Michael Copps


Life On The Cliff

Life on the Cliff

We begin the new year with a public totally turned off by Capitol Hill’s embarrassing holiday antics over the fiscal cliff. Sadder still, more cliffs are on the way. It is difficult to see how Congress will find time for anything other than debt limit extensions, budget sequesters, continuing resolutions, government shut-downs and other assorted near-death experiences in the year ahead. We could be free-falling off cliffs all year long! It’s actually worse than being on a roller-coaster, because a roller-coaster goes up as well as down.


Promises To Keep

When Barack Obama ran for his first term, he was already clearly on-record stating his opposition to further media industry consolidation and his support for reasserting the public interest.


Why Give Up on Competition?

Go to just about any telecom conference these days, and some industry maven will make the case that restoring competition to the telecom world is so 1990s. Why don’t we all just recognize the inevitable, they ask: telecom is a natural monopoly, competition is a chimera, and the sooner we flash a steady green light for more industry consolidation and less government oversight, the better off we’ll all be.


Reform: The Everett Parker Way

[Note: We're resending this in celebration of Dr Parker's 100th birthday.]

I have written in this space before about the obstacles facing telecommunications and media reformers, about the crushing influence of big money in all things political, and the stubborn resistance of our leaders to harness the winds of social and technology change to the enhancement of American democracy in the Twenty-first century.


Another Day of Digital Opportunity Denied

JULY 19, 2012



Things don’t turn out so well when the boundaries of a debate are determined by just one side. It’s all but impossible to carry on a vibrant national dialogue when the parameters of our conversations are demarcated by powerful interests that profit from limiting the discussion and that know how to use the tools of communications to keep contrasting viewpoints off-limits. The civic dialogue that results is neither civic nor is it a dialogue. It is a ballgame that is fixed before the first pitch is thrown.


What's a Reformer to Do?

What a curious year for communications policy reformers! Those of us who consider ourselves activists in the causes of media democracy, ubiquitous broadband, an Open Internet, more competition in our communications industries, and helping minorities and women to equal opportunity in owning and managing these businesses find ourselves stymied by half steps (or, too often, no steps) and a campaign season where the choices are shaping up as four more years of the same or, alternatively, four years of something worse. What’s a reformer to do?