Free Press using Daily Show appearance to pressure Baker


Josh Silver, speaking for Free Press, was featured in a Jon Stewart bit on the 5/16/11 edition of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show. Silver was speaking out against the Comcast/NBCU merger, and Stewart against the hiring of FCC Commissioner Meredith Baker by Comcast. Free Press is using the event as a springboard to get a House hearing on the Baker situation.

Stewart may have gone off the rails a bit when he said the merger was “illegal.” Silver offered a more standard warning against the evils of letting a large corporation get larger.

Silver has since moved on from Free Press, but his replacement Craig Aaron said, “Criticism of Commissioner Baker has come from almost every corner, including The New York Times, TIME Magazine, Rolling Stone and now The Daily Show. We have collected more than 60,000 letters urging Rep. Darrell Issa to investigate Baker’s sudden departure, and we’re re-doubling our efforts to get to 100,000 before delivering them to the congressman.”

Darrell Issa (R-CA) is Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

In its call for letter-writers, Free Press said, “Congress is already concerned about how the FCC conducts itself. Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has been making a lot of noise recently about alleged ethical violations at the agency. By signing this letter to Congressman Issa, you’re urging him to launch an investigation of Commissioner Baker’s seemingly blatant conflict of interest.”

Baker has defended her move, saying that at no time did she discuss  the possibility of a job with Comcast while the merger was under FCC review. She stated, “Not once in my entire tenure as a Commissioner had anyone at Comcast or NBCUniversal approached me about potential employment. I have not only complied with the legal and ethical laws, but I also have gone further. I have not participated or voted any item, not just those related to Comcast or NBCUniversal, since entering discussions about an offer of potential employment.”