Michael Copps

Three Generations of Failure

We are now in the third generation talking about getting broadband out to all our citizens. We are nowhere near getting the job done. It’s a market failure. It’s a government failure. And it’s a national embarrassment. Big telcos and their allies at the Federal Communications Commission and Congress tell us all is well and we’re on track. Pretty long track! Make that claim in many of our inner cities like Baltimore, Milwaukee, and Newark and you will get laughed out of town.

Connecting the Challenges to Our Democracy

We don’t need to rank in importance the issues of special interest money, ludicrous redistricting, and big media.  They are each part of a linked democratic challenge.  There can be no real democracy without curbing big money.  There can be no real democracy without making Congressional districts representative of the areas they encompass.  There can be no real democracy without an electorate informed by media that digs for the facts citizens need to help chart the future of our country.   Bring these three abuses under control and democracy can flourish again.  Only We the People can make

Media, Government, Us

The media merger pot keeps boiling. It appears that the Federal Communications Commission is about to approve another damaging deal, this one between Nexstar and Tribune. Nextar owns 171 television stations in 100 markets and Tribune has 44 stations in 33 markets. That translates into a national audience reach of 72 percent of U.S.

Fritz Hollings: An Appreciation

Readers of this space may recall that I worked for many years (15) for U.S.

News Blues

I have a bad case of news blues. Journalism is fast becoming a vast wasteland. Newsrooms across the land are hollowed out, or in many cases shuttered.

A Stellar Public Servant

A legend is leaving the Federal Communications Commission as the new year begins. Her name is Karen Peltz Strauss. Some of you may not have heard of her, but to the nation’s disabilities communities, she is a hero. She achieved this status the old-fashioned way. She earned it. In over 40 years in Washington, I have been privileged to work with many brilliant public servants. Karen Peltz Strauss is in the top-most tier of these incredibly able people.  Her star shines brightly in the public service firmament. She came to the agency with a goal, she never wavered from that goal, and she achie

From Midterms to What?

The midterms just completed (except for recounts) were historically important, and in this critical time for our democracy, we must try to make some sense of where we are.  The bad news is split government; the good news is split government.

Facebook apologies aren't enough. The whole Internet needs a privacy overhaul.

[Commentary] Our current privacy framework no longer works. While the hearings this month offered little in terms of solutions, they did put a spotlight on a problem that’s been glaringly obvious for years: Consumers have little control over their data online. We need a privacy framework that gives consumers control over their own data. Companies across the board must be required to get express consent from their users prior to sharing their data. At the outset, consumers should be asked to respond to a simple statement that they do or do not want their personal data shared.

The Silence of the Bought

[Commentary] The big Internet service provider gate-keepers may have bought the silence of Congress, but they cannot buy the silence of the people. We know there is overwhelming popular support for an open internet with strong net neutrality rules.  But we have to demonstrate this support and the power behind it.  We must make our voices heard.  Contacting Congress now on the CRA is vital—your Senators, of course, but your House members, too.  Tell them your vote in the next election depends on their vote now to restore net neutrality. 

The Summer of Our Discontent

The summer of our discontent steams more hotly by the day: a deadly and surging pandemic taking more than 130,000 lives across the nation; an economy bleeding millions of jobs and livelihoods and denying basic subsistence to many; mass protests assembling in streets nationwide to demonstrate against systemic racism and police brutality; and dysfunctional government at all levels and in every branch from White House to Congress to courthouses to statehouses and often beyond. Can we handle it? Can America conquer its ills and overcome? Can our democracy itself deal with its discontents?