Media and telecommunications policy battles could take on a new look now
that Jonathan Adelstein has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to serve on the
Federal Communications Commission.
Adelstein, an aide to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), was confirmed Thursday night by voice vote.
His nomination had been held up for months as a result of partisan tension
over some of President Bush's nominees for the federal judiciary.
Because the FCC has three Republicans and one Democrat, the arrival of Democrat Adelstein won't represent a formal shift in power.
But because the Republican majority has been less than cohesive on a number
of issues, Adelstein could cast a number of tie-breaking votes.
For example, the FCC has been deadlocked on a number of digital-TV fronts, including whether cable operators in some instances should be required to carry multiple digital-programming streams provided free-of-charge by local TV stations.
FCC chairman Michael Powell has opposed a multicasting-carriage mandate on
Adelstein was named to fill the seat vacated by Gloria Tristani, who returned to New Mexico to run for the U.S. Senate. She lost the race Nov. 5 to longtime incumbent Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.).
Adelstein's FCC term expires June 30,