Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) has a good shot at becoming the Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet when the 112th Congress is seated in January. Items pertaining to the future of electronic communications may go before that panel, but in a speech last week, Rush was more interested in looking into the past.
Rush said he had spoken with former Republican FCC Chairman Kevin Martin many times regarding the FCC and issues involving diversity and minorities.
According to Hillicon Valley, Rush said that Martin had promised that taking steps to increase minority participation in the development of broadband and increasing the diversity of broadcast license holders was definitely part of his agenda.
However, Rush said that there was absolutely no improvement in either case. He suggested that if anybody has seen Martin, he’d like to speak with him again on the topic.
Martin can be found at Patton Boggs, a high powered Washington firm where he has been working on behalf of opponents of the proposed Comcast/NBCUI merger.
RBR-TVBR observation: It’s one thing to discuss the policies, actions and results of a former FCC chairman. It’s another to seek a new dialog with the chairman, who has moved on to other affairs. It’s sort of like General Sherman marching through the south in search of Hessians. And so it goes in Washington.
In point of fact, it’s been slow going at in regards to increasing diversity due to court rulings which have tied its hands, although some would no doubt agree that the FCC could be doing more and moving faster. At any rate, one thing that the FCC could administrate is the restoration of the minority tax certificate, which would use FCC-approved transactions to forward the cause of diversity. But Congress has to give the OK on that one.
We would respectfully suggest that Rush dwell less on Martin and more on Julius Genachowski, and less on what hasn’t been done lately and more on what Congress can help get done now.