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Broadband Industry Giants Just Love New Wheeler FCC Pick
And Why Are Consumer Advocates Applauding a Lobbyist FCC Appointment?
by Karl Bode 12:39PM Thursday May 02 2013
As noted yesterday, the FCC has selected former cable and wireless industry lobbyist Tom Wheeler to replace Julius Genachowski as the head of the FCC. Wheeler has been a top fundraiser for the Obama campaign during the last two election cycles, and it appears he's now getting his political reward for being a loyal foot soldier. Current Commissioner Mignon Clyburn will be the interim head of the FCC while Wheeler awaits his Congressional confirmation.


His blog posts and past interviews give clear illustrations of his pro-carrier positions, and consumer advocates are split on the pick. Groups like Free Press have shown clear skepticism that a lobbyist is going to magically shift his thinking after thirty years and be a progressive, forward-thinking consumer protector. I tend to agree with them.

That's in contrast to Public Knowledge, who breathlessly supported the pick and downplayed concerns about his lobbyist past. Even Susan Crawford, who has spent the last six months selling books that attack this industry's problem with revolving door regulators, helped ensure the Wheeler selection via a letter of support sent to Obama.

What's the thinking here among consumer advocates who are suddenly cheering the appointment of a lobbyist to the top FCC spot?

To be clear, many of these groups have to work actually with him, and aren't afforded the luxury of criticizing him while still wearing a bathrobe and Boba Fett slippers like yours truly. That doesn't make their arguments in favor of his appointment any more cogent. One cornerstone of the argument from the pro-Wheeler consumer advocacy set is that Wheeler's stint as a lobbyist was so long ago (he stopped lobbying for the wireless industry in 2005, not exactly ancient history) that this past doesn't matter. The other cornerstone appears to be that he's just a really nice and smart guy to hang out with at DC functions.

That this logic isn't swaying those who'd like more serious FCC reform isn't too surprising.

Quite often you can weigh just how consumer friendly a regulator is going to be by the response of the industry he'll be regulating. Progressive, pro-consumer regulators get tepid but polite rhetoric about bridging gaps and hoping for the best (see: Elizabeth Warren). Regulators for whom real consumer interests are an afterthought receive gushing adoration from industry. Guess what? The giants in our sector absolutely adore the Wheeler pick.

I’ve known Tom Wheeler for many years, and he is an inspired pick to lead the FCC.
-AT&T's top lobbyist, Jim Cicconi
AT&T's top policy man Jim "searing hubris" Cicconi thinks the Wheeler pick is "inspired" and that he's potentially "one of the most qualified people ever named to run the agency." Wireless industry group the CTIA offered similarly-gushing praise, lauding Wheeler's passion, work ethic, knowledge and creativity. The NCTA, the cable industry's biggest lobbying organization, calls the Wheeler pick exceptional.

I genuinely hope the industry folk praising the Wheeler pick are right, and that their time navigating the halls of DC has brought them insight into his character I simply can't see from my snark outpost here in New York. I sincerely hope he is capable of independent thinking, and brings less timid management to an agency that desperately needs strong, objective leadership less relentlessly marred by the anti-competitive interests of its biggest and wealthiest players.

That said, I've been watching this industry and its endless-parade of empty-rhetoric regulators for too long to blindly believe in promises coming out of DC, or that a man who has spent the majority of his business life lobbying for companies will suddenly grow a genuine interest in seriously addressing consumer issues. If in six months Wheeler is happily helping AT&T gut landline network consumer protections while continuing the proud FCC tradition of ignoring competitive issues, broken usage meters, predatory below-the-line fees and high prices, the consumer advocates and other allegedly progressive sector leaders who assisted in his ascension should be held accountable for their poor judgement.

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PapaMidnight

join:2009-01-13
Baltimore, MD

1 recommendation

Industry Darling

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1FFVWEQnSM

Twaddle

@sbcglobal.net

and we thought Julius was bad!!

Here we go again yet another douche bag puppet that will be as effective as a used condom. This guy is bad news from day one and the only good news is that we at least know he is bad news and our hopes and expectations for an equitable and reasonable broadband access products and services marketplace will have to be set to the off position.
dfxmatt

join:2007-08-21
Evanston, IL

Re: and we thought Julius was bad!!

Truthfully, I think he may be horrible. However, we won't know for sure on anything until he gets into office. At which point we need to be reminded again that this is yet another appointment which is horrible This should be a position to be voted for, instead of just being appointed.
Skippy25

join:2000-09-13
Hazelwood, MO

1 recommendation

Re: and we thought Julius was bad!!

I dont know if I woudl go as far as saying voted for.

Remember EVERY agency is there because Congress put them there to do their job for them. Ultimately Congress is responsible for all functions of the FCC. That agencies success and failure is 100% their fault.

Being that Congress is there to serve the people, which does not include corporations, they should be making sure that anyone in any position of regulation of any industry should 1.) Not have any current or future conflict of interest and 2.) Should be there to serve the consumer not the very industry they are there to over see. Until this is done, WE will never get represented, protected and served as we should be.
dfxmatt

join:2007-08-21
Evanston, IL

Re: and we thought Julius was bad!!

I agree.
old_wiz_60

join:2005-06-03
Bedford, MA

1 recommendation

oops..no Congress is used to be there to serve the people, but now it's owned by corporations. Corporations dictate the laws and Congress just does as the corporations pay it to do.

Twaddle

@sbcglobal.net
Agree on your response but as you know it's too late when someone like this guy gets into such a position. I have no expectations that Congress will do anything to protect the American consumer and incur the loss of support from the Telecom giants. I've known only one honest politician and he lasted one term.

NotHereNow

@verizon.net

"Boba Fett"?

Not fuzzy bunny?

Why do the applaud the appointment? ...my guess: they're smokin' crack?

Anon Troll

@bellsouth.net

Public Knowledge and Free Press are nothing but Jokes

I would take Sen. Rockefeller's advice and go with Rosenworcel. Rockefeller is going to need 5 more Senators to help him block the nomination. Senators Rockefeller and Sanders and the other 35 Senators are very unhappy.

Public Knowledge and Free Press are nothing but a bunch of jokes, they support a lobbyist who would likely turn America into a North Korean style hermit nation where rural areas likely be left in the dark. Wheeler is Obama's wild card as part of his plan to pack everyone into cities. See "UN Agenda 21" and Manhattanize America by Stanley Kurtz.

Furthermore, this would make the Dish-DirecTV merger more easier to be approved, which I oppose, and it will force everyone to go to cable (I would be left to go to Charter or just be left in the dark with nothing but paperback books and nature.
ackman

join:2000-10-04
Atlanta, GA

1 recommendation

Re: Public Knowledge and Free Press are nothing but Jokes

Oh great, an Alex Jones nutjob type showed up with a widely discredited conspiracy theory about "Agenda 21". What is wrong with you people? It's the same paranoia that caused the Boston morons to go radical. Point the finger for the right reasons, that this appointment is Obama's stick in the eye to his own pre-election assertions to rid government of lobbyist influence. When you people push the hysteria and radical stuff, you lose the argument before you take your next breath. Obama is in bed with big oil, with Wall Street bankers, with the nuclear industry, and now big media. Those are the problems, not that conspiracy theory cr@p.

nonamesleft

join:2011-11-07
Manitowoc, WI
Reviews:
·Comcast
·Callcentric

Re: Public Knowledge and Free Press are nothing but Jokes

said by ackman:

Oh great, an Alex Jones nutjob type showed up with a widely discredited conspiracy theory about "Agenda 21". What is wrong with you people? It's the same paranoia that caused the Boston morons to go radical. Point the finger for the right reasons, that this appointment is Obama's stick in the eye to his own pre-election assertions to rid government of lobbyist influence. When you people push the hysteria and radical stuff, you lose the argument before you take your next breath. Obama is in bed with big oil, with Wall Street bankers, with the nuclear industry, and now big media. Those are the problems, not that conspiracy theory cr@p.

Go research "agenda 21"...Funny thing is, you can buy the agenda 21 book on the United nations website...Conspiracy theorist=critical thinker.

Start here »www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/0···436.html

FreedomBuild
Well done is better than well said
Premium
join:2004-10-08
Rockford, IL

Re: Public Knowledge and Free Press are nothing but Jokes

said by nonamesleft:

said by ackman:

Oh great, an Alex Jones nutjob type showed up with a widely discredited conspiracy theory about "Agenda 21". What is wrong with you people? It's the same paranoia that caused the Boston morons to go radical. Point the finger for the right reasons, that this appointment is Obama's stick in the eye to his own pre-election assertions to rid government of lobbyist influence. When you people push the hysteria and radical stuff, you lose the argument before you take your next breath. Obama is in bed with big oil, with Wall Street bankers, with the nuclear industry, and now big media. Those are the problems, not that conspiracy theory cr@p.

Go research "agenda 21"...Funny thing is, you can buy the agenda 21 book on the United nations website...Conspiracy theorist=critical thinker.

Start here »www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/0···436.html

You can't reason with someone who is under a spell of deception. It's the casual heating up of the water in the boiling pot...
--
Home Improvement and Remodeling
Home Improvement and Remodeling Blog
Dampier
Phillip M Dampier

join:2003-03-23
Rochester, NY

1 recommendation

Actually, Free Press is closer to Karl and I on this development. I have no idea why Public Knowledge is so enthusiastic about Tom Wheeler (or Susan Crawford for that matter.)

I've been to this rodeo too may times before and the one thing you can count on is a whole lot of bull.

I challenge anyone to review the shameful history of the FCC's revolving door. Here are 158 examples cataloged by Open Secrets. Click on the names and ask yourself how people like Michael Powell and Meredith Baker helped the average consumer. The former is now the head lobbyist for the cable industry and the latter rushed to her executive suite at Comcast after voting yes on its merger deal with NBCUniversal.

»www.opensecrets.org/revolving/se···id=EIFCC
--
Phillip M. Dampier
Editor, Stop the Cap!
»stopthecap.com

FFH
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

Re: Public Knowledge and Free Press are nothing but Jokes

For executives, the revolving door of business-government-business is a well worn path to high paying jobs. The FCC and some other similar agencies are pikers. The real revolving door is between financial firms and state agencies that issue state bond issues. The chance for fabulous wealth there makes an FCC Chairmanship small potatoes.
--
"If you want to anger a conservative lie to him.
If you want to anger a liberal tell him the truth."
TBBroadband

join:2012-10-26
Fremont, OH
Reviews:
·AT&T U-Verse
·MegaPath
That is because Public Knowledge and Free Press are just think tanks that collect money and will say what ever the highest bidder wants them to. There nothing but a "non-profit" thats loaded with BS that people believe. They're as bad as JD Power and Consumer Reports. The highest bidder gets what they want.

KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

Re: Public Knowledge and Free Press are nothing but Jokes

said by TBBroadband:

They're as bad as JD Power and Consumer Reports. The highest bidder gets what they want.

Uh huh. Sure.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini

Matt Wood

@comcast.net
Free Press does not take money from corporations or government. There is no "highest bidder." We are funded entirely by charities and individuals, and make all of our own policy judgments, thanks. (And incidentally, Consumer Reports is also a non-profit -- though I guess it also must be "loaded with BS that people believe" in your terribly eloquent formulation.)

Matt Wood

@comcast.net
Thanks Phil for clarifying Free Press's position.

Matt Wood

@comcast.net
I rarely bother to stop into comments and defend against inaccurate information, but I think it's worth it here. Free Press does not "support a lobbyist." We are skeptical of the pick. Please read Karl's article and our statements before launching salvos that make no sense.
old_wiz_60

join:2005-06-03
Bedford, MA
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

1 recommendation

Money talks...

All of that money Wheeler raised for Obama for election probably came from the Broadband Industry. They were really just buying the office of head of FCC. Now that they've got one of their own lobbyists in charge of the FCC they should be able to completely overrun any consumer interests or protection. I'm sure the cable/wireless people are celebrating with champagne over the prospect of owning the FCC. Consumers will definitely get screwed royally.

I would call it bribery by any real name. It's not Obama/Democrats - it is high level politics in the U.S. - bribery is how you get what you want. If you want something to happen in Washington you have to pay for it. The more money you can cough up one way or another, the ore likely you are to get what you want.

Is Wheeler still on the payroll of the cable/wireless industry? He must be getting a LOT. And when he leaves FCC he will get a great job with cable/wireless.
georgeglass5

join:2010-06-07
New York, NY

1 edit

1 recommendation

Next to politics & corpratism in general, lobbyists

Are the purely american, cancerous tumor, for which there is no cure.

SquireJames

@embarqhsd.net

Re: Next to politics & corpratism in general, lobbyists

"Purely American?" What a ridiculous statement. Yes-men and government parasites (aka lobbyists, or courtiers if you like) existed in most governments during most time periods. There's nothing unique about them!
georgeglass5

join:2010-06-07
New York, NY

1 recommendation

Re: Next to politics & corpratism in general, lobbyists

What are you? convinced that politics is the way to go on this globe? its the scourge of the earth. To think otherwise is ridiculous, the left / right paradigm is an illusion. As long as that paradigm exists civilizations will keep falling. There is, no common sense when it comes to politics. If everyday people ran their lives as washington runs this country, we'd be considered, dumber than a bag of rocks, fact.

meeeeeeeeee

join:2003-07-13
Newburgh, NY

Re: Next to politics & corpratism in general, lobbyists

Ummmm... Most Amerikan sheeple ARE dumber than a bag of rocks. How do you think the country GOT this way?

meeeeeeeeee

join:2003-07-13
Newburgh, NY

Amerika...

The finest Government money can buy, and buy, and buy...

jfleni

@bhn.net

Lame duck coming up.

Babbling Barry will be history in less than two years. So, it's time to butt-kiss really hard and long to get those "speaking fees", and all the other plutocrat graft. How the "public interest" will do does not bear thinking about.
15444104
Premium
join:2012-06-11

2 recommendations

Reps or Dems.... no difference a ONE party system.

Doesn't matter whether it is Barry Soetoro or George Bush....

They are all part of an elite that doesn't give a rats backside about what is in the best interest of the general public.

The system is completely broken, corrupt, and beyond repair.

Until We The People are willing to exercise our Second Amendment rights under the US Constitution NOTHING WILL CHANGE.

The only solution is to REMOVE the TYRANNY from We The People's Government, it won't be done with a rigged election, or peaceful protests. Our Founding Father's knew this fact and the reality that eventually tyranny would rear its ugly head in the future.

Probitas

@teksavvy.com

blame congress

For passing laws allowing corporations to donate money as 'individuals'. If they didn't have that power, it would be a non-issue, or mores the point, when they tried to grease the wheels and got caught, there'd be some fines involved with bribery and officials would lose their positions. This is why people need to stop voting popularity contests and vote in their own self interest.
Rakeesh

join:2011-10-30
Mesa, AZ

Re: blame congress

You'd get better results if you blamed the first amendment, because that's what it came down to when it hit SCOTUS.

Duramax08
To The Moon
Premium
join:2008-08-03
San Antonio, TX

Re: blame congress

gotta love that piece of paper some old folks wrote more then 200 years ago. im sure they are looking at us thinking "holy shit, is that their bible or something? they follow that thing religiously".
equivocal

join:2008-01-23
USA

Can a pro-consumer candiate even exist?

Why can't there be someone else who kissed O'bama's ass with just as much cash as Wheeler who is also pro-consumer? If Wheeler raised Obama's money from the big com companies, it would be the cherry on top of this corruption sundae.
Rakeesh

join:2011-10-30
Mesa, AZ
Reviews:
·Sprint Mobile Br..
·Cox HSI

Independent thinking?

What makes you think he's capable of independent thinking? He was an Obama campaign backer ffs, that alone should tell you just how much of a drone this guy is. He'll toe whatever line you ask just by whispering into his ear, which is probably why the admin put him there, and why the industry players love him.
rconaway8

join:2005-11-10
Phoenix, AZ

More of the Same

I wrote this before the nomination but it doesn't sound like anything is going to change.

»www.muniwireless.com/2013/04/30/···olished/