These days, when Sen. Dorgan (D-North Dakota) makes the case that the FCC has moved from referee to cheerleader in the fight over media control — “shaking the pom-poms for more media concentration” — he’s sounding increasingly prescient.
Yesterday, FCC chair Kevin Martin took to the stage before a cheering industry audience at a Las Vegas trade show with a variant of that message, namely: Corporations don’t need any regulation, because we trust you. Responding to Verizon’s recent statement that it supports open-access principles, Martin was quick to soothe any fears that the FCC might feel the need to actually enshrine the principle in policy. “In light of the industry’s embrace of this more open approach, I think it’s premature for the commission to adopt any other requirements across the industry,” he said.
But Verizon’s statement was just that–a statement. And like Comcast, which last week announced (after intense pressure) it would stop blocking BitTorrent software, Verizon has been chary with its guarantees of future nondiscrimination in its dealings.
The Senate Commerce Committee was slated to vote on Dorgan’s attempt to overturn the FCC’s recent efforts to promote media cross-ownership today; the vote has been rescheduled for April 24.