It’s Time For FCC Chair To Step Down

Happy anniversary, Mr. Martin

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There’s a lot of uncertainty not just in the economy but also in the policies guiding American media, the Internet included. Perhaps to quell some of that uncertainty, the public and government officials should pay close attention to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s opinion…and do the opposite.

Kevin Martin, FCC ChairmanKevin Martin, FCC Chairman
(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe it’s wise advice when dealing with other Administration-appointed turds clogging up the works as well. FEMA’s Michael Brown, after doing nobody any favors during the Katrina disaster, finally did us all a solid by resigning. Up next, if we’re lucky, is Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke (Mr. The-Economy-Is-Fine), followed by Martin.

Don’t just take my word for it. It’s Wear-All-Black Day at the FCC, the third anniversary of Martin taking over and creating a totalitarian "super-politicized" environment. Maybe he’s not completely to blame; we all know what happens to Administration appointees if they don’t fall in line.

So if Martin’s not at liberty to do the opposite of what he thinks is best, then maybe others will be able to. Martin’s not a fan of Net Neutrality ideas, unless it involves (symbolically) grilling Comcast about it. Verizon and AT&T have yet to take their places in the hot seat, which is pretty par for the course.

But then again, Comcast isn’t projected as winning the bid for all or nearly all of the C-Block spectrum. Comcast also wasn’t doing its "patriotic duty" by bending over for the DOJ like the telecoms. The reward for the telecoms is they don’t get as much flack from the FCC.

Or so the theory goes.

Comcast is suing the FCC, by the way, over an imposed cap on media ownership, which won’t apply to other media companies, for whom Martin wants to relax the ownership rules. Comcast is more than happy to mention how quickly and lovingly Martin’s FCC approved the largest merger in acquisition history regardless of antitrust concerns, the AT&T/BellSouth merger.

Their lawsuit will have to get in line, though, among two-dozen other lawsuits filed against the FCC regarding that same issue. It will be in line also behind a Supreme Court case, scheduled for this fall, regarding Martin’s and the Administration’s hard-line stance against "fleeting expletives" occurring on live television, often beyond the control of the broadcasters. Martin would extend the government-regulation of speech to cable and satellite subscription networks as well.

Martin would have a more difficult time regulating Internet speech, especially in light of his past non-regulation arguments and all those pesky freedom-loving Americans out there. He won’t have to regulate, though, if he gives a free pass to AT&T and Verizon, who seem lately more than happy to regulate speech for him, and who thus far haven’t come under the scrutiny Comcast has suffered.

That’s not a defense of Comcast’s blocking of file-sharing traffic, just to say that what’s good for one should be good for the other.

Perhaps all these abuses will get their proper light with the threatened Congressional investigation into allegations that Martin has abused his power, either in the name of politics, or the name of double-standard stupidity.

And hopefully, that threatened investigation will result in what needs to be done before a new President takes the stage.      

It’s Time For FCC Chair To Step Down
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  • Jeff Lorry

    Jason —


        You should check your facts:


    1)  Was Comcast as happy to mention that their merger with Adelphia was approved by this same Chairman…guess they didn’t mention that

    2) Verizon was in the hot seat at the last hearing that Martin held (guess you chose to ignore that or didn’t watch the hearing)

    3) Comcast admitted and continues to admit that they are blocking certain traffic (guess you chose to ignore that as well, you should call Free Press folks to confirm) in fact they claim that no one has jurisdiction to stop them.

    4)  Unlike Comcast, Verizon publicly stated that the blocking they had done was wrong and they claim they have stopped (another fact you chose to ignore)

    Just checked with folks at the FCC,  they only ones wearing black are those that will have to wait until Jan. 20, 2009 (at the earliest) for Martin’s departure.   Disgruntled employees are nothing new, ask people who worked for Democratic Chairman Reed Hundt during the 1990’s,  when he made them work they also complained about him and said he was doing it for political reasons.   

    Jason, Good luck with your shilling for Comcast!

    • Jason Lee Miller

      I’m not shilling for anybody, Jeff. I’ve been pretty harsh toward Comcast, too. I’m not the only one, though, who thinks it’s obvious and ridiculous the favortism Martin has shown toward the telcos.

      Verizon wasn’t really in much of a hot seat in the last hearing at all. Verizon showed up for moral support of Comcast, a support that appears when the two have mutual interests. But Comcast’s Cohen was the one sweating all day, not that everybody got to see considering Comcast paid street-folk to take up space.

      And yes, I’ve noted many times in previous columns Comcast’s audacity at saying the FCC didn’t have the jurisdiction to stop them from discriminitating, a jurisdiction that may at least be sealed by Rep. Markey’s latest legislation.

      I remember Verizon’s defacto apology for blocking text messages. I also remember Verizon rolling over and giving the feds every shred of information the feds wanted, with or without warrants.

      Reed Hundt’s tenure is irrevelant. I’m talking about a man in charge of this century’s communications policies whose only qualification for that job was being a campaign lawyer for Bush in 2000. What makes him more qualified than Adelstein or Copps?

      I wasn’t shilling for Comcast. I was shilling for myself and the American people. Martin’s accomplished nothing good in the past 3 years except make indefensible decisions, seemingly at the request of either the telecommunications lobby or under the thumb of an aggressively politicized administration.

      And I stand by that as an American citizen, my right to criticize the government, and I promise I’m no fan of Comcast’s recent actions or assertions.

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