility to report on tech stuff that isn't the sexiest app or most titillating group selfie.

But it's also a strong reminder: Some of the most important fights for public resources aren't made in front of the public. They're made in fluorescent-lit corporate conference rooms, on the least engaging parts of C-SPAN, or in tiny, esoteric debates that only circulate among a handful of people. And sometimes there's only mainstream news about them when it's too late.

If Net Neutrality Is Such A Big Deal, How Come It's Not In The News?