FCC under the microscope?


Panelists at a session sponsored in Washington by watchdog Public Knowledge suggested that the FCC will be under greater Congressional scrutiny under the 111th Congress, and that it needs to shift its leanings toward the business interests it regulates and advocate more for the public interest.

Jessica Rosenworcel, counsel to the Senate Commerce Committee with close ties to incoming Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is in a position to know about the former. (And she may have a lot to do about it in any case, as one of many mentioned as possible FCC chair candidates.)

Former Democratic FCC Chair and Obama advisor Bill Kennard was on hand, and suggested that an aura of politicization that has captured the FCC needs to be eliminated, and the climate inside the Commission needs to return to a state where top career staffers feel free to participate in their areas of expertise without fear of backlash.

Consumer Federation of America’s Mark Cooper said slamming shut the “revolving door” between the FCC and regulated industries – he suggested that it’s difficult for any individual to protect the public interest while plotting the next step in one’s career.

RBR/TVBR observation: It’s no secret that “public interest” has been elevated practically to mantra status by both sitting Democrats on the Commission. It’s not a question of whether the FCC will swing in that direction; it’s a question is how far.