Watchdog expresses misgivings about Wheeler nomination


Tom WheelerFree Press would like an FCC chairman who puts the public first and foremost and industry stakeholders second, and does not believe that’s what we’re going to get with nominee Tom Wheeler.

In an article on Huffington Post, Free Press’s Craig Aaron had no trouble identifying potential problems with Wheeler as head of the Commission.

First and foremost is his resume, which includes stops at the top of NCTA and CTIA.

Aaron said the fact that Wheeler is not Julius Genachowski was a plus, but wondered about other claims being made, such as that he won’t need a job after his chairmanship so he won’t be eyeing the “revolving door” with an executive position with a communications company in mind. He’s already rich, people say.
“I mean, can you even think of a time when putting a rich industry insider in charge of a crucial government agency has not worked out for the public interest?” wrote Aaron.

He noted that in addition to the past, there is the fact that Wheeler will have to divest stock in 78 companies that could pose a conflict of interest.

He asked about the campaign contributions that Wheeler has bundled on behalf of the two Obama presidential campaigns and wonders how much of the cash came from the same executives who will be parading through his office seeking favorable FCC decisions.

He also noted that Wheeler’s selection has been almost universally praised by stakeholder companies. That alone is reason to be fearful of his commitment to the public interest ahead of the corporate interest.

Aaron said Wheeler will require strong grilling by the Senate Commerce Committee prior to getting approval for the job with a focus on net neutrality, media ownership, broadband competition, spectrum issues and consumer issues.

Aaron concluded, “important issues before the FCC, from Net Neutrality and media ownership to broadband competition, spectrum allocation and consumer protection. I want to believe Wheeler can transform himself into the leader the FCC so desperately needs. I want to trust those who say the 30 or 40 years he spent advocating for the biggest media and technology companies won’t cloud his judgment. I really hope his advocates are right. But I need more evidence to believe that Wheeler has what it takes to stand up to the industry giants he’s cozied up to all these years.”



  1. They’re not the only ones worried about this guy. He is not a broadcaster in any way, but he’s obviously in bed with the telecommunications companies, whether or not he divests ownership positions in SEVENTY EIGHT companies his loyalties do NOT belong to broadcasting but to those who would take their spectrums. Bye bye Broadcast Television….

    And remember, years ago we were all told that consolidation was going to be good for radio. Ask all of the unemployed radio people and the radio listeners in the large markets how good it’s been….

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