Pai: Media Ownership Proposal Belies Record

Takes aim at quadrennial review circulated this week

FCC commissioner Ajit Pai suggests the FCC is living in the 1970s while broadcasters have to survive in the digital age.

In response to agency chairman Tom Wheeler's circulation to the other commissioners this week of a quadrennial media ownership review that retains legacy regs and even toughens them , Pai said Wednesday (June 29) that while the FCC's rules should reflect today's media marketplace, Wheeler's proposal does not.

"Last month, the FCC had no problem approving not one, but two multibillion dollar cable mergers," said Pai, who supported both. "Last year, it signed off on AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV. Yet, it now gets the vapors at the prospect of a newspaper in Scranton, Pa., owning a single radio station.

"Whatever the motivation for the chairman’s proposal, it has nothing to do with the evidence in the record, principled decision-making, or the law."

The chairman generally aligns his motivations with "competition, competition, competition."

Pai suggested the rules may ultimately reign over an empty kingdom.

"[G]iven current trends, it is likely that the Commission’s newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership restrictions will outlive the print newspaper industry itself," he said.