Note to Obama: The FCC Needs Transparency
This week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released a report
accusing Kevin Martin, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, of being deceptive and opaque in his management of the agency’s affairs. That a politician would pull such moves is no surprise, but the report should send a strong signal to the incoming Obama administration.
“Chairman Martin withheld important and relevant data from the other Commissioners during their consideration of the 13th Annual Video Competition Report in an apparent attempt to enable the Commission to regulate cable television companies,” the report states.
This finding was one of many pointing out how the Chairman wielded his power inappropriately.
It is common knowledge that Chairman Martin personally dislikes the cable companies. This animosity seems to be what drove his reintroduction of a rule to require a 30-percent market share cap on cable companies. In 2001, the U.S. Court of Appeals struck down a similar cap; since then, competition in the video services market has skyrocketed.
When asked why Chairman Martin would reintroduce a rule already rejected by the courts, Joy Sims, a spokesperson for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, simply said, “Look at the House report issued today.”
One man’s vendetta, the report reveals, has the ability to influence an entire industry. To those who marvel at that reality, Berin Szoka of the Progress and Freedom Foundation explains that “the FCC is one of the most unaccountable agencies. The problem is not isolated to Chairman Martin, but was probably worse under him because of his war on cable.”
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