FCC commissioners demand authority over campaign financing, free Internet

posted at 10:55 am on December 6, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Here’s your FCC at work, ensuring that freedom of speech and property rights are defended on America’s airwaves. Just kidding! The Blaze and Naked Emperor News has two clips of FCC commissioners demanding unprecedented authority over prior restraint of speech and seizure of private property in order to satisfy their ideas of — you guessed it — “diversity.” First we have Michael Copps, who last week demanded not only the authority to enforce campaign-finance reform (usually the purview of the FEC), but also the authority to order music stations to broadcast news shows, and for networks to give up 25% of prime-time air to locally-produced shows:

In September, Mignon Clyburn has decided that free health care works so well that the government should mandate free Internet as well:

There is little doubt that the impulse towards charity can sometimes, as in the anecdote offered by Clyburn, tilt toward the patronizing, but that’s hardly more insulting than seizing the property of others for redistribution by the government. No one has a “civil right” to free access to someone else’s property or product. The Internet isn’t a monopoly; it’s an interconnected series of private networks with multiple levels of competitive offerings for access to them. The FCC has no jurisdiction to redistribute private property.

Besides which, it doesn’t work, as Clyburn herself notes. Broadcast licenses are indeed handed out by the government thanks to a limited bandwidth allocation for commercial purposes, and the government decides how to distribute those through the FCC. Minorities only own 3.6% of the commercial broadcast licenses in the US (at least according to Copps in the first clip) despite decades of intervention by the FCC on their behalf. Why should we expect any different outcome in Internet access if the FCC takes over distribution?  Why should we trust government to seize private property for redistribution when it can’t even do that effectively for property it already controls?

Furthermore, in many communities, free Internet already exists in public libraries and schools. For that matter, if one has a portable computer of one sort or another, many private retailers (Starbucks and Panera come immediately to mind) provide free Internet access to their customers. That may not be as convenient as having it at home, but then again, it is free — and hardly a necessity for life to exist in any case.

The FCC and its commissioners should focus on doing their present jobs better rather than demanding a broad expansion of their powers and the authority to interfere with the expression of free speech.  In fact, we’d do best by finding commissioners who understand that role better than these two current incumbents.

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The Federal Confiscation Commission.

Electrongod on December 6, 2010 at 10:57 AM

God, save us from the socialists. Good grief. These people need to be tossed out on their asses.

dogsoldier on December 6, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Wait a tick, I have an FCC license.
I’m so torn.

Electrongod on December 6, 2010 at 10:58 AM

The FCC and its commissioners should focus on doing their present jobs better rather than demanding a broad expansion of their powers and the authority to interfere with the expression of free speech.

I agree. Trouble is, they see that their job is to expand their powers and authority.

Whim of autocracy.

ted c on December 6, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Wolf in sheeps clothing. The goal is destruction of Fox News, Talk Radio and control over internet. The biggest obstacle to a complete takeover of the US is those three.

darwin on December 6, 2010 at 11:01 AM

F*** THAT!.

annoyinglittletwerp on December 6, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Starbucks and Panera come immediately to mind…

Ed, please tell us that you do not patronize these establishments. Please, please, we beg of you…

As to the subject of the post. I think perhaps we should look into abolishing this agency altogether. If it wishes to engage in extra-constitutional activities, then so be it. They should recall, however, who they work for.

turfmann on December 6, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Someone should nominate David Frum as like The Regulator of internet civility, while we’re at it.

MeatHeadinCA on December 6, 2010 at 11:02 AM

God, save us from the socialists. Good grief. These people need to be tossed out on their asses.

dogsoldier on December 6, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Yeah, just remember socialism is just a stepping stone from capitalism to communism. They never stop.

darwin on December 6, 2010 at 11:02 AM

As to the subject of the post. I think perhaps we should look into abolishing this agency altogether.

turfmann on December 6, 2010 at 11:01 AM

But think of the children that will starve to death if we cut the FCC. I wonder what Michael Powell would think about that.

MeatHeadinCA on December 6, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Tom Friedman approves!

He only wishes we were more like China so the FCC could implement their plans right now!

darwin on December 6, 2010 at 11:03 AM

but then again, it is free

TANSTAAFL

Somebody always pays.

Skandia Recluse on December 6, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Starbucks and Panera come immediately to mind…

Ed, please tell us that you do not patronize these establishments. Please, please, we beg of you…

As to the subject of the post. I think perhaps we should look into abolishing this agency altogether. If it wishes to engage in extra-constitutional activities, then so be it. They should recall, however, who they work for.

turfmann on December 6, 2010 at 11:01 AM

I live at Stsrbucks and like Panera.
Might I inquire as to what’s so bad about them…other than the politics of their founders.
I’m not being a snark-it’s an honest question.

annoyinglittletwerp on December 6, 2010 at 11:04 AM

If you can’t get the legislation, then go for enhanced regulation…this is how individual liberties are taken, one small bit at a time.

Private property? Folks, there is NO private property, not since Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005) found in favor of government being able to confiscate private property in order to transfer that same property to other private individuals.

The FCC is just carrying out the same general idea.

Or as we found out back in 2000, “All your base are belong to us.”

coldwarrior on December 6, 2010 at 11:05 AM

But of course.

Whatever else would authoritarians demand?

maverick muse on December 6, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Defund the FCC. Just defund it.

petefrt on December 6, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Obviously we need to be providing Blackberry’s and iPhones to all nappy headed children. Then all will be well.

ctmom on December 6, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Minorities only own 3.6% of the commercial broadcast licenses in the US (at least according to Copps in the first clip) despite decades of intervention by the FCC on their behalf.

The second part will not stop Pigford II, The FCC Version, from raping the taxpayers in the near future, imao.

Branch Rickey on December 6, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Add this to the growing list of “things to be unceremoniously dropped on their collective arses” starting January 3.
They need the stones to do this – we must continuously (unfortunately) remind them of the “people’s eye” looking down on them.

Yellowdog12 on December 6, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Starbucks and Panera come immediately to mind…

Heck, my local McDonalds has free wi-fi

tommyboy on December 6, 2010 at 11:13 AM

Minorities only own 3.6% of the commercial broadcast licenses in the US (at least according to Copps in the first clip)

Wait, I thought the Joooos (they still are minorities, right?) controlled the media? Or has America gone so far as to become some Zionist Majority Nation? Shall we ask Helen Thomas?

MeatHeadinCA on December 6, 2010 at 11:13 AM

No these people don’t just deserve to be tossed out. YOU NEED TO DESTROY THESE AGENCIES. PERIOD. Conservatives must focus on rolling back the regulatory state, not by removing rules but by removing agencies so that they can’t overreach later. Its a relentless process otherwise. You beat one rule, lose an election, and thousands more appear.

flawedskull on December 6, 2010 at 11:14 AM

Broadcast licenses are indeed handed out by the government thanks to a limited bandwidth allocation for commercial purposes, and the government decides how to distribute those through the FCC. Minorities only own 3.6% of the commercial broadcast licenses in the US (at least according to Copps in the first clip) despite decades of intervention by the FCC on their behalf.

Spectrum licenses are auctioned at very expensive prices by the FCC. Large companies such as Clear Channel broadcasting and Verizon Wireless pay billions for them. They are big publicly traded companies which are not likely to be mostly minority-owned any time soon. This is not a problem, it’s just the nature of big companies who can afford the spectrum. The “diversity” argument is absurd.

forest on December 6, 2010 at 11:14 AM

I am soooo glad there is a small group of people, Democrats, that know what is good for society, my community, and my family. Where would we be without their enlightenment???

WashJeff on December 6, 2010 at 11:15 AM

They just wont stop will they. How much of our freedoms will they take in the name of diversity? Compete in the free market like everyone else!

EliTheBean on December 6, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Perhaps Clyburn and Copps will open their homes this winter to shelter some of the ‘homeless’.

After all, it’s only “fair”!

GarandFan on December 6, 2010 at 11:17 AM

I live at Stsrbucks and like Panera.
Might I inquire as to what’s so bad about them…other than the politics of their founders.
I’m not being a snark-it’s an honest question.

annoyinglittletwerp on December 6, 2010 at 11:04 AM

I live in the land of Dunkin’ Donuts. When they say that America runs on Dunkin’ what they really mean is that Boston runs on Dunkin’.

People here know where all the local shops are, what side of the road they are on (crossing over the yellow line takes too much time) and what the hours of the shop are (have to know which ones are open 24 hours).

In fact, we know which ones are open Christmas morning, too. The tip cups on Christmas morning are filled with $10′s and $20′s.

If you’re in the drive thru line and are taking too much time or have a ridiculous order, you can expect to be honked and yelled at.

Tell them what you want – extra points for brevity – “Large Regular” is permitted, “Grande, half calf/double decaf, latte” will likely get you rear-ended.

Diesel fuel for the truck, Dunkin’ for me. Good to go.

Panera? Every time I try going in I am assaulted by Volvo Liberals. Eating salad with that much stomach acid going on isn’t healthy.

turfmann on December 6, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Taking stuff away from people is a lot easier than earning/producing/inventing it yourself.

Akzed on December 6, 2010 at 11:18 AM

They just wont stop will they. How much of our freedoms will they take in the name of diversity? Compete in the free market like everyone else!

EliTheBean on December 6, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Diversity is just the excuse they use to stop the free flow of information.

darwin on December 6, 2010 at 11:18 AM

All your base are belong to Them.

Lily on December 6, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Hoorah for Starbucks and Panera owners for providing internet access for “free”. At least these lefties are putting their own money, not our tax dollars, into this socialist enterprise. Good for them.

Oh wait….. they charge more for their products to cover the costs of the ‘free’ internet access? Capitalist exploiters. Running dogs. Imperialist gangsters.

JimP on December 6, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Ms. Clyburn is the Congressman’s daughter.

tmitsss on December 6, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Perhaps Clyburn and Copps will open their homes this winter to shelter some of the ‘homeless’.

After all, it’s only “fair”!

GarandFan on December 6, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Perhaps they’ll redistribute some of their wealth while they’re at it.

MeatHeadinCA on December 6, 2010 at 11:20 AM

turfmann on December 6, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Like your take. Plus Dunkin’ is better coffee.

MeatHeadinCA on December 6, 2010 at 11:21 AM

If these commies get their way we’ll need to quickly set up Radio and Television Free America. I’m sure there will be ways to get around the internet as well, but we could be reverting back to snail mail to get info out.

darwin on December 6, 2010 at 11:21 AM

it doesn’t matter if something is Constitutional or not. For the Progressives, their own self-assessed intellectual superiority makes anything that they think of, the correct thing to do.

kingsjester on December 6, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Ms. Clyburn is the Congressman’s daughter.

tmitsss on December 6, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Evidence to suggest that stupidity is inherited?

MeatHeadinCA on December 6, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Ethnic minorities are stereotyped on TV?

Has this guy watched TV in the last 30 years? Sanford and Son was cancelled, dude. When was the last time you saw a judge in a dramatic series NOT portrayed by a black woman actress?

tommylotto on December 6, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Ethnic minorities are stereotyped on TV?

Has this guy watched TV in the last 30 years? Sanford and Son was cancelled, dude. When was the last time you saw a judge in a dramatic series NOT portrayed by a black woman actress?

tommylotto on December 6, 2010 at 11:21 AM

CLEARLY, Tyler Perry is an evil racist…

MeatHeadinCA on December 6, 2010 at 11:23 AM

The courts say no, the Congress says no, the FCC says to hell with that, we do what we want.

tarpon on December 6, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Seriously, after Jan 3rd, 2011 some oversight committee ought to start reining in these bozos or severely cut their operating funds to the bare bones.

Bob in VA on December 6, 2010 at 11:24 AM

The FCC and its commissioners should focus on doing their present jobs better rather than demanding a broad expansion of their powers and the authority to interfere with the expression of free speech.

You don’t understand. Demanding broad expansion of their powers and interfering with free expression IS PRECISELY their job. You must have missed the memo from January 2008.

rrpjr on December 6, 2010 at 11:28 AM

Wolf in sheeps clothing. The goal is destruction of Fox News, Talk Radio and control over internet. The biggest obstacle to a complete takeover of the US is those three.
darwin on December 6, 2010 at 11:01 AM

This is what I think too…

CCRWM on December 6, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Have these blatant power grabs always been going on and I’ve not paid attention? Or, have the last several years of leftie nanny statism increased them.

jeanie on December 6, 2010 at 11:32 AM

And…..why is it always these righteous OLD men. They just don’t get it(and I’m as old as they are, older, but at least I try.)

jeanie on December 6, 2010 at 11:34 AM

I say, filet Mignon.

She used to dance in a New York Strip club. She was known for her tender loins.

Is she related to Kobe?

I hear she has a distant cousin in the UK named Sir Loin.

ad nauseum…

Akzed on December 6, 2010 at 11:36 AM

At the rate these agencies are trying to expand their purviews sooner or later they are going to conflict with each other until maybe, just maybe they will begin to devour themselves. This over reaching can’t continue for much longer until the entire government turns into a complete free for all. These people don’t want to serve over order, they want to reign over chaos.

fourdeucer on December 6, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Government Sponsored Health Care – give away Medicaid to the poor and mandate everyone buy insurance or be fined

Govermnent Sponsored Internet – give away internet access to the poor and mandate everyone buy access to the internet or be fined.

Government Sponsored Security – give away free hand guns to the poor and mandate that everyone buy a gun or be fined.

***Not sure the Dems would go for that last one***

barnone on December 6, 2010 at 11:37 AM

So, Joseph Goebbels DID have offspring after all.

pilamaye on December 6, 2010 at 11:38 AM

“For well over two decades, Commissioner Clyburn has been actively involved in myriad community organizations.”

aquaviva on December 6, 2010 at 11:40 AM

So, Joseph Goebbels DID have offspring after all.

pilamaye on December 6, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Goebbels visited Kenya in the 60′s? Hmmmmm. ;)

dthorny on December 6, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Purge the radicals…! Let’s start at the White House.

d1carter on December 6, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Wolf in sheeps clothing. The goal is destruction of Fox News, Talk Radio and control over internet. The biggest obstacle to a complete takeover of the US is those three.
darwin on December 6, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Correct. They have identified the most significant obstacles to total control of information and the keys to marginalizing the means of dissent. All accomplished under pretext of diversity and public interest.

This was so predictable. The midterms only moved “Plan B” up to Plan A. Now that they no longer have congress, who needs it?

rrpjr on December 6, 2010 at 11:43 AM

So does the spawn of Driving Miss Nancy think that if one can afford hair treatment, one no longer qualified for free interwebs? The straight headed hos await the decision.

MNHawk on December 6, 2010 at 11:50 AM

I hope the new Republican House leaves these guys six desks and an rusted radiator to crowd around, working out of a broom closet 10 Blocks from Nowhere, DC.

De-funding can’t start soon enough for me.

Murf76 on December 6, 2010 at 11:51 AM

“If you think it’s expensive now, just wait ’til it’s free.”

If the FCC mandates free internet you can count on your cable and phone bills jumping by about $75-$100 to compensate.

fusionaddict on December 6, 2010 at 11:55 AM

De-funding can’t start soon enough for me.

Murf76 on December 6, 2010 at 11:51 AM

I don’t mean to sound dismal, but I don’t believe it will happen. I don’t think this crowd (Cantor, Boehner, et al) has the guts. It will have to wait for presidential leadership.

rrpjr on December 6, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Just a refresher on who Jim Clyburn is:

“I heard people saying things today that I have not heard since March 15, 1960, when I was marching to try to get off the back of the bus,” said South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, the House’s third-highest-ranking Democrat.

His spokeswoman said a protester spat on Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.).

Lying, race-baiting. I guess the apple doesn’t fall from the tree.

steebo77 on December 6, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Recognizing that so many of these puffed up, self appointed arbiters of truth are, in their day jobs, employed by universities and are public employee union members, it’s obvious that our society needs to find a way to expose those institutions to market forces. These are socialist pillars of the Democrat assault on our most fundamental rights, freedom of speech, assembly, private property and the right to be left free of an overly intrusive government. We must dismantle the protected status of these institutions, and only then will people like this clown get a clue.

MTF on December 6, 2010 at 12:04 PM

I’m sorry, but isn’t talking about minority ownership of media companies like complaining there are too many black guys in the NBA? I don’t follow sports, but I can name several black NBA players. I couldn’t name one white NBA player. Someone will surely label this racist, but maybe whites tend to own TV and radio stations in higher numbers for the same reason the NBA is dominated by black guys? Maybe different people from different backgrounds and different cultural attitudes excel in and are interested in different things?

TheBlueSite on December 6, 2010 at 12:05 PM

This Org has massively breached the intent of its original charter, a task that should be handled by other means. It’s time to get rid of it, and send these people packing once and for all. Same goes for the EPA, FDA, DEA, NTSA and a whole host of other departments.

Red Creek on December 6, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Seriously, after Jan 3rd, 2011 some oversight committee ought to start reining in these bozos or severely cut their operating funds to the bare bones.

Bob in VA on December 6, 2010 at 11:24 AM

yes, I agree!

tinkerthinker on December 6, 2010 at 12:19 PM

many private retailers (Starbucks and Panera come immediately to mind) provide free Internet access to their customers.

Uhm, sorry, this is not “free”, the providers of this have decide to absorb the costs of providing it…..for now.

In fact, this cost may already be rolled up into the high prices for everything in these places.

dmh0667 on December 6, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Go ahead, FCC. Destroy radio and broadcast TV. It sucks anyway. I hardly rely on either one for news. I can always get Mark Levin’s and Hugh Hewitt’s podcasts online. You will only drive alternative viewpoints underground.

This isn’t about “news”, is it FCC?

stevezilla on December 6, 2010 at 12:25 PM

Get your grubby hands off my internet!!

You don’t own it, so “back away from the chalupa!”

Khun Joe on December 6, 2010 at 12:36 PM

The fact is that there is only so much bandwidth available, and some of it must be reserved for military, and emergency Services. This leaves us in need of a controlling authority; however, such an authority should have a rule that requesting, or suggesting that there should be an increase in jurisdiction, equal to, and in fact a formal resignation, that can not be turned down.

Slowburn on December 6, 2010 at 12:37 PM

I am surprised the libs aren’t demanding free computers for everyone. Afterall what good is free internet access if someone doesn’t have a personal laptop to use it? Afterall, isn’t a requirement to go to the library to use their free computers too much of an an imposition on those who lack access to free internet? /s

karenhasfreedom on December 6, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Government Sponsored Security – give away free hand guns to the poor and mandate that everyone buy a gun or be fined.

barnone on December 6, 2010 at 11:37 AM

LOL! That’s been my preferred argument with liberals who back the Obamacare mandates. Repubs should threaten to pass a law requiring citizens to purchase a firearm and at least 50 rounds of ammo… after all, its a Constitutional RIGHT!

(You should see the shocked looks on my liberal friends’ faces! They really don’t understand the can of worms they’ve opened up!)

dominigan on December 6, 2010 at 12:42 PM

Guaranteed troll-free thread.

Inanemergencydial on December 6, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Oh yeah, let’s hit small businesses with more obligation.

I already pay ATT $100 a month for a land line and DSL. No LD, no TV, no Cell. Just mid-level speed DSL at that, (and who even gets that speed?).

It’s down from $130 that I paid for over 4 years after I bitched about the cost and they lowered it.

Have you checked out what you can get from them for $49 or $79 if you’re a residential user?
So, who’s gonna be expected to underwrite more free crap?

OkieDoc on December 6, 2010 at 12:49 PM

Guaranteed troll-free thread.

Inanemergencydial on December 6, 2010 at 12:46 PM

So what do you wingnuts have against diversity?

—crr6

dmh0667 on December 6, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Lets remember who these people are, people who would enslave us by indoctrination and confiscation. Let’s keep a list of these Sons of the Brave New World. And in 2012, let’s recall their sins and list them aloud in the public arena, and boot them from their perches, and let the name of Tyrant cling to each one, long after each of them has lost the power to corrupt this earth.

njcommuter on December 6, 2010 at 12:56 PM

All the FCC needs is a very small office to handle frequency allocations and bandwidth auctions. Everything else goes. I think a couple dozen people tops.

slickwillie2001 on December 6, 2010 at 1:00 PM

The only difference between Hugo Chavez and those reprobates is that Hugo Chavez has actually succeeded in seizing and redistributing anything and everything he has wanted to on a whim, and with ease.

The only difference here is that there will be some purely symbolic gestures of resistance from our elected officials in order to pacify Americans who are against all of this and to hopefully be able to be on the record that they were against it before they were for it before it finally happens.

It is just a matter of time.

FlatFoot on December 6, 2010 at 1:09 PM

The fact is that there is only so much bandwidth available

Slowburn on December 6, 2010 at 12:37 PM

The interwebs are like the liberal economy, eh? Neither is capable of growing?

MNHawk on December 6, 2010 at 1:27 PM

It’s THAT, not DAT !

Hummer53 on December 6, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Funny, all I heard was “POWER, POWER, POWER! SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT!”

Weird.

29Victor on December 6, 2010 at 2:45 PM

Spoken like true tyrants.

jawkneemusic on December 6, 2010 at 3:04 PM

In any sane society these people would be in a padded cell.

leereyno on December 6, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Makes a good case for defunding the FCC doesn’t it. Look at the money we could save.

tarpon on December 6, 2010 at 3:14 PM

The fact is that there is only so much bandwidth available

Slowburn on December 6, 2010 at 12:37 PM

The interwebs are like the liberal economy, eh? Neither is capable of growing?

MNHawk on December 6, 2010 at 1:27 PM

I was speaking of the radio spectrum. The FCC should have no place in non broadcast mediums.

Slowburn on December 6, 2010 at 3:28 PM

For all his talk of job creation, President Obama has targeted many occupations for extinction. Using unelected bureaucrats to implement a host of job-killing measures, his administration is generating piles of pink slips

J_Crater on December 6, 2010 at 4:32 PM

People for the disbanding of the FTC, FDA now add the FCC to the list…

I wish.

Friendly21 on December 6, 2010 at 5:05 PM

I got a feeling this is not going to end well for the scumbags at the FCC. Americans are sick of the Liberal vacuum sucking our freedoms up at will.

Here’s hoping they all get added to the list of investigations a-coming.

Keemo on December 6, 2010 at 6:42 PM