Even though Trump is leaving the White House on January 19, he’s set up the FCC to carry on his idiosyncratic policy goals well into the Biden administration, especially if a Republican-led Senate resists the new president’s nomination for a new chairman.
At the last minute, Trump decided not to renominate FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly because he dared to opine that the Federal Communications Commission should not be put in charge of regulating online speech – a position consistent with his conservative political views. However, Trump is hellbent on the evisceration of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides immunity to internet platforms of all sizes and type for the speech posted by third-parties, such as participants in an online forum, or a social media platform.
Prof. Christopher Terry, from the University of Minnesota, joins to help us untangle this situation and the implications of the president’s last-minute nomination – and the subsequent Senate confirmation – of Nathan Simington to the FCC. Simington is believed to be one of the authors behind an executive order that calls on the FCC to “clarify” regulations on internet speech. With the exit of Republican Chairman Ajit Pai with the change of administration, this leaves the FCC with a two Democrat to two Republican deadlock. Together we suss out how community media could be affected should Trump and Simington get their way.
We also review arguments in front of the Supreme Court in the case of the FCC’s media ownership regulations that have failed to pass Appeals Court scrutiny for more than a decade.
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