Editorial: Time for Transparency

The FCC needs to provide confirmation of the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack its chief technology officer  said impeded the filing of comments to its website. It must also investigate the alleged manhandling of a reporter trying to ask a question of a commissioner.

The DDoS attack info may have to be finessed if making the information public has privacy implications.

The FCC also needs to investigate that incident in which a journalist says he was pinned against a wall for trying to get information from a public figure in a public space. There may be other explanations for what sounds like a Trumpian interaction with the “enemies of the people,” but the FCC needs to make them.

We are not ready to lump the FCC in with the anti-press attacks elsewhere in the Trump administration (or in Montana, for that matter). There are many factors involved, including the threats to the safety of both FCC chairman Ajit Pai and the commissioner involved in the incident, Michael O’Rielly, that had guards on alert.

If there is a problem with overzealous security, it needs to be dealt with. Unfortunately, President Donald Trump’s unrelenting attacks on the media have created an “us vs. them” mentality that appears to condone such heavy-handedness. But there is no place for racist or threatening attacks on the FCC’s Republican commissioners for their position on network neutrality.

The president’s apparent belief that the world is made up of either winners or losers contributes to the kind of division that leaves both sides susceptible to misunderstanding and overreaction.

If the FCC is to deliver on the transparency mission of its new chairman, it must respond forthrightly to requests for explanations and take steps to correct whatever problems it identifies.