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Bloggers Trash Journal's Tale Of Cyber Queue-Jumping

Publication Date: 
December 21, 2008
The Observer
John Naughton

Professor Lawrence Lessig is quoted in an Observer article about a story in The Wall Street Journal that implies that Barack Obama and Lessig would change their stance on network neutrality:

The allegation of barefaced corporate hypocrisy was interesting enough, but the Journal went further, alleging that two other influential supporters of network neutrality - president-elect Obama and Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig had, or would soon, shift their positions on the issue.

Nice scoop, you might think, and it would have been were it not that the story was wrong. First, the Journal's reporters had misunderstood and misinterpreted what Google is doing.


The authors of the Journal article clearly did not understand that content caching has nothing to do with network neutrality. They compounded the error by making unsubstantiated claims about the views of the incoming Obama administration and Professor Lessig. Lessig knew nothing about the story until he found his inbox overflowing with angry emails. "I've not seen anything during the Obama campaign or from the transition to indicate it has shifted its view about network neutrality at all", he wrote in an angry blog post, "but I do know something about my own views, and what the Journal has done here is really extraordinary". The newspaper had, he said, provided "no evidence that my view is a 'shift' or 'soften[ing]' of earlier views. That's because there isn't any such evidence. My view is the view I have always had."

...Lessig was able instantly to rebut the views attributed to him in the article.