Conservative pundits minimize government’s role in creating the Internet

Updated

The debate over the origin of the Internet rages on.

For weeks, the right has been having a field day ripping President Obama over his “you didn’t build that” line—often contorting and obfuscating the context. The Wall Street Journal’s Gordon Crovitz is being heavily criticized by tech experts and his own sources for a piece he wrote this week repeating the right’s characterization of Obama’s line and arguing the government had no hand in the creation of the Internet.

Those on the right including Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove are repeating Crovitz’s claims.

Rove, who served as George W. Bush’s senior advsior, told Fox & Friends Thursday that the piece was “brilliant” and that Obama’s comments have “hit a raw nerve among small-business people.” And Limbaugh went so far as to call to call Obama’s claim that “the Internet didn’t get invented on its own” “diabolical.”

The firestorm erupted after President Obama gave a speech earlier in the month arguing that business owners owe some credit to government investment. When it comes to roads, schools, public infrastructure and the internet, Obama told business owners, “you didn’t build that.” Republicans have chiseled that quote out of its original context to suggest that the president was saying that the “it” was businesses—not public works projects—and that business owners can’t claim credit for building their own businesses.

Indeed, Mitt Romney has gone so far to hold “We did build it” events this week, teaming up with several businesses in battleground states. At the events, business owners have insisted that government is stalling their growth.

But on Thursday, msnbc host Al Sharpton branded these events as hypocritical, pointing to a Think Progress report detailing how several of the participating businesses were actually built with government subsidies and contracts.

“I don’t need the Internet to know this—it’s called hypocrisy,” said Sharpton.

“All you need to know is government funding allowed researchers to work on what eventually became the Internet,” said Sharpton. Simply put, he continued, the right is playing “pure politics.” 

 

Al Sharpton, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and Barack Obama

Conservative pundits minimize government's role in creating the Internet

Updated