Organizers expect about 1,000 people to show up Friday at Federal
Communications Commission headquarters to protest chairman Michael Powell's
The protest is sponsored by a nonprofit group called American Resurrection
headed by David DeGraw, a 28-year-old resident of Smithtown, N.Y.
'Michael Powell has made no bones that he is a pro-deregulation,
pro-corporate commissioner. We want to send him a message that there is a public
interest,' DeGraw said.
DeGraw added that he was 'ballparking it' on attendance reaching 1,000
The rallying point for the protest is a speech Powell gave to an American Bar
Association meeting in Las Vegas in April 1998 about the FCC's role in enforcing
the public-interest standard in communications law.
'The night after I was sworn in, I waited for a visit from the angel of the
public interest. I waited all night, but she did not come,' Powell said. 'And,
in fact, five months into this job, I still have had no divine awakening and no
one has issued me my public-interest crystal ball.'
Over the years, Powell has said that the public-interest standard is a vague
concept and difficult to apply to companies with First Amendment rights.
In an effort to mock Powell's position, some at the protest are expected to
dress as public-interest angels and other to carry crystal balls, DeGraw
The afternoon rally is expected to last three hours. The Weather Channel is
forecasting partly cloudy skies and a day-high temperature of 45 degrees.
Powell has not been invited to speak, DeGraw added.
FCC spokesman David Fiske was not immediately available to comment.
Event speakers include Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for
Digital Democracy; Terry O'Neal of the National Organization for Women; and
filmmaker-university professor Deedee Halleck.