Media Matters Claims Ajit Pai 'Retreats to Fox' to 'Avoid Criticism' on Net Neutrality, Omits He Appeared on CBS, CNBC, NPR

June 11, 2018

Left-wing media watchdog Media Matters for America accused Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai on Monday of retreating to Fox News to "avoid criticism" over the repeal of net neutrality, neglecting to tell readers he also appeared on several other programs.

The FCC voted in December to end the Obama-era net neutrality rules that imposed regulations on the Internet. Pai's Restoring Internet Freedom proposal repealed the Obama administration's Title II rules, the Free Beacon reported. Under net neutrality, internet service providers were classified as utilities instead of information services, and subjected to broad federal regulation.

The repeal became official Monday, and Pai appeared on CBS, NPR, CNBC and Fox News to discuss the new measures and respond to critics who have fretted internet service providers will block or throttle traffic on certain websites.

Media Matters focused on just one channel.

"On the day net neutrality repeal takes effect, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai retreats to Fox to avoid criticism," Media Matters tweeted Monday afternoon.

It linked to an article with the same headline and the transcript of a portion of his interview with Fox host Dana Perino. The story hit Perino for not pushing back against his claim the Internet will be "better than ever" as a result of the repeal.

The framing of the Media Matters piece was Pai had only spoken with Fox News—a more Trump-friendly news outlet—but Pai appeared on CBS as well. He even tweeted out a link to his interview on "CBS This Morning" Monday and thanked hosts Norah O'Donnell, Gayle King and John Dickerson for having him.

The three hosts drilled down on Pai, with Dickerson saying companies in the past had engaged in shady Internet practices meant to be stopped by net neutrality.

"Now they know basically they can do what they want, and it's up to the consumers to try to police them," Dickerson said.

"That's not true," Pai said. "At the FCC, we have a transparency rule, where every company in the United States has to disclose their business practices, and the Federal Trade Commission is empowered to take action against any company that engages in any anti-competitive conduct."

Pai said the repeal of net neutrality would be beneficial to consumers, saying the old regulations stood in the way of cheaper, more widely available Internet.

Pai also appeared on CNBC and NPR to discuss the new rules.

UPDATED: 10:04 P.M.: This post was updated to show Pai also appeared on CNBC and NPR on Monday.