FCC's Wheeler: Oliver Net Neutrality Riff Was Creative

Says it demonstrates interest in topic, but 'satire is not C-SPAN.'
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FCC chairman Tom Wheeler was among those who watched the John Oliver "Network Neutrality" explanation (from his HBO show) that became a YouTube hit (over 3.5 million and counting).

Wheeler told reporters Friday that he had watched it a couple of times. "I like John Oliver," he said. "I think it was creative and funny and," admitting he was "stealing a line" from Oliver's former Comedy Central colleague, Stephen Colbert, added, "He deserved a tip of the hat."

"Satire is not C-SPAN," said Wheeler. "However, I think that it represents the high level of interest that exists in the topic in the country, and that's good." Wheeler had already signaled that earlier in announcing a new inquiry into paid peering, pointing out that the FCC had received 19,000 e-mails in its open Internet query.

He said he would like to state for the record that he is "not a dingo." Oliver had pointed out that "the guy that used to run the cable industry's lobbying arm [Wheeler, former NCTA president] is now running the agency tasked with regulating it. That is the equivalent of needing a babysitter and hiring a Dingo," an invocation of the macabre catchphrase popularized by the film A Cry in the Dark, about the death of an Australian child killed by a dingo in 1980.

Wheeler conceded he had to look up what a dingo was (a feral dog native to Australia).