Political Portal: 12/10/07-12/14/07


The highlight of the week was the return engagement of the five FCC commissioners on Capitol Hill. They visited the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet the prior week, and this time met with the Senate Commerce Committee (which has been operating without a specific communications subcommittee for several years now). The senators in attendance were basically unanimous in expressing their desire that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin postpone a vote on eliminating cross-ownership restrictions in the top 20 markets at the 12/18/07 open meeting. He said he anticipates having the vote anyway. John Kerry (D-MA) promised a congressional response. He did not say what that response would be. The usual leader of consolidation opposition, Byron Dorgan (D-ND), was not present.

The GAO issued a report criticizing the lack of government leadership on outreach for the DTV transition, which drew an immediate 99-page response from the FCC, largely built around years worth of technical and legal decisions underpinning the transition. But the Democratic commissioners agreed with the GAO that outreach was lacking.

A hearing on minority ownership which was to have been held in the House Judiciary Committee was postponed. One of its major attractions was a scheduled appearance by Dan Rather. Look for the event to be rescheduled early next year.