Saturday, October 16, 2004 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

FCC Reform Blogsplosion II: A Question I Didn't Get to Ask Susan Ness

Former FCC Commissioner Susan Ness argued on behalf of the "leave it alone" coalition, or to be more generous, "it ain't that broke, so doesn't need that much of a fix."

She argued for leaving the Commission as an independent fourth branch agency, keeping the number of commissioners at 5, and noted that the Hundt FCC post-96 Act moved with dispatch to meet its congressionally-mandated deadlines. This was largely in opposition to Randy May's proposal to move the Commission into the executive branch, reduce the number of commissioners to 3 or even 1.

She argued against putting the FCC into the executive branch because of fears of political influences. My question would have been: The FCC is already a hyper-politica l organization, why not just ratify that reality be making it accountable to the executive? Chairman Hundt, who Commissioner Ness served with, openly brags in his memoir about his constant contact with the White House. The media ownership proceeding last year was nothing but political mau-mauing, with Commissioner Copps in particular both fomenting and celebrating the mob opinion surrounding that decision. As Randy May pointed out, media ownership ends up being a quintessential political question -- one that you normally would not give to an appointed "expert" agency.

posted by Ray Gifford @ 3:38 PM | The FCC