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FCC Commissioner Meredith Baker Approves Comcast-NBC Merger, Wins Job at Comcast

Phillip Dampier May 11, 2011 Public Policy & Gov't 9 Comments


The Wall Street Journal is reporting this afternoon that Republican FCC Commissioner Meredith Atwell Baker, nominated to the FCC in mid-2009, is preparing to leave her duties to take a job with Comcast Corporation, just four months after voting for the controversial merger between NBC-Universal and the nation’s largest cable company — her new employer.

The newspaper reports Baker is expected to announce her departure as soon as this week for an unknown position at the Philadelphia-based cable giant. Comcast declined to comment, a company spokeswoman told the Journal.

This is the latest example of the revolving door that rotates people to and from the industries they regulate as government employees.  Baker was expected to be renominated for another term at the FCC.

Baker’s performance on the Commission was decidedly business-friendly, although at several points she seemed confused about the issues involved.  At a Tech Policy Summit held in January 2010, Baker suggested consumers paying for roaming while using mobile broadband would be an effective solution to ease congestion on wireless data networks.

Currently there are 9 comments on this Article:

  1. Duffin says:

    How is this not illegal? This should be illegal!

  2. Brad Neuberg says:

    If this isn’t illegal, it should be! It certainly looks bad for both the FCC and Comcast!

  3. Tim says:

    If there are people out there that DON’T think our government is rampant with corruption, they are living in a dream world. I agree, this should be illegal. Also it shows how morally bankrupt Meredith Attwater Baker is as a person. Way to sell us down the stream to our corporate overlords honey, appreciate it!!

  4. Joe says:

    And you STILL think that writing letters to FCC Commissioner’s, elected officials, etc. is going to have any effect what-so-ever???

    • Yes, I do. My theory of politics fighting these issues since the late 1980s (when it was about satellite dish access to cable programming) has remained largely the same:

      Expect politicians to respond first to their self-interests — their election campaigns, the money needed to fight them, and the people who come before them face to face. When voters are not paying attention, it’s easy to do the lobbyists’ bidding, especially if it can be spun as some pro-business policy. Your votes have consequences. Elect the people who do not sell you out.

      When voters are paying attention, politicians do notice that, especially when enough of them are considering who they will vote for in the next election. When enough people get mad and do something, they very much do pay attention and change direction.

      At the FCC the proof is just a few years old, when everyone thought it was a lock to allow further broadband industry consolidation. Consumers, already weary of their lousy choices on radio and television, howled in protest and the FCC did an immediate 180.

      So it must be on our issues. Consumers must be educated to tell fact from dollar-a-holler BS, get involved and fight, and then vote for the candidates and do business with the companies that best serve them.

      Sometimes things get worse before they get better. When they get worse, more of us get involved. Eventually, the tipping point is reached and major policy reforms are enacted.

      Baker’s transparent move is going to raise a lot of questions. The sleazy factor is way too great this time, and I expect to see this become a broader political issue. Usually these people end up at some hack lobbying firm before they show up directly working for the companies they used to regulate.

      Guess Ms. Baker needs to make a house payment or wants a nice yacht. Her actions only expose her for what she is and give us one more piece of ammunition.

      Let the outrage energy redouble your efforts to demand changes.

      • Duffin says:

        But, Phil, my question is this: How do you show with your vote when the people you want to send a message to don’t care because they already got what they wanted, like this person?

        • Tim says:

          My thoughts exactly. The people that do care are outnumbered by the people who don’t care, have no clue, or are part of the problem.

        • I don’t believe Ms. Baker represents the majority of public officials. As you can read this evening, Michael Copps is one of the good ones. This woman sees no ethical problem doing what she is doing, and the other Republican commissioner at the FCC is honestly no better. Michael Powell, still another Republican, used to chair the FCC under George W. Bush, and now he runs the cable lobby.

          Although not always true, I increasingly find the actions of the federal Republicans to be harder and harder to defend. They are simply anti-consumer on virtually all broadband issues, with the exception of seeking more competition.

          I will be interested to see how other Republicans defend Baker’s career move, if they do.

          These kinds of things, along with the lockstep mentality against Net Neutrality guides who I vote for in elections. I know I could always end up with a Democrat willing to take the money and run, but I think the odds of that are less than what I am going to get from Republicans elected to Congress.

          Thankfully, things are not as bleak on the local level, especially in rural areas where there are some very honorable Republicans that support competition and a level playing field, no matter who is playing on it.

          Also, I’d remind folks the tea party people, who represent a small minority of Americans, are getting plenty of time and attention from politicians, so you don’t need an army to get elected officials to listen — just an organized, united front can make a big difference.

          I’d also say that simply cynically giving up and doing nothing only rewards the bad behavior we saw today.

  5. JB says:

    Absolutely effing disgusting. It’s a constant fight on all fronts between greedy vile corporations, government agencies run amok and the elected officials taking bribes/”campaign donations”. I’ll keep it up until the day I leave this earth, but it sure puts me in a sour mood more often than not these days.

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