A sad state of affairs.
Special report This week, Ajit Pai, chairman of America's broadband watchdog, decided to reignite the contentious debate over net neutrality – by proposing scrapping the country's open internet safeguards.
The move was not unexpected. But what was surprising was how FCC chair Pai decided to relay it: rather than outline the logical policy reasons for why such a big change was necessary, he instead embarked on a fact-free, frequently misleading and highly partisan speech that bordered on a rant, even going so far as to mock and dismiss anyone who opposed his idea.
Interest in the decision was significant but rather than talk to any number of telecom policy experts or reporters about the topic, Pai instead decided to give an exclusive interview with Breitbart – the hard-right website masterminded by odious presidential Svengali Steve Bannon. An odd choice.
Pai has been avoiding interviews for months with journalists who cover communications, technology, and policy, only turning up to softball interviews with outlets that he knows will praise him or light TV shows more interested in fashion trends than telecom policy.
Earlier this month, when tech scribe Jon Brodkin complained he had been asking for an interview with Pai for months, Pai responded on Twitter with: "Can't imagine why," alongside screengrabs of the reporter's critical posts about him.
When Pai's not repeating conspiratorial talking points, he accuses individuals of being socialists and lovers of the Venezuelan regime, advocates of net neutrality as being out-and-out liars, and a huge percentage of American citizens as being hypocritical and anti-free speech.