Credo Action

Tell the Senate: Do not confirm Trump's FCC chairman

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The petition to the U.S. Senate reads:

"Block and resist the confirmation of former telecom attorney Ajit Pai – an extreme right-wing corporate lawyer – as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission."

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    Tell the Senate: Do not confirm Trump's FCC chairman

    Donald Trump would not have risen to power without extreme right-wing media outlets selling him to the public – and the Trump resistance wouldn't be possible without activists fighting back online.

    So it is no wonder that Trump's pick for chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is trying to expand right-wing control of the media and simultaneously shut down the open internet.

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is an extreme right-wing corporate lawyer who wants to kill net neutrality and approve a television mega-empire that would rival Fox News as a source of right-wing propaganda. But before Pai can start his second term, the Senate must re-confirm him for the job, which gives us a crucial opportunity to fight back and resist Pai’s anti-internet, anti-consumer agenda.

    Tell the Senate: Fire Ajit Pai.

    Net neutrality is the rule that prevents internet providers like Comcast and AT&T from charging you more to access content they don't like, or even censoring it altogether. Even though net neutrality is wildly popular, Pai wants to repeal net neutrality rules and hand control of the internet to the biggest corporations.1

    Without net neutrality, internet providers could make it harder for activists to organize online if they don't like their views. They could create "slow lanes" and "fast lanes" for different content, making it hard for anyone except the biggest companies to reach internet users. If Pai succeeds in reversing net neutrality, the open internet as we know it could disappear.

    Tell the Senate: Fire Ajit Pai.

    Meanwhile, Pai is opening the door for the largest broadcasting company in the United States to get even bigger. The right-wing television conglomerate Sinclair wants to buy out its competitor Tribune Media. The new mega-corporation would reach 72 percent of of American households – far more than the legal cap that limits broadcasters to reaching no more than 39 percent of homes.2 But Pai is reviving an outdated loophole in the rules to let the merger go through.3

    Sinclair is famous for sending stations daily "must-run" segments that push its extremist right-wing views. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Sinclair required local television stations to air stories critical of Hillary Clinton.4 Jared Kushner even announced that the Trump campaign had "struck a deal" with Sinclair to ensure more favorable coverage of Trump.5 Now, Sinclair has hired former Trump aide Boris Epshteyn and requires stations to air his commentary nine times a week.6

    If Pai is successful, his radical pro-corporate agenda could reshape our media landscape and eliminate the open internet. But because his position as FCC chair is appointed and not elected, the only way we can stop him is to demand that our elected U.S. senators block his confirmation.

    Tell the Senate: Fire Ajit Pai.

    References:

    1. Olivia Solon, "Ajit Pai: the man who could destroy the open internet," The Guardian, July 12, 2017.
    2. Taylor Link, "FCC exploits loophole to push massive expansion of pro-Trump Sinclair Broadcasting," Salon, Aug. 7, 2017.
    3. Ibid.
    4. David Folkenflik, "Sinclair Broadcast Group Has Deal To Buy Tribune Media's TV Stations," NPR, May 8, 2017.
    5. Ibid.
    6. Sidney Ember, "Sinclair Requires TV Stations to Air Segments That Tilt to the Right," The New York Times, May 12, 2017.
    7. Hadas Gold, "Sinclair increases 'must-run' Boris Epshteyn segments," Politico, July 10, 2017.