themcglynn.com

17 May

Say No to the Comcast-FCC Merger

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Say No to the Comcast-FCC Merger

Public anger is building over news that FCC Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker is leaving the FCC to become a lobbyist for Comcast – just four months after she voted to approve the Comcast-NBC merger. It’s no wonder the American people are disgusted by Washington. 

Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has raised concerns about alleged ethical violations at the FCC. He must immediately launch an investigation into Baker’s seemingly clear conflict of interest. If we don’t act now, business as usual in Washington will continue to undermine our media system and endanger our democracy.

Help us close the revolving door. Demand that Congress investigate Baker’s conflict of interest.

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The McGlynn:

Meredith Attwell Baker was nominated by President Barack Obama as a member of the Federal Communications Commission on June 25, 2009, and sworn in on July 31, 2009.

Ms. Baker most recently served as Acting Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and Acting Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). NTIA is the President’s principal advisor on telecommunications and information policy. Ms. Baker was named Deputy Assistant Secretary in February 2007 and first joined NTIA as a Senior Advisor in January 2004. She also served as Acting Associate Administrator for the Office of International Affairs and on detail to the White House, Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Since her hiring was announced earlier this week, Baker has taken lots of heat from media watchdogs.

“This is just the latest — though perhaps most blatant — example of a so-called public servant cashing in at a company she is supposed to be regulating,” said Craig Aaron, president and chief executive of Free Press, a nonprofit media reform organization.

On Friday, the New York Times weighed in with an editorial criticizing her move to Comcast.

“Ms. Baker’s swift shift from regulator to lobbyist for the regulated will only add to Americans’ cynicism about their government,” the editorial said, adding, that “the fact that it is legal and that she is just one of many doesn’t make it better.”

Baker is not the first government official to go to work for an industry she has regulated, but the timing has shined a brighter light than is usually the case. Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell recently took a the top job at the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. (NCTA), which is the chief lobbying arm of the cable industry.

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