Senate Dems Call for FCC Oversight Hearing

Democratic Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) are lead signatories on a letter to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee asking them to hold a hearing on President Donald Trump's threats on the media, including his latest tweeted threat against TV station licenses.

The trio are all members of the committee, which has principal jurisdiction over communications issues.

“The FCC Chairman’s failure to quickly respond and denounce these threats is shocking and raises questions about the ability of the FCC to truly act independently under Chairman [Ajit] Pai’s leadership,” they wrote. “It is imperative that FCC Chairman Pai and his fellow Commissioners address this Committee and respond to the President’s stated desire for regulatory abuse of his perceived critics at the FCC.”

Pai said at a Washington event Tuesday (Oct. 17) that the FCC could not strip a station of its license over the content of a newscast, and that he would continue to protect the First Amendment, but Dems were looking for a direct repudiation of the President's attack.

Also signing on to the letter were Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

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.