The Trump administration’s unrelenting attacks on the media and assault on reality have been well covered by journalists and media outlets that find themselves in the new administration’s crosshairs. Yet while the White House’s insistence on “alternative facts” may be more visibly ominous, there is another growing threat to the independent media that also demands our attention.
espite his crusade against the press, Trump’s contempt does not seem to apply to the massive conglomerates—such as Comcast and Verizon—with so much influence over what the American people watch on television and read on the Internet. And at a time when extreme commercialization has helped drive the decline of accountability journalism, Trump and his recently appointed Federal Communications Commission chairman, Ajit Pai, have signaled their intention to exacerbate the problem.
A former associate general counsel at Verizon and a consistent opponent of FCC rules intended to protect consumers, Pai fits the mold of other, higher-profile Trump appointees whose experience and ideology run counter to their roles in the administration. And since taking over the top job, Pai has already started transforming the FCC into an unofficial branch of the telecommunications industry. This month, Pai put his initial stamp on the agency with a series of orders that elicited harsh criticism from media-reform and consumer-advocacy groups, such as Free Press, which said they will “undercut affordable broadband, greenlight more media consolidation and endanger key protections for Internet users.”
Read the full text of Katrina’s column here.