Other writers on John Oliver, the NFL and Koch brothers


John Oliver makes people dumb

L. Gordon Crovitz in the Wall Street Journal: Monday is the deadline for public comments on proposed Internet regulations to the Federal Communications Commission. More than one million comments have been posted, mostly sent by “clicktivists” and drafted by special-interest groups in Washington. As a sign of the confusion over the topic, many commenters say they want more Internet competition but then demand regulation that would stifle competition.

Everyone favors an open Internet where no one needs permission to start a website or launch an app, and all content is distributed without censorship. But lobbying groups with Orwellian names like Free Press and Public Knowledge want to turn the Internet into a regulated utility, with bureaucrats setting prices and terms under rules written for railroads in the 19th century and the telephone monopoly in the 1930s.

The number of FCC comments soared after comedian John Oliver did a segment on his HBO show, “Last Week Tonight,” in June. He acknowledged that “net neutrality” is a complex topic — “The only two words that promise more boredom in the English language are “Featuring Sting” — but called on his audience to demand some kind of action by the FCC. ...

The rush of comments, many aimed at cable and telecom broadband providers, crashed the FCC website.

There were serious comments too. One of them ran 159 pages and was written by Berin Szoka, president of the market-oriented think tank TechFreedom, and Geoffrey Manne of the International Center for Law and Economics. But recognizing that a “radical fringe has hijacked the conversation in an attempt to undo two decades of bipartisan consensus against heavy-handed government control of the Internet,” Mr. Szoka decided to match the tactics of the more organized advocacy groups.

The media’s absurd NFL hysteria

Rich Lowry in Politico: Over the past few weeks, two sets of initials have dominated the news — ISIL and NFL — and the casual listener would be hard-pressed to decide which is more odious.

It’s a wonder that President Barack Obama didn’t include a passage in his speech to the nation last week pledging to bring NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to justice.

Such is the weight the press has put on the NFL’s punishment of Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for punching his then-fiancée that Denis McDonough, the president’s chief of staff, had to weigh in on “Meet the Press”: “I think we all know that Ray Rice being suspended indefinitely seems to be exactly the right thing.”

On the NFL, the media has lost its collective mind. It’s as if the people who controlled CNN’s programming in the aftermath of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 have been put in charge of all press coverage of the NFL, and brought to the task the same sense of proportion, good taste and dignity that characterized the network’s handling of the missing plane.

The coverage of the Rice elevator video managed to combine moralistic preening with voyeuristic pandering. Everyone on TV professed to be so outraged by domestic violence that they had to show a clip of a woman getting viciously punched, over and over again (until many of the networks finally recoiled from their own overkill).

At least the NFL gets its ratings by broadcasting images of men hitting other men.

In recent weeks, you’d think that the fate of justice in America depends on how harshly the NFL punishes a few miscreants. Only if Ray Rice and accused child-abuser Adrian Peterson are banished from the game do women and children have a chance of living in a country where they are safe from violence and abuse.

This is patently absurd.

Those evil Koch brothers?

New York Post Editorial Board: Someone please stop this man.

We mean billionaire philanthropist David Koch, who had the temerity Thursday morning to break ground for a new wing of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

The ground-breaking for the David H. Koch Center for ambulatory care was a quiet affair, a notable change from this spring, when the $100 million gift was first announced. Back then, the New York State Nurses’ Association and SEIU Local 1199 protested the gift with signs that read, “Quality Care, Not Koch Care!”

That’s right: The same groups who usually march against hospitals for closing were outraged that one was expanding. Plainly, it galls them that ordinary people might see these gifts for what they are: the generous donations of a good citizen.

In an interview with Crain’s this month, Koch was asked why his name is on so many of the projects to which he donates. He answered as follows:

“Left-wing Democrats highly enjoy calling me an evil Koch brother, and the contributions I make in these many areas are tremendously worthy. It sends a message to the political groups in this country that don’t like the conservative Republican businessman.”

Maybe the tide is turning.