There’s an old Sesame Street song that sums up the Donald Trump Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Transition Team. Behold “One of These Things”: “One of these things is not like the others. One of these things doesn’t belong. Can you tell which thing is not like the others…?” Here, it ain’t difficult at all to tell.
Trump began pre-election by choosing his FCC transition team lead – Jeffrey Eisenach: “(A) known commodity in Washington tech and telecom circles…he’s argued vigorously in favor of the FCC taking a hands-off approach to digital issues….In 2012 Eisenach arrived as a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) — and in that role, he’s been an outspoken antagonist of (Barack Obama) FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and his policies. In his research and advocacy…he’s slammed the Obama administration’s efforts on net neutrality, broadband investment and more.”
So far – so great. Added next was Eisenach’s AEI colleague – Mark Jamison: “FCC Transition Team’s Jamison: Do We Need an FCC?” (Answer – we absolutely do not.) More about Jamison: “Jamison says most of the reasons for having an FCC have ‘gone away’…That is quite the difference from the Wheeler FCC’s emphasis on…net neutrality and broadband privacy rules, both of which are likely to get a second look under a Republican chair.”
So far – even greater. Added next was another AEI scholar – Roslyn Layton: “Layton is no fan of the FCC reclassification of ISPs as common carriers. She is also a foe of the FCC’s broadband privacy rulemaking, calling it a ‘partisan endgame of corporate favoritism’ resulting in ‘misinformed, unjustified rules.’ She is a critic of the FCC setting aside spectrum in auctions at below-market rates for certain players, writing…that that was a way for FCC to play favorites and ultimately raise broadband costs to consumers.”
So far – unbelievably great. Flash forward to Trump shaping his actual FCC – he will elevate current FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to Chairman: “Pai is already a familiar name in tech and telecom policy debates. He’s a fierce and vocal critic of many regulations passed by the commission’s Democratic majority, including the 2015 net neutrality rules…As chairman, Pai will be able to start the process of undoing the net neutrality order and pursuing other deregulatory efforts….Pai and fellow GOP Commissioner Mike O’Rielly…said last month that they will ‘seek to revisit’ the net neutrality rules ‘as soon as possible,’ and Pai said in a December speech he believes 2017 is the best opportunity in the last decade to advance conservative principles.”
So far – so great my head is swimming. How then – with all of this greatness abounding – does this happen?: “Donald Trump has named…Republic Wireless co-founder David Morken (to his) FCC transition team…Unlike previous appointments made by the President-elect, Morken is not an outspoken opponent of net neutrality….”
Wait – what? How did this happen?: “Morken also has an FCC connection dating back to at least 2006, when future (Obama) Democratic FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski was named to (Morken’s) Bandwidth.com’s advisory board. In addition, affordable broadband guru Blair Levin, who was Genachowski’s chief architect of the national broadband plan and incentive auction, has been a longtime advisor to Republic. According to a source, Morken’s minority proposal included among other things, preserving network neutrality rules, making the FCC a cabinet-level agency with increased funding, and suspending the incentive auction. Trump is on the record against the FCC’s Open Internet order.”
“Trump is on the record against the FCC’s Open Internet order.” So is everyone else on Trump’s Transition Team. Except Morken. How on Earth did he make it on there?
We have now transitioned from President-elect Trump – to the Trump Administration. Whatever happens going forward to and with the Trump FCC Transition Team – Morken and his huge government views should hold zero sway on Trump Administration policy.
Now that we’ve identified the Sesame Street outlier….
This first appeared in Red State.