Policymakers

Profiles of the people who make or influence communications policy.

Two Researchers Join Benton Team

Benton Foundation Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss announced that Dr. Christopher Ali is the foundation’s new Faculty Research Fellow and Dr. Ryland Sherman is Benton’s new Research Associate. As the Benton Faculty Research Fellow, Dr. Ali will continue his work on a systematic and comprehensive assessment of rural broadband policy, technology, markets, and stakeholders.

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

Former FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn Joins Benton Foundation

Benton Foundation Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss announced that former Federal Communications Commissioner and Acting Chair Mignon L. Clyburn has joined the foundation’s Board of Directors effective January 1, 2019. 

Nominated by President Barack Obama, Clyburn served as an FCC Commissioner from August 2009 until June 2018, and as Acting FCC Chair from May 20, 2013 through November 4, 2013. While at the FCC, Clyburn was a champion of diversity in media ownership, an advocate for the reform of Inmate Calling Services, and a staunch defender of a free and open internet.

The Trump Midterm: Looking at the 116th Congress

Tuesday, Nov 6 was Election Day in the United States. At the national level, Republicans kept control of the US Senate, while Democrats won enough seats to win control of the US House of Representatives.  At Headlines, we keep a close eye on two key Congressional committees because of their jurisdiction over many telecommunications issues and oversight of the Federal Communications Commission: 1) the Senate Commerce Committee and 2) the House Commerce Committee's Communications and Technology Subcommittee. What did we learn about the new Congress?

Bending the Arc Towards Media and Social Justice

I’ve spent just over 30 years working to ensure that all Americans benefit from accessible, affordable, and open communications networks that promote democratic values. But none of that would have been possible without Everett Parker’s accomplishments. As this audience knows well, Everett worked hand-in-hand with the Rev. Martin Luther King and the civil rights community to challenge the broadcast license of WLBT-TV, a Jackson, Mississippi, station that broadcast racist propaganda and refused to cover the civil rights movement.

You must be the change you want to see in the world

Among the hundreds of people waiting to visit Mahatma Gandhi one day was a mother who sought help in battling her son’s obsession with eating sugar. When it was their turn in line, instead of immediately counseling the boy, Gandhi asked the pair to come back in two weeks. Following a two-hour wait on the day of their return, the anxious mother repeated her request. Gandhi promptly spoke with her son and the boy agreed to work on breaking his sugar fixation.

Benton Welcomes New Senior Fellow and Public Advocate Gigi Sohn

Benton Foundation Executive Director Adrianne B. Furniss named Gigi Sohn Benton Senior Fellow and Public Advocate. Furniss said, “The Benton Foundation is honored to support the ongoing work of one of the nation’s leading public advocates for open, affordable, and democratic communications networks.

Mignon Clyburn, Speaking Up For You

[Editorial] May 9 marks the end of a chapter. But this book is still being written. Today, we celebrate the many accomplishments of Mignon Clyburn, Federal Communications Commissioner. Few public servants have worked as hard for people whose voices are too seldom heard.

Senate confirms full slate of FTC commissioners (updated)

The Senate unanimously confirmed all five of President Trump's nominees to serve on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), bringing the consumer protection agency to full strength for the first time since the start of the new administration. The FTC will now be chaired by Joseph Simons, a Republican antitrust attorney who led the commission's competition bureau during the George W.

FCC Chairman Pai receives NRA gun award for courage

In lieu of delivering advertised remarks dubbed "American Pai: The Courageous Chairman of the FCC," Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai received the National Rifle Association's (NRA) “Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award” at the Conservative Political Action Conference. The NRA-sponsored award was given to Chairman Pai in recognition of months of heavy criticism over his successful push to repeal the agency’s network neutrality rules. Chairman Pai led the push to repeal the rules, which were overwhelmingly supported by the public.