FCC Pledges to Speak Out Against Media Attacks

A majority of the potential full (five-member) commission has committed to speak out against violence or intimidation against journalists.

That came in a nomination hearing for FCC chairman Ajit Pai and potential commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr, all of whom promised to speak out. 

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) had pointed to various incidents of alleged intimidation, including of a reporter trying to ask a question of FCC commissioner Michael O'Rielly earlier this year.

Pai also reiterated that the White House had not contacted him about retaliating against negative news stories and said he would not do so if asked.

Udall pointed to a story that the White House could use the AT&T-Time Warner deal as a way to punish CNN for its stories and suggested the administration might want to reward Sinclair by approving the Sinclair-Tribune deal.

Pai also promised that the FCC would not be used to punish media companies or reward others and would be troubled by any attempt to pressure it to do so.

Udall, along with Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), have called for a hearing on the state of the news media to dig down into intimidation and Administration attacks, and did again at the hearing, noting a hearing has yet to be scheduled.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.