Hypocrisy Rules As Companies Try To Smear New FTC Nomination Alvaro Bedoya
from the rat-fucking-du-jour dept
Throughout the Trump administration, a lot of folks had absolutely no problem with the mindless rubber-stamps appointed to key regulatory positions. Ajit Pai, for example, couldn’t have demonstrated regulatory capture any more clearly, rubber-stamping every idiotic whim of telecom monopolies at every conceivable opportunity (often with the help of fabricated data and fraud). Revolving door regulation and unqualified industry lackey appointments hit a fevered pitch not seen at any point in U.S. history, and at every step a long list of organizations and individuals made it abundantly clear they were fine with all of it.
Fast forward to Biden’s efforts to replace some of these folks, and a lot of these same organizations and individuals that turned a blind eye to the worst aspects of Trumpism are now fanning their face about perceived conflicts of interest, “partisan politics,” and all manner of hypocritical injustices.
See the intentionally gridlocked nomination of new FCC Commissioner Gigi Sohn, for example. Sohn is popular across both sides of the aisle and, whatever you think of her positions and politics, highly competent. Yet her nomination has been stuck in congressional purgatory for months thanks to completely false claims ranging from she wants to “censor conservatives,” to laughable claims from revolving door cable lobbyists that her history as an expert on consumer advocacy means she can’t regulate telecom fairly. All coming from industry folks who don’t actually believe anything they’re saying.
The same gamesmanship is also imperiling the nomination of Alvaro Bedoya to the FTC. Bedoya is a professor and founding Director of Georgetown Law?s Center on Privacy & Technology and is widely respected. Whatever one thinks of Bedoya’s politics and positions, there’s no real doubt that he’s competent and qualified for the role. But companies that don’t really want competent, objective regulators have been working overtime to smear Bedoya in the same way they’re working to smear Sohn. Usually through proxy groups and think tanks they funnel money, and then flimsy arguments, to.
For example the “American Consumer Institute Center for Citizen Research” is not really a consumer group. It’s one of countless 501(c)(3) nonprofits corporations covertly fund, and use to create the illusion of broad support (or opposition) for/to things big companies want. For example the American Consumer Institute was paid by telecom to scuttle FCC oversight of telecom monopolies, yet pretended to just be an objective organization giving an honest, objective opinion.
The group is also popping up in the attacks against Bedoya, attempting to frame him as some kind of radical. Usually, because he’s (gasp) levied accurate criticisms at the actually radical modern Trump GOP:
“If confirmed, Bedoya would bring a record of hyper-partisan, extremist advocacy to the FTC and would steer the agency in a direction of over-reaching and harmful regulatory policies….He has amplified Twitter posts calling Governors Abbott and DeSantis ?death-eaters?and urging Republican Senators to resign. Additionally, Bedoya has shared numerous social media posts calling President Trump and individuals in the Trump administration ?racist and white supremacist.”
Believing that Donald Trump is racist and terrible is not a disqualifying character flaw. And, of course, groups like the American Consumer Institute don’t really care about “hyper-partisanship,” “extreme advocacy,” or anybody being called out for racism. They’re trying to squash Bedoya’s nomination because the companies they’re aligned with don’t want the FTC or FCC ramping up consumer protection and antitrust reform. If they can’t scuttle the nominations, they hope to delay both the FCC and FTC from having working voting majorities for as long as possible.
It’s not serious policy opinion, it’s the kind of bad faith, theatrical proxy, rat fuckery that’s been the norm in DC for more than 20 years. Despite this, the press still can’t really help itself and will also quote and amplify groups like this as if they’re actually objective, well-intentioned observers, and not, say, rat fucking propagandists for hire.