Late-Night TV Hosts Skewered FCC Net Neutrality Vote
The Federal Communications Commission’s vote to scrap the nation’s existing net neutrality regulations was hot topic for a lot of people on Thursday, so it should have come as no surprise that the news became a popular target for skewering by the various comedians holding court on late-night television.
As Fortune noted this week, polls show a majority of Americans are opposed to repealing the rules that aim to ensure all internet traffic is treated equally. The move by the Republican-led FCC has quite a few people worried that it will open the door for big internet service providers (ISPs)—like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon—to throttle traffic for certain websites while creating paid online “fast lanes” for others.
The FCC’s vote on Thursday prompted a range of reactions from big telecoms and tech companies, with Netflix calling the FCC’s decision “misguided” and promising “a longer legal battle,” while Comcast claimed the move “heralds in a new era of light regulation that will benefit consumers.”
FCC chairman Ajit Pai has tried to quell fears that ending net neutrality will “end the internet as we know it,” with Pai saying recently that “consumers will remain protected, and the internet will continue to thrive.”
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Still, late-night TV hosts took the opportunity to take aim at the FCC’s leadership on Thursday night. On CBS’ The Late Show, Stephen Colbert called the FCC’s decision “wrong,” adding: “The only thing that should slow your Internet speed is the number of people also sitting at Starbucks working on their screenplays.”
On ABC, Jimmy Kimmel called the FCC’s vote “absolutely despicable” and claimed it means that “big corporations are about to take control of the internet.” Trevor Noah, host of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show, joked that repealing net neutrality rules would mean “we’re all going to have to be sneaking onto Canada’s Wi-Fi. What’s the password? ‘Aboot’?”
And, in his opening monologue on Thursday, NBC’s Seth Meyers tried explaining the significance of the FCC’s vote to his audience before adding the qualifier: “If you you’re not sure what that means, better Google it while you still can.”