by adam mathes
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Drunken Fratboys For Deregulation

I was originally going to title this piece “Michael Powell: Complete Ass” but I have no evidence that’s he’s a complete ass. Just that he says things that it seems like only a complete ass would say.

NY Times - F.C.C. Chief Talks of Frustration and Surprise -

The new rules, adopted 3 to 2 by the commission in June, would permit a company to own both a newspaper and a broadcast station in many of the nation's metropolitan areas, and would permit companies to own as many as three television stations and eight radio stations in the largest markets, while limiting further consolidation in the radio industry.

Asked about accusations by some that he had failed to build enough public support for the rules before adopting them, Mr. Powell replied: "I've heard that represented as my failure. I'll take that as my responsibility. But there was a concerted grass-roots effort to attack the commission from the outside in."

In the Powell world, a “concerted grass-roots effort” is… bad? Normal people getting together and organizing to oppose government rules they disagree with made by someone they never elected is an “attack?” I don’t think I’ve ever heard somebody use “grass-roots” in quite such a negative fashion. In fact, it’s usually used to express that people have genuine feelings and aren’t being manipulated from the top-down by shadowy figures with their own agenda, like, for example, gigantic media conglomerates.

And a significant number of religious, consumer, labor and civil rights groups rallied against many of the other rules. Organizations like the National Rifle Association and the Parents Television Council joined in one of the oddest ideological alliances in years and flooded lawmakers and regulators with millions of complaints.

"There has been a huge problem with the political lopsidedness of the debate," Mr. Powell said. "People in the opposition are part of a highly vocal and strenuous community. They have relatively strong viewpoints, are very active and mobile."

"On the other side, if you are in a fraternity watching TV and drinking beer and happy, what are you going to do to get in the debate?" he asked. "You are not. I think the public is more upset with the media than they are with the rules."

I’m not sure what Powell is saying here. Is he implying that the NRA, PTC, and all the other organizations and individuals against these rulings should just join a fraternity, drink beer, and watch more television? Or is he implying that the “other side” to the debate, those on his side in favor of deregulation and consolidation, are too politically inept to join the debate because they love beer?

Most importantly, is he really trying to say that drunken frat boys who watch TV are in favor of media concentration? These are the people he’s worried about?

Michael K. Powell: he’s fighting the good fight for drunken fratboy dergeulation fans.

Mr. Powell took special exception to the view advanced by senators, including Byron L. Dorgan, the North Dakota Democrat and sponsor of the resolution of disapproval, that he caved quickly and thoroughly to the special interests.

"I've been in public service for 20 years," Mr. Powell said. "I've been at the F.C.C. for six. What do I gain from being in the pocket of anyone?"

Powell, of course, answers this himself earlier in that same interview:

"There is no urgency in terms of quitting and going into the private sector," he said. "It will be there when I am ready."

Yes, Michael, for your loyalty to giant media companies in the face of the religious, consumer, labor and civil rights groups, public opinion, Congress, and common sense I’m sure it always will.

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