RUSH: Are you all aware that AT&T, which just bought Time Warner — it hasn’t been closed yet, it hasn’t gotten regulatory approval. It may not with Trump. Never know. But AT&T has announced — this is a big deal for the cable TV industry. They have announced that starting tomorrow you can buy internet delivered as much as 120 channels, delivered, streamed to your devices, your computer, your iPhone, your tablet, whatever. None of it’s on the air.
My little tech bloggers are beside themselves with it. Well, because there is a feature in it called zero-rating . Now, stick with me on this. AT&T owns DirecTV. DirecTV is a satellite delivery system. If you are an AT&T customer and you sign up for DirecTV now, the internet streaming video package that will effectively replace cable TV if you want it to, AT&T customers will not be charged data usage to watch and stream the video.
And they say that violates net neutrality, and they say that violates competition. It’s anti-competitive, that other networks, other providers can’t provide it because they’re not providing the — It’s a great illustration of how people who think they are for competition are actually for Big Government and heavy regulation and are anti-competitive.
You know, AT&T wanted to buy T-Mobile, and the Obama administration said no to the merger. You know why? T-Mobile is a maverick, and they are very competitive. They’re not a major firm, and, as such, they make unique deals to attract customers, and we don’t want to take that away from the market. Well, customers are gonna find what the market makes available. It’s not AT&T’s fault that they invested in DirecTV. And it’s not AT&T’s fault that they have the ability to not charge their own customers data charges as they stream video from this new offering.
Well, it’s not AT&T’s fault they offered something different from what Verizon has or T-Mobile or take your pick. But the net neutrality game is to make everybody the same so that there’s no difference and the prices are the same and if these Millennials got their way nothing would cost anything. But it’s classic. This is a great illustration. Net neutrality is being stood upside down which is good because it’s pro-competition, it offers customers options.
You don’t have to sign up for DirecTV now, and you don’t have to become an AT&T customer in order get this deal. But if you want it, guess what you have to do? You have to sign up with AT&T. Okay, so AT&T is using market advantages based on its own investments and here come these little anti-competitive little liberals who actually think they are promoting competition when they’re not. It’s just classic.
It’s a great, great, great illustration of how the free market works and how the left wants no part of it because they think it’s unfair because somebody has something that somebody else doesn’t. Somebody can offer something somebody else doesn’t. Somebody can buy something that somebody else can’t. Not fair, so we need to net neutrality which basically regulates the internet from a command-and-control center in the government making it identical and the same for everybody no matter where you go.
If you don’t like cable TV and you want to be able to stream and if you have the ability to project what’s on your phone on your iPad to the TV set in your room and as long as you’ve got an internet connection, bammo! You are set to go. I don’t know about local affiliates yet on this. That’s the one thing I haven’t been able to find out yet. I’ve got the channel lists here for all this. But it is… It’s a fascinating subject to me.
RUSH: We now start on the phones in Seattle. This is Dave. It’s great to have you, sir. Welcome to the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Hey, thanks, Rush. It’s an honor. I want to talk about that net neutrality thing. Right now, you know, AT&T and DirecTV have… If you have it at home, you get it on your phone with the DirecTV app streaming all the channels you got anyway. So —
RUSH: Well, but you’ve gotta have a Genie receiver to do it if you want to stream what you record. And what you can’t get on the satellite, you have to have a special receiver. But still, you’re right. I mean, it does exist. But what is…? I didn’t mean to interrupt you.
CALLER: No. That’s okay if you happen to. So Netflix doesn’t have a receiver on your roof.
CALLER: So basically AT&T or DirecTV is going in competition with Netflix and Google and all the other online services you got streaming now, and they’re offering it the same way, right? You pay for it; you get it.
CALLER: And your streaming only depends on your carrier, your plan with your phone carrier. If you have unlimited data they may throttle you a bit but it’s still the same thing. So I guess I don’t get what the —
RUSH: You don’t understand what the tech —
CALLER: — and why.
RUSH: Yeah. Well, okay. I would love to explain this to you, and I’m gonna do it as briefly as I can because of the constraints of time, and the first thing… Look, I know I sound like a broken record. The first thing you have to understand about these people that we are discussing is they are liberals. That will explain 75%. That will cover the general opposition they have to anything corporate. The other 25% gets specific.
What the techies are upset about, is they’re upset that AT&T is offering this new deal starting tomorrow. They’re calling it DirecTV Now. It has nothing to do with DirecTV, by the way. They’re just calling it that. It’s a branding. It’s DirecTV Now, where they are offering four different tiers of channels that you can stream to your phone or your tablet or your computer. It’s all internet. There’s none of it over the air. There’s no cable box needed, just an internet connection, and they’re charging whatever they want to charge, $35 to $70 a month, depending on the tier.
And they’ve got some first-day deals that they’re offering, and for the most money you get the most channels. It’s a basic channel list. It’s pretty inclusive for 35 bucks to start. But there’s an added bonus. If you’re already an AT&T subscriber on your phone, if AT&T is your wireless carrier, you get an AT&T deal. You are not gonna be charged any data you use streaming any of this programming if you’re already an AT&T customer. They are making… That’s called… In the net neutrality lexicon, that’s called zero-rating.
They have invested who knows what in getting their subscriber base. And if they want to lock this down and freeze out other competitors from offering something the same, they make a deal like this. Well, the techies think it’s unfair. They think it’s anti-competitive. They want net neutrality — which is the FCC — making sure that nobody can offer something nobody else can offer. That’s neutral, that’s fair, and they call it completely competitive. It isn’t competitive.
That’s anti-competitive when you set everybody up as the same price, offerings, quality, quantity, all of that. It’s absurd. Now, Verizon could do this. They have FiOS. They could have gone out and they could have made a deal with content providers, but for whatever reason they didn’t. AT&T did, and they’re first to market with it, and the little tech buddies are very unhappy. At root, they don’t think entertainment ought to cost anything. They hate cable. They hate anything they have to pay for, and I’m not just exaggerating about that.
RUSH: So I got an interesting email. I’m glad I got this email. It’s an email complaining. “Dear Rush: I can’t believe that you are spending so much time on net neutrality. What are you talking about? We want to know what Trump’s gonna do with secretary of state and his flag burning comment, and you’re talking about TV?” And I’m glad I got this email. You know why? Ladies and gentlemen…
Now, those of you who are regular listeners know this already, but we have a tune-in factor here that is almost like it was when we began back in 1988, ’89, and ’90, and that means there are a lot of people here listening without context. This may be their first day, second day, third day and they come here having heard all kinds of drivel about this program. So they’re trying to figure it all out. Let me tell you something straight up. I never talk about things that don’t matter. I never talk about things that are unimportant.
I always talk about things that interest me. And while net neutrality may not be front and center today, it’s going to be once Trump’s inaugurated and his FCC starts fixing the things Obama broke. Not just the FCC, but all throughout this administration. This is why I say, “If you listen to this program, you’re going to be on the cutting edge,” meaning you’re gonna hear about things here long before you hear them in the mainstream.
What’s gonna happen is, sometime down the road this net neutrality thing is gonna blow up, and you’re say, “Yeah, yeah, I know about that. Rush talked about that a couple months ago.” That is gonna be your reaction to it. Now, I don’t want to spend a whole lot more time on this right now, but it is key because what we do here is expose the left. We deconstruct them and expose them. They are ruining this country, and they’re doing it under the guise of transforming it and “modernizing” it and ridding it of the baggage of the founding.
It’s horrible what they have been doing, and they have been doing it at every level of government and society and culture. So this guy called, and he wants to know why the techies are so upset about this, and he used Netflix in his example of various things that you can stream, and he wanted to know why the left is so upset at AT&T and the way they’re offering their cable package. By the way, AT&T’s taking a huge risk here.
Nobody really knows yet just how extensive so-called cord-cutting is. The best indication we’ve got that it’s real is the subscribers ESPN is losing. They are losing some… They are over 600,000 subscribers down now. Cable companies have to pay ESPN almost $6 per subscriber. That’s three times what they have to pay for HBO or anything else, and ESPN is losing gazillions of dollars with these cancellations. Now, are they losing these people because people are tired of cable TV? Are they losing ’cause they’re tired of ESPN becoming political sports? We don’t know yet.
We think we know, but we don’t know. Net neutrality is a big deal to the left because it puts the government in charge of the internet. It puts the government in charge of content. It lets the government choose what you can watch and what you can’t watch and what you pay for it. And that’s bogus. In the name of competition, they want to take competition away from the net. They’re leftists. They lie to you about what they want to do. And some of…
Like these little tech bloggers may even be dupes. They may not even know what they’re doing. They just think they do. So when they talk about net neutrality promoting competition, who knows; they may actually think that it does. But it doesn’t. If AT&T wants to invest in some offering to consumers and offer a deal to their existing subscribers, why shouldn’t they be able to? If you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it.
You know, I don’t know about you, folks. When I was growing up, I never expected to be able to afford everything I wanted. There are certain things I couldn’t afford. I didn’t run around blasting those companies or those things. I just decided I was gonna have to, if I really wanted it, find a way to pay for it. But that doesn’t seem to be the attitude today. The attitude today is if you want it, you should have it. And if you can’t afford it, it’s not your fault. It’s the provider’s fault because they’re corporations and they rip you off and they kill you.
It’s strict liberalism, which this program has taken on as a challenge to educate everybody about. This AT&T deal to me is highly intriguing. I want to see if it works. I want to see if they’re able to make it work, online streaming, no interruptions. Can they handle the load? Are people that pay for it gonna get what they want? What are gonna be the market concerns and reactions if they succeed? About Netflix… The reason techies love Netflix is because it’s cheap.
It’s like nine bucks a month for everything in the Netflix library. But people who watch, for example, series television, network series TV, if they only watch it on Netflix, they watch it a year or two late. You want to watch, say, I don’t know, Law & Order SUV on Netflix, you’ll watch this season in a year or two, but some people think it’s okay, I don’t need it to be current ’cause I’m only paying nine bucks for it. Well, this is gonna be a direct competitor to Netflix, although it’s gonna cost more than Netflix does.
But Netflix will be streamed just like this will be streamed. The cord-cutting generation hates cable TV ’cause they think they’re corporations and they rip people off and they make you buy a bunch of channels you never watch in order to get the channels that you do watch. They’ve always said, “We want to be a la cart. We want to be able to cord-cut. We want to be able to watch what we want.” So it’s now evolving where if they only want to watch HBO they can but they have to pay for it. If they only want to watch Cinemax, they can, but have to pay for it.
It’s turning out that buying all these things a la carte is gonna cost them much more than the old fashioned cable package was, and they’re devastated and disappointed, and they can’t believe it’s working out that way. So there’s… To me here, there’s a lot going on that’s fascinating culturally, economically, and technologically in terms of innovation and advancement. And there’s also a lot of factors that figure into this in terms of the way it’s being reported. You probably, if you’re on the edge of things, think net neutrality is a good thing.
Look at the way liberals name things. “Net neutrality.” It’s like Switzerland! They don’t take sides, everybody’s fair, everything’s the same. It’s not what it is. Net neutrality rules are anti-consumer and anti-competitive. By definition, liberals don’t believe in competition, and you know that. Competition is the root of all evil, as far as leftists are concerned, ’cause there are winners and there are losers, and the losers are sad and disappointed, and that’s unacceptable. So everything must be the same. Nobody can have more than anybody else.
Nobody should be able to offer anymore than anybody.
Nobody should have to pay more than anybody else. Nobody should make more than anybody else. Everything is supposed to be the same. It’s the only way it’s fair. It’s the only way feelings don’t get hurt. So when circumstances like that exist, they call that anti-competitive. Anti-competitive means they can’t afford it. This is a… If you’re an AT&T customer, it’s a great deal. If you’re not and you want this, and you cancel your Sprint, your Verizon, T-Mobile — you really want this and you cancel your existing carrier — well, it’s the free market. You should be able to do so, if you want to. This is how prices are kept down. This is how supply is plentiful and abundant, is with this ongoing competition.
But net neutrality is rooted in a number of leftist assumptions, and that is that all corporation is evil, that all profit is evil, and that all people in corporations are not people, because corporations aren’t people. A gigantic rip-off. Then you couple their own economic circumstances into this and the way they’ve been raised, thinking if they want it, they should have it, then you get this so-called informed media and opinion about all this stuff.
But, believe me, everything is fine. I guess it’s rooted in the way people were raised, it’s generational. I know it’s different today than when I was growing up, and that’s fine. But I have never been somebody, even when I was earning $19,000 a year, I never ran around whining and moaning about what things cost. What they cost was what they cost. And if I couldn’t afford it, then I had to find a way to afford it or forget about it for now. It’s just the way it was.
But it seems to me that a lot of people do, and I don’t have much patience for it, particularly in matters like this. But if you start with the presumptions that liberals do, that corporations are evil and it all descends from that and that government is great and that government’s there to make sure corporations play fair and are not mean and do not rip people off, there’s a little bit of truth in everything. Some corporations are bad, some corporations have done bad things, but as a general rule, it’s dangerous to subscribe to things like that.
At any rate, AT&T’s thing debuts tomorrow. We’ll see how it goes. But you are gonna be hearing about this because Trump is going to get rid of net neutrality. His FCC is gonna broom it. And when that happens, you’re gonna hear caterwauling like you haven’t heard caterwauling, right along the lines I have been describing. And when it happens you’re gonna be able to say, “I know about this. Rush told me about this all the way back in December.” Actually, November.
RUSH: Here is Jordan in Redding, Pennsylvania. Great to have you on the EIB Network. Hello.
CALLER: Awesome! Thank you, Rush. I thank you for taking my call. Long, longtime listener. I’m a Rush Baby basically. I’m 28 years old and you’ll get a kick out of this. Back in ’92, my parents traded their Chevy cavalier station wagon for a Buick LeSabre.
CALLER: I didn’t know how radio worked at the time but basically I gave my… I said, “Oh, this is a great car because here’s the first thing we turned on,” and Rush Limbaugh was on the radio in that car.
RUSH: Thank you. That’s a great remembrance.
CALLER: Yes. Anyway, basically what I wanted to talk about is I’m glad you brought up the deal with the net neutrality thing. Let me say I am all for competition and I agree with all of your points as far as if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it, and I’m actually excited for the AT&T, the DirecTV Now.
RUSH: So am I.
CALLER: I am excited about that. I’m gonna sign up myself. But one thing I wanted to talk about with the net neutrality, though. The point I wanted to make is that net neutrality — I’m a techie, I’m in the tech sector — and net neutrality, though, from my understanding, though, was supposed to level, like, the playing field so there could be better off competition that doesn’t discriminate based on content. So whether I’m listening to Rush Limbaugh on streaming radio or downloading a movie, it doesn’t discriminate, like, either throttle or count against my cap, ’cause, like, with AT&T. So with DirecTV Now, they are not being counted against that cap. And the same thing, like, in Comcast, like, had a streaming service or what have you, it doesn’t count against the cap, but something like that Netflix does count against the cap.
RUSH: Okay, by “cap,” you mean on your data, whatever monthly service you’ve agreed to pay your provider.
CALLER: That’s correct.
RUSH: See, there’s a cap on the data for the price. You go over it, then you get charged additional.
CALLER: That is correct.
RUSH: And you say Netflix, if you go over the cap, there is a cap on Netflix, but there’s no cap for AT&T customers on DirecTV Now. That’s called zero-rating. I know the net neutrality people think it’s unfair. I had a long conversation with FCC commissioner about this in the early days of net neutrality because the whole name of it confused me. This whole business of “net neutrality.” And I must admit I’m prejudiced: When liberals are behind something, I’m automatically suspicious.
So net neutrality was gonna make sure that all the providers were governed by the same rules. And he said, “Well, that may be one of the things they’re pursuing. The real objective of this is ultimately to control content.” And it was, in his view, it was aimed at being discriminatory against conservative-oriented websites and providers under the pretext that there’s way too much conservative media. There’s Drudge, there’s Rush Limbaugh, there’s all these other sites. And the left hasn’t been able to compete against them in the marketplace.
So they had to level the field and give the left equal access by limiting the access of conservatives who had been successful. Now, this is one of the early — very early — concerns about people who were opposed to net neutrality. So I studied it on that basis and I started examining people who were for it as they wrote about it, and then I have a couple of friends who are scholars in the whole concept of telecommunications, and I trust these people implicitly.
In fact, before our program today, I called one of my buddies who is an expert in this to ask about this very story I saw today ripping the whole concept that AT&T has zero-rating. Meaning, again: AT&T, the provider for cellular service is offering (starting tomorrow) a program called — a business — called DirecTV Now. It has nothing to do with DirecTV, which they own. It’s just the brand name of it. They’re gonna offer four different tiers of television content at various price points.
Net neutrality proponents think that is grossly unfair to people like Netflix or any other, Hulu, you name it, any other provider of content where, if you use your phone or your iPad to stream and you’ve got a monthly data plan and you’ve got a cap, therefore, and based on what you’re willing to pay for it. If you exceed that cap then the overage is very expensive. You won’t run into that if you’re an AT&T customer and you subscribe to DirecTV Now. But if you are a Verizon customer and you subscribe to AT&T now, your cap is in place, and if you go over, you’ll be charged for your data that you use to stream.
And this is considered by the net neutrality proponents to be grossly unfair and advantageous to AT&T because Verizon customers, T-Mobile customers, and Netflix all have caps on the amount of data you can stream from your provider. It’s not fair that AT&T can provide it, so they want net neutrality to either make everybody else offer what AT&T offers or punish AT&T and not let them offer it. In that sense, I view it as anti-competitive.
If there were no controls on the internet — and I shudder to think at letting certain people have control of it, ’cause I know — Jordan, don’t doubt me — I know you will, but I wish you wouldn’t. It is content related. Ultimately what they want to control and police is the content. They’re liberals! They want to eliminate opposing points of view. They do it with political correctness, which is censorship. They do it in the Drive-By Media by simply ignoring all kinds of news that is not palatable or it conflicts with their worldview, they just ignore it and don’t even cover it. It’s inarguable.
But if AT&T, the way I look at it, if AT&T’s made the investment to buy the satellite provider, even though it has nothing to do with this, and if they’re making the investment, if they’re going out and cutting deals with the content providers in order to have access to all of these channels, and then they want to go sell it, and they want to turn a profit eventually, one of the things they can offer as an incentive to sign up is if you already are an AT&T subscriber, you’re gonna have no data charges. Well, hell’s bells. That’s a heck of a deal. And it’s a great competitive advantage for them that they can do.
And I know some people look at it, that’s just like grossly unfair because the other companies don’t have the same thing to offer. Well, they could have if they wanted to. You know, Verizon has FiOS. If they wanted to go out and cut of their — Apple was gonna do this but Apple didn’t get it done. I don’t hear anybody complaining about how Apple got aced out. You’re gonna be able to get this app, this DirecTV Now, it’s gonna be an app, it’s gonna be on your phone, it’s gonna be on Apple TV. You’re gonna be able to sign up on Apple TV and watch this stuff, and you’re gonna have on your Apple TV access to everything you’ve got on cable.
I don’t know about local over-the-air broadcast channels yet. I haven’t gotten into that. But Jordan’s point was this represents an unfair structure that advantages AT&T over the others, but the others are customers. Verizon has customers. Netflix has customers. T-Mobile has customers. And they do not have the same opportunity. It’s gonna cost them more. Well, not if they sign up with AT&T. This is what competition looks like. Competition is cutthroat.
When you get down to the meat and potatoes of genuine capitalism, it is cutthroat, vicious competition, and the consumer always benefits in the end. Look at the AT&T customer. The AT&T customer is getting a hell of a deal here. This is one heck of a deal. And the people opposed to it, by definition, have to be anti-competitive.
Yet they have set themselves up to be pro-competitive and anti-corporate. They want to be able to deny any arrangement like this. There’s no reason AT&T should be able to offer something Netflix can’t. There’s no reason Verizon should be able to offer something AT&T, Netflix, and T-Mobile can’t. And you need a command-and-control central authority to regulate this and to punish people who violate it?
But what do you end up with if it succeeds? You end up with sameness. There’s no difference in anything, and then you’re gonna get mediocrity, because then there’s no need on the part of any of these companies to offer anything superior ’cause it isn’t going to matter. If they leave you and sign up with a competitor, it’s gonna be the same thing because everybody’s gonna have the same limits, and it leads to a mediocre product and anti-competitive pricing, and it’s not good.
But on the surface it does appear unfair because not everybody’s an AT&T subscriber. It’s classic the way liberalism works. If anybody has an advantage over anybody for any reason, it’s not permitted. It’s not fair. And it’s got to be regulated and equalized. And in the process, competition’s destroyed and when competition goes, so do consumer advantages. Anyway, Jordan, I appreciate the call.
RUSH: By the way, one other thing, T-Mobile, these cellular providers offer all kinds of data deals to get you to sign up. You can stream Netflix on T-Mobile, I think, with no cap. There’s all kinds of opportunities for people out there. You don’t need command-and-control central authority trying to regulate all of this stuff because all of it, again, is about punishing success from the left.