News

Barton Queries FCC Quotes

12/20/2010 12:01 AM Eastern

Washington — Federal Communications
Commission chairman Julius
Genachowski last week defended his effort
to promote his compromise network-neutrality
proposal as one with wide industry
support.

In response to questions from Rep. Joe
Barton (R-Tex.) about the FCC excerpting
quotes, including those of National Cable &
Telecommunications Association president
Kyle McSlarrow, in support of its networkneutrality
regulations compromise draft order,
Genachowski said that the full quotes,
which included caveats for that support, were
readily available to anyone who cared.

Barton sent the chairman a letter Dec. 3
saying the quotes distorted — by cutting out
the caveats — the support the FCC had from
industry for its network-neutrality regulations.
He asked the chairman to explain the
“exclusion of less-than-laudatory comments”
in the document circulated by a staffer.

That document included quotes that failed
to included ellipses (the “dot dot dots” that indicate
something has been left out of the middle),
and began some quotes after the caveats,
though it did include links to the full statements
in some cases.

“I look forward to gaining a fuller understanding
of what has happened and why,”
Barton said, asking for a response by Dec. 8.

Genachowski’s answer was brief and without
elaboration, according to a copy supplied
by Barton’s office: “In response to numerous
press inquiries and other requests, I understand
that a handout was provided to journalists
and others that, where appropriate,
included links to the full statements,” the
chairman said.

“I further understand the public statements
were widely distributed by the organizations
themselves and could easily be obtained by
interested parties. I hope you find this information
helpful,” he added.

A Barton spokesperson had no comment at
press time on whether that was the case, but
on background, a Republican House source
said the chairman has not yet decided what
his response to the chairman’s response will
be.