Owing to his earnest and mild-mannered (if intellectually scruffy) ways, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps has rarely inspired anger. No matter how wrong-headed his views – and he’s been wrong about virtually everything for the whole of his time as a Commissioner – he’s been accorded that kind of tolerance that people bestow on those seen to be sincere and to mean well.
That’s about to change. In the midst of the worst economy – and potentially fatal problems for that part of the economy occupied by American newspapers and broadcasters – Copps is saying and doing things that infuriate.
The most recent, and onerous, examples occurred just yesterday and today when, according to stories in Broadcasting & Cable, Copps demonstrated, yet again, how insulated he is from the world of fact and logic.
Presiding (alone) over an FCC workshop convened to hear the views of academics on the subject of media ownership on Monday, “Copps warned against putting too much stock in the doom and gloom scenarios about the health of TV and newspapers, suggesting that trying to ‘save’ the media should not translate to a lighter re-regulatory hand.”
Then today, at yet another workshop, Copps expressed the opinion (as reported by B&C) that “if the FCC can’t rejuvenate shuttered newsrooms, put the brakes on ‘mind-numbing "monoprogramming"’ and otherwise turn the tide … of consolidation, then ‘maybe those who want the spectrum back have the better of the argument after all.’”
And so there you have it. The parlous state of the TV and newspaper industries, according to Michael Copps, is nothing to be worried about. It’s just a rumor. No need to lighten the regulatory load. In fact, if broadcasters don’t start programming the way Copps would like, maybe we’ll just take their spectrum away from them.
The series of workshops in question have one more day to run. Plenty of time, in other words, for Copps to give us the benefit of even more of this stuff.