Moral Low Ground


F.C.C. Commissioner who Approved Comcast-NBC Merger Leaving F.C.C.– to Join Comcast Lobbyists

For those of you out there who don’t believe our democracy has become more of a corporatocracy– government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations– I give you Meredith Attwell Baker. She’s a Bush-appointed former Commerce Department official turned Federal Communications Commission (FCC) commissioner who voted to approve the highly controversial Comcast-NBC merger this January. Now, just four months after giving the thumbs-up to a corporate marriage that consolidates a frighteningly unprecedented amount of media and internet power into one company’s hands, Baker is leaving her powerful FCC post to join the lobbying arm of– you guessed it– Comcast.

The revolving door goes round and round… (Photo: Pablo H)

Baker’s announcement highlights the revolving door between our government and corporate boardrooms and the unhealthy relationship between government regulators and the companies they’re supposed to be regulating. Indeed, Baker, an avowed Republican, was critical of the time it was taking for the FCC to review the Comcast-NBC merger. Did she know that she would soon be leaving the FCC to work for Comcast as she approved the dubious deal?

Craig Aaron, who heads Free Press, a media interest group, told the New York Times that Baker’s move is “just the latest, though perhaps most blatant, example of a so-called public servant cashing in at a company she is supposed to be regulating. No wonder the public is so nauseated by business as usual in Washington, where the complete capture of government by industry barely raises any eyebrows. The continuously revolving door at the FCC continues to erode any prospects for good public policy.”

Sure, Baker won’t be allowed to lobby any FCC officials for two years after she steps down. Yes, she won’t be able to lobby any political appointees at the FCC for the rest of Obama’s presidency. She’s also banned for life from lobbying any executive branch agency, including the FCC, in regards to the Comcast deal. But she is free to lobby members of Congress right away. And with the US Supreme Court ruling that corporations are people and money is free speech, thereby permitting corporations to donate unlimited sums of cash to political campaigns, you can bet Baker will be busy doling out the dough to the men and women on Capitol Hill who are willing to do Comcasts’ bidding.

That’s what you call a corporatocracy, and that’s what American politics is all about these days. Deny it all you want as you watch your democracy go down the drain. Or at least through an endless revolving door.

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