Trump asks Rupert Murdock to pick new FCC chief

It’s a real-life case of the Fox [News] guarding the henhouse

Created in 1934, the Federal Communications Commission offers this definition of its mandate on its website:

The Federal Communications Commission regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories. An independent U.S. government agency overseen by Congress, the commission is the United States’ primary authority for communications law, regulation and technological innovation.

While originally conceived as an agency designed to ensure that radio would serve the public interest, the commission’s role was transformed to cover a broader range of media.

Under successive Republic abnd Democratic administrations, the commission has become a tool of corporate interests, and now Donald Trump is handing the keys to the kingdom to man whose Fox News did more than anything else to ensure Trump’s election.

From U.S. Uncut:

Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News parent company Newscorp, has been asked by the Trump transition team to submit names for the open FCC chair position.

The rumor of Trump’s request to the Australian media mogul comes from an unnamed “well-placed source” cited by New York Magazine, which reported on Tuesday that “Trump has asked Murdoch to submit names for FCC Chairman,” adding that Murdoch aims to influence the Federal Communications Commission to use its muscle to halt the AT&T/Time Warner merger as it would help his competition.

Tom Wheeler, who was the FCC chairman under President Barack Obama, previously announced he would be stepping down from his role after Trump’s inauguration. If Murdoch is indeed providing names of candidates for the job to President-elect Trump, it’s very likely that net neutrality could be a thing of the past very soon.

As PCMag argued in 2014, Murdoch, who owns a global media conglomerate, easily has the capital to buy an Internet Service Provider (ISP) and then direct that ISP to promote content that aligns with his business and political interests, while throttling content that runs opposite of his interests.

Under Wheeler’s chairmanship, net neutrality — in which ISPs are required to provide all content at the same speeds to all internet users — was famously upheld, along with low-income access to broadband through government subsidies and additional privacy rules for broadband. Wheeler was also responsible for killing the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable. A Murdoch pick could reverse all of those decisions, and serve to enrich and expand his already enormous media empire.

The makeup of the five-member commission is dictated by presidential appointments. Existing FCC rules stipulate that one party can’t be represented by more than three of the five members. The FCC already has a Republican majority, which will be strengthened after the departure of Obama appointee Jessica Rosenworsel.


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