FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein criticized the commission Thursday for practicing "faith-based regulation" and called on media reformers to push for "real" peer review of 10 studies the FCC will conduct as part of its media ownership review . The "faith" base Adelstein was referring to was not religion, but the industry.
Harold Feld, senior VP, Media Access Project, who was attending a "pre-conference before the three-day Free Press Media Reform Conference that begins Friday in Memphis, says that, borrowing from Al Gore, Adelstein urged activists and academics to spread the "inconvenient truth" about the impact of consolidation to the FCC and Capitol Hill.
In response to a question from the audience, according to Feld, Adelstein said that FCC staffers had complained of "being squeezed and unable to participate fully in debates because political pressure at the FCC suppressed views contrary to those of industry."
Adelstein told the crowd that he and Commissioner Copps would hold public hearings on cable public, educational, and government channels and "what the FCC can do to strengthen public access."
Adelstein's office had not returned a call at press time for comment on Feld's read on the speech, but Adelstein and fellow Democrat Michael Copps share the Free Press concerns over consolidation and are frequent attendees at Free Press-sponsored town meetings around the country.
For more observations from Feld on the Adelstein speech, check out