FC: Senator tells FCC chairman he should be at U.S. Chamber of Commerce

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Thu Mar 07 2002 - 16:01:15 PST

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    [Of course Michael Powell was merely telling the truth and Senator Hollings 
    knew it. But Hollings would rather score political points by assailing 
    someone who dared suggest -- mildly! -- that government intrusion may not 
    be the best solution to every problem. To Hollings, that's apparently more 
    important than speaking his conscience. Shame on Hollings for being a 
    knave; shame on Safire for sounding more like Ralph Nader or Pat Buchanan 
    than someone who once called himself a conservative. --Declan]
    Date: Thu, 7 Mar 2002 15:12:54 -0800 (PST)
    From: Ben Polen <benpolenat_private>
    Subject: Quoting Safire, Hollings rips into Powell at Senate hearing
    To: declanat_private
    I covered this hearing today as a reporter. This stuff was
    so good, I thought your Politech readers would enjoy it!
    Quoting Safire, Hollings rips into Powell at Senate hearing
    William Safire article on media consolidation, rather
    unflattering to Powell.
    >March 7, 2002
    >The Urge to Converge
    >WASHINGTON--"Mere size is no sin against the law,"
    >President William Howard Taft told Congress in 1911, in
    >defense of the legislation that had enabled his G.O.P.
    >predecessor, Teddy Roosevelt, to bust the trusts stifling
    >competition. (Taft weighed over 300 pounds at the time.)
    >The principle that it was not a corporation's size itself,
    >but only the purpose or effect of its size and power on
    >competition, lay at the heart of antitrust law for the past
    >century. It is the basis of the Ashcroft Justice
    >Department's recent cave-in to the growing monopoly that is
    >With the roundheeled Michael Powell steering the Federal
    >Communications Commission toward terminal fecklessness;
    >with the redoubtable Joel Klein succeeded at Justice's
    >antitrust division by an assortment of wimps; and with
    >appeals courts approving the concentration of media power
    >as if nothing had changed since President Taft's day, the
    >checks and balances made possible by diverse competition
    >are being eradicated.
    FYI: "Roundheeled" is describes a sexual pushover whose
    "roundheels" allow her (yes, sexist etymology) to easily
    fall backwards into bed. It is just the sort of esoteric
    word one comes to expect from Safire.
    Safire's article came on a day when Powell testified in
    front of a Senate budget subcommitee, chaired by Sen.
    Ernest Hollings (D-South Carolina).
    Myself and other members of the press corps got quite a
    chuckle reading this before the hearing, and even more of a
    laugh when Hollings read it aloud while lambasting Powell's
    laxness on media consolidation.
    "All you need to do is take care of the laws we pass.
    Instead, you seem to abandon that responsibility and assign
    it to the market," Hollings said. "You don't care about the
    law...to you, the law is an empty vessel."
    Referring to press quotes in USA Today where Powell had
    been attributed as stating that the free market was his
    religion Hollings asked Powell, "Are you happy with your
    When Powell applied in the affirmative, Hollings said that
    the market as religion statement he made suggested that he
    might be better "as an executive vice president of the U.S.
    Chamber of Commerce."
    "You always go with the market," Hollings said, "You think
    that is the law?"
    In response, Powell said, "I think the law recognizes
    market interests. The public interests and market forces
    can [be the same]."
    Hollings replied, "That is a wonderful statement for an
    executive Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce."
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