What's It Take To Become An FCC Commissioner?

from the say-the-right-things dept

Robert McDowell, the latest nominee to the FCC, went in front of the Senate Commerce Committee Thursday, and by all accounts looks to have sailed through. McDowell is an interesting nominee, not least of which because of his position with the trade group Comptel, which lobbies in favor of “competition” on behalf of small telecom providers — and which argued against the recent Verizon-MCI and SBC-AT&T deals. In the hearings, McDowell assured senators that he would hold no bias in his rulings and votes, and would recuse himself from any issues with conflicts of interest. That’s the admirable and ethical thing to do, but the implication seems to be that to become an FCC commissioner, you have to say you’ll play ball with the big telcos. This isn’t to slam McDowell even before he’s been confirmed, far from it — he describes himself as a friend of consumers and an advocate of competition, two things the current FCC needs. But it seems like he had to assure the Senate committee that he wasn’t too friendly with those pesky smaller operators, and wouldn’t stand too much in the way of companies running over consumers. It would have been refreshing had he gone in and said, “Yes, I’ve worked with smaller competitors and that work has highlighted regulatory issues like line sharing, where competition is being hampered and ultimately the consumer is being hurt,” if for no other reason than to see the senators’ reactions (or at least the reactions of the three that bothered to turn up). While it’s hard to doubt McDowell’s credentials and his past work with regards to telecom competition makes him look like a good candidate, it’s a shame that apparently he has to play that down to get the job.

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Comments on “What's It Take To Become An FCC Commissioner?”

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wolff000 says:

Play Ball!

It makes sense to play down things that a possible employer doesn’t like. You wouldn’t go into a job interview and tell a possible employer you love to drink and party all night. Even if that is a huge part of your life and doesn’t hamper your work ,it would keep you from getting the job. Hopefully this guy keeps fighting for us and not the big telcos all though dollar signs often cloud vision of good people; only time will tell.

Karl (user link) says:

Re: Re: Play Ball!

I’m telling you, the second he gets under the thumb of the GOP on that panel, he’s doing absolutely nothing he’s not told to.

Deregulate, deregulate, deregulate. Net-Neutrali-wha?

Even if somewhere deep down he does have a soft-spot for CLECs, the most we’ll see is a tersely worded press release (like Copps) suggesting why the issue he just voted yes on was a bad idea.

Karl (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Play Ball!



“McDowell told the “sparsely attended” committee that his main concerns are encouraging competition between communications companies, removing barriers for communications firms and letting the private sector have more involvement in the industry.”

Translated: Help the bells get into the IPTV business, deregulate, and do nothing about the banning of municipal broadband endeavors.

The Other Mike says:

Re: Re: Re: Play Ball!

Yeah that evil GOP always going and taking away that socialistic monopoly that is the hallmark of freedom around the world.

Seriously, I am not for one side or the other but is this place perma-linked on some liberal blog or something? All I hear is GOP/Bush bashing in nearly every single comment thread. Someone call PETA because that dead horse is getting some serious abuse.

I very seriously doubt I am the only one who doesn’t even read comments half the time anymore.

The Other Mike says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Play Ball!

Ahh yes. Thanks for demonstrating that intelligence level I was just discussing. Blind hatred only makes you feel worse. Nobody else cares. Life goes on and apparently lots of readers will start to also. In fact I think I will join that bandwagon. Adios.

BTW, I voted blue twice before I voted red, so you can’t say that I am a fanboy of either side. Just a rational thinker tired of haters. All you need is a hood and many around here would fit in at some rallies with the blind hatred they display.

The Other Mike says:

When in Rome...

In politics you say what needs to be said at the moment in the most non-committal way you can get by with, so that you can still do as you see fit later and point to the wiggle room you left yourself.

They were all just doing the same dance we’ve seen done before I suppose. The context of it may change but the net result doesn’t. That’s the sad part to me.

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