Sen Kyrsten Sinema, the Only Anti-Net Neutrality Democrat, Linked to Super PAC Run by a Comcast Lobbyist
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is the only Senate Democrat not co-sponsoring the Save the Internet Act, a bill to restore net neutrality rules that were enacted by the Federal Communications Commission during the Obama administration and reversed in 2017 by President Trump’s FCC Chair, former Verizon attorney Ajit Pai. Instead, Sen Sinema has formed a working group with Sen.
It’s likely that a robust antitrust enforcement regime, in tandem with a suite of economic policies could create a market more amenable to sustaining journalism. But in the absence of that, and the uncertainty as to whether the market is fundamentally able to provide the necessary journalistic coverage to inform and serve a functioning democracy and civic life, it’s worth considering what no Democrat has dared advocate for 50-some years: a renewed and robust public investment in media. Yet the fate of (public) media has gotten surprisingly little attention in the 2020 cycle.
[Commentary] The Washington Post noted that Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai likes to talk the talk of bridging the digital divide—during his first speech as FCC chairman, he said it would be a top agency priority. But when the FCC released his anti-Lifeline action days later, “he opened another gap,” wrote the Post, “this time between his words and his actions.” It’s the sort of head fake that’s familiar to those who’ve followed Pai’s career as a lead apologist for the phone companies he once worked for—and still serves.
This list of Pai’s miscues on key policy issues makes amply clear the many harmful directions the new FCC chairman will lead the agency through the Trump years.
- Commissioner Pai on the 2015 Net Neutrality Proceeding: “[The ruling is] President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet. ... Was this proceeding ‘one of the most open and transparent in Commission history’? Not in the least.”
- Commissioner Pai on the Threat to an Open Internet: “[Net neutrality] regulation was a solution that wouldn’t work for a problem that didn’t exist.”
- Commissioner Pai on the Impact the Net Neutrality Rules Have Had on Investment: “Growth in broadband investment has ... flatlined.” “We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation, and job creation ... [net neutrality’s] days are numbered.”
- Commissioner Pai on the FCC Effort to Protect Broadband-User Data from Prying ISPs: “Instead of respecting ... common sense ... the FCC tilts the regulatory playing field by proposing to impose more burdensome regulation on internet service providers, or ISPs, than the FTC imposes on so-called ‘edge providers.’”
- Commissioner Pai on Offering Affordable Broadband to Those in Need: “If we are going to refocus Lifeline on broadband, our goal should be increasing broadband adoption—that is, helping Americans without internet access across the digital divide, not supporting those who have already made the leap.”
[Commentary] Congress’s rigged auction to reallocate public airwaves from broadcast to broadband service is lining the pockets of telecommunications industry fat cats in a massive taxpayer giveaway.