Pai Gets NRA Gun For Bagging Net Neutrality Rules

FCC Chaiman Ajit Pai did not get to deliver a brief address to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Friday (Feb. 23), though according to a video of the event, he had apparently prepared one, as had been signaled by the agenda.

Instead, the chairman stood, hands clasped in front of him, while he was hailed for successfully engineering the repeal of network neutrality rules.

Pai was presented on stage with the Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award (the late actor was one-time president of the organization), for taking that network neutrality stand against a withering barrage of personal criticisms, racist insults, and threats to himself and his family.

The award is only given out when "someone has stood up under pressure with grace and dignity and principled discipline," said the presenter, and CPAC and the NRA decided Pai fitted the bill.

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Past winners have included conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh and conservative radio host and now Vice President Mike Pence.

The gift, a Kentucky hand-made long rifle, will be housed at the NRA's museum with appropriate plaque until Pai is allowed to accept it--government officials can't receive anything of more than token value from any one or group that "has interests that may be substantially affected by performance or nonperformance of the employee's official duties."  So, Pai could have gotten the plaque, but not the gun.

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.