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tv   The Communicators  CSPAN  November 21, 2016 8:00am-8:48am EST

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.. >> by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> host: and this week on "the communicators," a discussion about the federal communications commission and the incoming
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trump administration. joining us are two former members of the federal communications commission, robert mcdowell, republican member, served from 2006-2013, and michael copps, former member on the democratic side, 2001-2011. and, in fact, served as acting chair for about half a year. michael copps, you were there during a presidential transition. what's the process like? what happens at this point? >> guest: well, i think the process is going to vary from incoming administration to incoming administration. you're in the middle of a transition now. we hear rumors about who's in and who's out, is there even a transition going on. i assume there is. i hope that the business of the commission will continue as we go between here and january. there are a lot of items teed up that republican commissions and democratic commissions both have
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worked on in recent years, and i think it's time to put some of those issues behind us. there'a whole negeraon ofelomnitis su o e,nd'rsm a co those what's the future of the internet going beyond network neutrality, what does it mean with artificialintelligence, what does it mean for jobs, what about the consolidation and commercialization? these are issues we haven't really even broached yet. so this is a time of transition. i hope we're going to focus more on issues rather than who's going to be the next chairman or who held the most fundraisers for a specific candidate or something like that. such a vibrant and important part of the economy, and all of our lives as individuals, so we need to look afresh during this transition about what it is we're going to be doing. >> host: robert mcdowell, you went from being in the majority to the minority. did you try to push some things
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through the transition period? >> guest: first of all, a shoutout to my colleague and good friend, michael copps, he was acting chairman in 2009, and the commission was down to three commissioners with our friend, jonathan adelstein, undertaking the digital television transition. and it was what we call now the era of the three amigos led by the chief amigo right here. and i will destroy both -- all the credibility we have for all of our constituencies, mike copse -- copps and i agreed 900% of the time during -- 100% of the time during our tenure. i wore by duke cuff links and tie today just for that purpose. but the transitions are very important. during the bush to obama transition, we all worked with the obama transition team. they came and visited me as a
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commissioner and vice versa, and we talked about ideas such as on fcc process reform. mike and i worked together a lot on those issues as well, what can be more transparent, speedier, more public comment, etc. so all these things are important in terms of policy making and the nuts and bolts operations of government. you can disagree on the outcome, but you should have a fair, open and transparent process in the interim. >> guest: you know, the city has gotten a lot more partisan over the last few years. but hearkening back to that spirit we had then, i really hope that we can keep that in mind as we move ahead. obviously, there are always 3-2 votes, there's always division on big issues. but you have to have some level of cheej y'allty -- collegiality and camaraderie, and i think when that slips away, it's very much to the detriment and the credibility of the fcc -- >> host: has it slipped away in this current fcc? >> guest: well, i think
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everything in washington has slipped away when it comes to partisanship. i think most votes at the fcc are still unanimous, but when you get to big issues, whether it's media ownership or privacy, there's going to be partisanship. but on the personal realm, that's why for years aye said let's get away from this closed meeting rule that prohibits commissioners from getting together and talk about issues. you can have the lawyers there to have it all above board and above suspicion and all that, but i think so much of the personal conflicts that we've seen -- and this goes back before this commission too -- could be aleve -- acleaveuated if commissioners -- alleviated if commissioners could sit around a table like this. >> host: robert mcdowell, ajit pai has endorsed letters sent by the commerce committee in the senate saying hold off on
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controversial items during this transition period. do you agree with him? >> guest: i do. first of all, he's my former colleague and a friend, but this is tradition. doesn't matter if you're a republican or a democrat. the same thing happened in 2008 when george w. bush was leaving office and barack obama was coming in. the democratic leaders of the relevant committees in congress sent a very similar letter to then-chairman kevin martin, and so we actually ended up having our meetings sort of by teleconference. i remember actually the very last meeting for my other former colleague, deborah tate, was by phone which was kind of sad in a way. she didn't get the proper sendoff. nonetheless, there were not major, complex issues tackled. we had hoped that we could have reform of universal service, but had to wait until julius genachowski was in office. so these are normal things. the election's happened, put your pencils down, it's -- the american people have voted for a
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change, so let's move on, and big, controversial issues will happen later. >> guest: but before we got, before we got to having a permanent chairman while i was interim chairman, we did the d-tv transition. and rob and i and jonathan, we teed up an initiative on broadband strategy where we're going to have -- we did some stuff on forbearance, on translators. we did quite a few things, and it just seems to me on something like special access or bds, i remember signing letters, and maybe rob was there too in 2007, promising congress that we would, we would deal with this issue by 2007. and now it's 2017 almost ten years later, and it's not there. so at some point you just have to say, okay, let's, let's go ahead and do what we've got. but we can't go back and start all this research over and all this data gathering and everybody fighting about every
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level of data that you want to get. it's time to move on. there are new issues, as i said at the outset, that the commission needs to tee up if it's going to do justice by the internet and the digital age. >> host: let's bring brian fung of the washington post into this issue. >> thanks, peter. two issues that have been controversial and dropped off the radar, one being the bds proceeding and the other set-top box. do you see those coming back in 2017? >> business data service, these are the big pipes that connect office buildings and cell towers, big data pipes, and so the wheeler fcc has wanted to regulate that more. it was actually the clinton era sec that deregulated it under a price cap regime. so i don't see that being a priority. now, let me caveat everything by first of all saying when it comes to the donald trump era, the prediction business has been hard hit, right?
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nobody's really predicted what's happened this year. so here we are, we can take our best guess. we really don't know for sure. but i sense that what plans chairman wheeler teed up for business data services and also the set-top box item where there wasn't any unanimity or consensus among the democrats for starters is probably also not going to get a off the ground in 2017. >> guest: i hope that's not true. i hope we can deal with it. there is an item that is being negotiated. i think it can be discussed and dealt with before this commission ends. you know, we're still in the early stages of analyzing what this election means, but to me, this was not a typical liberal or conservative contest or even republican versus democrat. if the media is correct in its early analysis that we didn't hear a hot from the rust belt or we didn't hear a lot of reporting of what people were thinking about in rural america and small town villages, keep in
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mind these aren't employees of at&t or verizon or cox or comcast we're talking about, these are americans out all across the country who don't like paying $232 a year, who don't hike all this consolidation that's going on, who don't like bills that are constantly going up and up. so i think, i think president-elect trump will probably take a close look at this too and try to figure out that and what fights he needs to get involved in and what he doesn't and what really reflects the base of people who came out to vote for him. it might be a little different than we're thinking right now in these early stages of electoral analysis. >> guest: let's hope, though, that the fcc restores its image as an infeint9 agency -- independent agency. same with the federal trade commission. so i think that needs to be revitalized, that image.
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these are independent expert agency, should not be an arm of the executive branch. that's been the transition. so you appoint good people who understand the subject matter be regardless of the outcome. i think you would agree with me on that. but i think that's going to be a major point for improvement here -- >> guest: if you -- >> commissioner copps' point, you know, one question seems to be looking at who president-elect trump has tapped to lead the transition. one big question is whether there's a tension here between more establishment type figures versus folks who want to sort of shake up the system, if you will. and, you know, what's your expectation for that tension as it applies to the fcc in. >> guest: well, i don't know what my expectation is, but the first thing we ought to do is confirm nominees for the federal communication commission.
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poor jessica rosen wore el sits down there -- rosenworcel got caught up in strictly nasty partisan politics. everybody, i think democrat as well as republican, realizes her expertise, there's probably never been a commissioner that came into that job with more knowledge of the telecommunications industry and spectrum and all these things. she's mastered it, and she's sitting out there not knowing if she's going to be on the commission in january because of capitol hill politics. if congress was serious about this being an independent agency, we went through a process where her name came up long ago. why in the world won't they vote on her and confirm her and let her do her job? that's a harsh indictment of government. i i think it's just unexcusable that she's in this situation, and it's inexcuse beinexcusable that an independent agency is held hostage to this kind of politicking.
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not the way it should be. many. >> commissioner, do you see a path forward for commissioner rosenworcel? >> guest: that's up to the senate majority leader and the senate to figure out. that's also perhaps up to chairman wheeler in that there are three democrats on the -- his term as a commissioner doesn't run out for a couple more years. so he has it within his power, i think, to make that happen potentially. but if you have three democrats who could essentially be sitting on a republican commission deep into 2017 and 2018 and not knowing the outcome of that, i think that's probably on the minds of many. back to your other point, we just don't know who will be appointed to these agencies at sub-cabinet level. we're taping this a week after we understood the election results or knew what the outcome was, so, you know, the transition team is not going to turn its attention to sub-cabinet level appointments such as fcc chairman for quite a while. and anyone who's saying with great conviction they know who's going to be the next chair is
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full of it as with these oh sub-cabinet positionings. that's the big wildcard, and maybe we can reconvene in 30 days or so, peter -- >> host: we're speaking and, in fact, we're taping this right before the fcc meeting for november. >> guest: right. >> host: so if some of the big ticket or controversial items are on that agenda, could they be overturned in january? >> guest: absolutely. so that's part of the tension here that we talked about earlier, those congressional letters saying pencils down. you know, these 3-2 votes that have happened over the years, a lot of those items, i think, will be overturned, maybe replaced. you know, i think industry, public interest groups, think tanks, all the rest, consumer groups want to understand what the rules of the road is. so merely repealing things every four years doesn't do anyone any good because investment decisions, buying decisions, consumer behavior are influenced by what the government does here. so will congress step up and legislate some of this?
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there's a terrific opportunity over the next 18 months to do just that. so if you look at the title ii classification of broadband internet access service, i think that's probably very ripe for the fcc to repeal that, but will congress step in to have rules of the road? two years ago we were very close to a bipartisan consensus between senator john thune and senator bill nelson on the relevant committee, and i think that spirit can be rekindled to protect an open internet and freedom, to have a win/win situation where the edge of providers over the top providers all can flourish as well as network operators have an incentive to continue to invest in what will be the internet of things and 5g connectivity and the denseification needed to make the internet of things happen under 5g. so i think congress has a terrific opportunity here to act, but most people say just repeal things and not knowing what the rules of the road are is unhealthy, what are you going
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to replace it with? the world needs to understand what the constructs will be going forward. >> guest: it's always easier for the incoming folks to say this, and as the outcoming, i understand that's just, that's just a fact of life, and you have to deal with it. but again, back to the independent agency. if the independent agency's been working on business development services, special access, been working onset-top box under deadlines sent by congress, get this done, and it's 5, 0, 15 years later, vote on 'em. yes, the next commission can do away with whatever they want to do away with, assuming they can get the courts to go along with it, and that opens up the whole net neutrality which we're not talking about right this second. but it should do its job with the evidence it has, and as i said, for heavens sake, let's put some of these ballots behind us. we're not selecting commissioners just to deal for another ten years with special
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access or set-top boxings. we have a commission here that's responsible for oversight of a sixth of the economy. all these important questions i talked about before that go to the core of where we live and how we work and how many jobs are going to be displaced in this new digital age. we ought to have having a white house conference or some kind of a blue ribbon conference on the future of the internet. and part and parcel of that, and this gets me into the train i feel so passionately about, is what's the future of news and information on the internet, what's the future of journalism, what's the future of the jobs that you guys do? this is going to be our town square of our democracy paved with broadband bricks, how are we going to get real news and information on there instead of the stuff we see up there now? is it fake or is it real? all this sort of stuff. it's a travesty. it's not, it's not what self-government needs in order to not just thrive, but to survive. this was just, you know, this election we've been through was the ultimate commercialized
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reality show of voting celebrities off of the island. it had nothing to do with the problems of democracy, nothing to do with the real problems this country faces, and they're serious problems that can drag the country down. already it's dragging it down. we need to get receives. >> guest: are you saying the government should be the arbiter of what is fake news or not? >> guest: i am saying we as a society have to come up with some model that brings back a lot of the investigative journalism that we have lost over the last 20 years. we've lost maybe half of our newsroom employees. we have lost deep dive journalism. we've got reporters now, you know, here's your job for the day. cover these ten things, write something in the computer, write a cute headline, if it doesn't get clicks -- what happened to those days with the muckrakers where they -- go out and take a year. find out what's going on in the energy industry, the telecom
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industry, the meat-packing industry, and they'd do it. they'd go off for a year or two, come back and write a 50,000-word or article, and people would read that. we're not informingouts. how did this -- >> come under a lot of criticism for contributing to the spread of fake news. do you think facebook has a responsibility -- >> guest: of course i do. they're making a lot of money off the news, all these aggregators. what are they putting back into journalism, google or all these people? investive reporting is expensive, but it is a public good. it is a public necessity. i mean, you can go back to james madison and thomas jefferson and all of those folks who realized this was a crying need of society. that's why they subsidized the distribution of newspapers and all of that, because they knew that this experiment of theirs, which nobody knew would succeed or not in self-government, depended upon the people having news and information. to me now, for the last few
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years i've said -- according to somebody else, i forget who -- that our democratic dialogue has been dumbed down. i'm asking now, is it did. i'm that worried about it. is our democratic civic -- >> guest: both our parents were print journalists, as you may know, so i think it was the era before the cross-ownership ban and the tv-radio cross-ownership ban. i think we've seen a big decline in newspapers because of natural market progression, but now you're required to fund two newsrooms, tv or radio and newspaper. at this point, i think the market's bypassed that. but 1975 you can start to see the decline here especially in the past 15 years of newspapers, that may be something that the fcc wants to revisit, but i think the market, again, has probably passed it by. >> guest: but the marketplace for news and information is not there on the internet. it's not that we've lost half of our newsroom in traditional --
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staff in traditional media of newspapers, tv and radio and they all went over to the internet, because they haven't. you've lost -- [inaudible conversations] on the internet you've got maybe 5,000 jobs that are associated with -- [inaudible conversations] >> guest: real quick. there's a pew study that came out recently that says, you know, by 7 to 1 local viewers still trust their local broadcasters for just serving the news up pretty straight versus, let's say, cable tv where there's slant or lots of opinion mixed in or whatever your favorite web site is. so that's something to be mindful of. i hope the next fcc will understand the public -- >> guest: well, it might be be better, but that doesn't say it's good. >> we've seen president-elect trump express concerns about media buy -- bias and the potential for cable news channels or others to disadvantage conservative voices.
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do you worry that he would use the fcc or attempt to, does he want to use the fcc as a tool to go after media sources that he -- >> guest: well, i don't really think so. i was encouraged when he came out and talked about the at&t/time warner merger and said this is too much power in the hands of too few people. i hope he does follow new on that. -- follow through on that. but because we have been through a campaign that was so bereft on specifics, we don't know the exact steps he wishes to take. we've had presidents before who certainly tried to interfere with licensing and other things at the fcc. i hope we're beyond that, but i don't know. it's all one big question mark. >> guest: well, there's a greating book that does outline how the fcc back in the lbj administration or the truman administration with the fairness doctrine has tried to interfere with political speech over the airwaves. i haven't been able to figure
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out how cnn being bought by at&t changes the editorial content of cnn in any way. leaving it in the current hands if you're unhappy with it, i think that deal goes through, a vertical deal. vertical means buying the supplier. i think that deal probably will go through. let's hope, mike and i were talking in the green room ahead of time about we certainly hope there won't be any interference through the fcc of editorial discretion that would probably unify both, most republicans and democrats, i think. >> guest: you know, the classic definition of monopoly, we go back to the robber-barons and john d. rockefeller and all these people, it meant content and product, and it meant distribution. and that's what this merger is all about. it's bringing content and product into the hands of the distributer, or and possibly freezing out a lot of independent voices that would
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otherwise be heard but can't cope with that kind of power amazed into one -- amassed into one entity whether it's at&t or comcast or whoever it is. >> host: commissioner mcdowell, commissioner copps, january 21st of next year, when that rolls around, what's -- who's going to be on the commission -- [laughter] who gets to have a voice, and what will be some of the items that the trump administration, fcc will have to tackle? >> guest: again, we don't know the prediction business has been bruised here recently -- >> host: right. >> guest: we can guess. >> host: will chairman wheeler be gone? he doesn't have to be. >> guest: you'll have to ask him that question. so people understand, the president designates who the chair is but can't fire you from the commission altogether. you can only be removed by 'em peachment and, thankfully, nobody ever has from the fcc. so in theory, chairman wheeler could stay on as a regular commissioner assuming president
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elevates another acting chair. so we don't know that for sure. traditionally, when you change parties, chairs step down. and that is the assumption that that's what'll happen with tom wheeler, but we don't know for sure. >> there particular issues that republicans have been looking to address but perhaps because becf the democratic control they haven't been able to? >> guest: sure. newspaper cross-ownership, all of the ownership rules. i suppose somebody will try to undo net neutrality. i can't -- i don't know how a lawyer could go before a judge without getting very red in the face and the judge says why are you here, and the lawyer says we want to bring the old rules back and get rid of the new rules you already -- why did donald trump want to get involved in that fight?
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why does anybody? that should be history, and we should be getting on to some of these other issues. >> guest: well, first of all, the supreme court in the fox case said they could change their mind on rules. that was an indecency issue, and he and i were both involved with that appeal, so certainly the ea pell late courts -- >> guest: not every other year though. >> guest: well, actually, they didn't speak to that. it could probably be every other year provided it explains itself and there's public notice. nonetheless, we don't know what the agenda will be. but i do think there's some things before the commission that could have bipartisan appeal. they voted on what they call the spectrum frontier's proposal which is finding new frequencies, new bands of the airwaves to bring to market to put into the hands of consumers as we move to the internet of things which will require more spectrum. spectrum tndz be a place
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where republicans and democrats can come together, and it's also very necessary. so also they could do things to help incentivize the buildout of infrastructure to help support our new economy, our digital economy. and my hope would be that they look to supporting what's best for consumers rather than choosing among constituencies and trying to tilt playing fields in favor of different industries, one over another. let's make sure that it's, you know, a fair playing field and a fair market, but there's so much the fcc can do on a bipartisan basis to help the internet of things, it's a lot on their agenda. >> guest: both candidates for president endorsed it, and i'm hoping broadband will be very much a part of that infrastructure buildout. i hope the fcc will do its part. but if we're really serious about getting broadband out to everybody, and i just read a story today out of a tv station
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in pittsburgh that 18,000 people still don't have any access to broadband, that's got to be an administration-wide thing. other agencies need -- there's a mission for the 21st century, the next 10 or 15 years, let's get this country up to speed. i know rob will disagree and say we're already up to speed, but i think our showing in the international competition is certainly not what it should be for the country that invented the internet in the first place. >> host: commissioner copps, in january of 2009 you became a majority member of the commission. much as ajit pai and michael reilly will. how did your life change on the commission? >> guest: well, i became chairman, so my life changed quite a bit. [laughter] i became responsible for a lot of other things other than that. i think it changed just because of the standpoint that you're kind of responsible for setting the agenda and what items are
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going to be important. i felt a deep responsibility to improve the relationship between chairman and commissioners because i'd watched several commissioners come in and, basically, blow the relationship not just with members of the other party and the chairmans, but with members of their own party. be and i said, you know, we can do better than that, and we did that thanks to the cooperation of rob and jonathan. and that's why we made some progress. and we really need to get back to that. we need to do something about the closed meeting rule, getting the commissioners together and really looking at it as an independent agency. and, you know, people complaining that the president says one thing that the fcc should do, but here's congress, you've got three or four letters in the last day or two telling us what to do. so independent agency? >> host: robert mcdowell, how did your life change going from
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the majority to the minority? >> guest: well, i kept coming up one vote shy on things i wanted to get done. [laughter] no, actually, so all the votes like i said before were 3-0, and mike deserves a lot of credit, and jonathan adelstein as well, the other democratic commissioner at the time. as you can see from our dialogue here, we disagree philosophically a hot. but, a, we have a terrific personal relationship as with jonathan as well, and we all three believed in the process and making it more open and transparent. i think we were also very focused on the digital tv transition. that was the biggest thing the fcc had ever done, had undertaken, it affected tens of millions of consumers across the country in all 50 states and was absolutely necessary as we tried to auction off pieces of those airwaves for mobiling broadband use. so, but -- so that was, that collaborative atmosphere was something mike and i and
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jonathan all made a point of emphasizing, of also making sure that the commission staff who were very instrumental in going out across the country to help educate consumers on what they needed to do to adjust the digital tv transition. that was a great moment for them. i think morale improved as a result. but we had, did have the advantage of being focused by this very big project that was hugely a bipartisan piece of legislation coming out of congress in 2006, and that helped, helps make it more bipartisan, i think. >> so, you know, looking at the kinds of companies and industries that have been making overtures to the trump transition staff in recent days, you know, there are a lot of organizations and groups that clearly benefit from a trump administration. but, you know, there's -- depending on how that administration shapes up, it certainly seems as though certain groups could benefit over others. in your view, you know, which groups or industries stand to benefit the most?
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>> guest: you know, in fcc world i don't think there's any way to tell. you have a lot of constituent is is that battle against each other, let's say cable versus broadcasters or wireless versus broadcasters or cable or, you know, so there are a lot of industry groups that are regulated by the fcc and certainly the edge providers have been more, increasingly in the mix with fcc policy. >> but certainly, if net neutrality gets rolled back, then that would be a defeat for the edge providers. >> guest: yeah. unless -- i think everyone will benefit from what are the rules of the road. overall, the equity markets have soared since the trump election in part because the general, broad brush strokes of policy that we think we know, lower taxation, overall less regulation, and that can be good for everybody. if you have a growing economy, markets are predictive. so wall street is betting on the future growth of the american economy. if we increase the velocity of money flowing to the economy and
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actually have real growth rather than 1.5-2%, you know, this has been the weakest recovery since world war ii, if we can increase that at all, all those companies whether it's the edge or network operatorses or mom and pop manufacturers, retailers, they're all going to benefit if that rising tide is allowed to rise. i don't sense -- i haven't seen any clues of one constituency or one type of group being favored over another. not yet. >> guest: i don't see how you can look at the history of the communications industry over the last 20 years and not conclude that big media and big telecommunications have benefited enormously. look what has happened to the number of companies, look what's happened to the consolidation, look what's happened to the no knowledge anyization of programming -- homogenization of programming. and this isn't just under republican administrations and republican commissions, it's been under democratic commissions too that has blessed
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so many of these mergers and changed the marketplace to the point where very few companies control, i think it's just a handful of companies that are now responsible for 75% of the page hits on the internet. that's not the open, vibrant, innovative internet that i thought we were going to get or that the country deserves to have. >> how has the election shifted the way that historians may view the wheeler chairmanship? >> guest: well, that's an interesting question. i mean, how does the election change the way historians are going to look at the obama presidency? what's going to happen to obamacare? what's going to happen to the many initiatives that he took? depends what happens going forward, and i think the same happens here. i think the decision that chairman wheeler took and the majority on net neutrality was historic. i think by itself standing there if it, if it perseveres, it will go down in history as one of the biggest decisions the commission ever made.
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but if perchance it would be sidelined or eliminated and we'd go back to the kind of consolidated programs we had before, then it'll just be creped of a footnote -- kind of a footnote in history. yeah, in this changed for a while, but then it was reversed. it's not the way government's supposed to work. one come in and get rid of the other -- it's not ping-pong or back and forth. it's getting stuff settled and then trying to anticipate the issues of the future and do something about them that benefits the public interest. a term which appears 113 times in the communications act. >> host: robert mcdowell, if you were the incoming chair of the fcc, would you dismantle net neutrality, and how would you go about it if you did? >> guest: first of all, i think title ii on broadband access, i argued gwen that many times as a -- against that many times as a commissioner. that was clinton-gore, unanimous
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bipartisan consensus at that time really into the bush administration. and something happened around 2007, 2008 when it became more democratic party orthodoxy to have a net neutrality regulation and specifically, ultimately, title ii or this telecommunications or old style telephone regulation of the internet which is a complete hi different animal. so that's why a couple of years ago referring to the senate in particular was looking at compromise legislation to say what can we do to protect legislation in the edge and also in the core and the network operators. what we're seeing, by the way, is a lot of convergence, a lot of over the top players that have 1s and 0s delivered to consumers. the same could be said of at&t or comcast, verizon, etc. so as consumers demand convergence and as the market is pushing it meaning different businesses are getting into different businesses lines, it's
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hard for government to draw those lines of distinct. so this is becoming problematic. maybe congress needs to legislate anew, and i think that's where congress was, at least in the senate commerce committee, about two years ago. so now's a terrific opportunity to do just that to where you can have a one-win situation -- a win-win situation, stop having different business groups at each other's throats, and you can enshrined in law, in a statute rules of the road that make sense for everybody, and you don't have to worry about this every 2-4, 8 years of some regulatory win. the obama fcc threw out a lot of the bush fcc rules, so we can kind of go back and forth each time the white house changes hands in terms of what happens at the administrative agencies, not just the fcc, but epa, food and drug administration, etc. happens all over town. but if you can actually -- i think this is the moment, these next few month, especially 2017,
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this is the moment if you're going to repeal title ii, what do you do to bring certainty. each side has an incentive to come to the table because they know the rules could change every four years, so let's enshrine it, let's all agree and move on. >> host: commissioner -- >> guest: i think what jump-started this debate was not democrats pushing for something new. what started this debate was 2002 and 2005 when the republican commission said, oh, the internet? no, that's not telecommunications -- [inaudible conversations] >> guest: you voted for cable modem -- >> guest: i did not vote for cable modem. i dissented as vigorously as i possibly could -- [inaudible conversations] >> guest: that wasn't 2005. and i was very different because the courts -- [inaudible] >> guest: well, that may be, but i'm telling you why that vote occurred in 2005, because the courts had spoken. chairman martin and others on the commission wanted to -- it
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was really in doubt and that vote, what was going to happen to universal service. what was going to happen to emergency communications. what was going to happen to disabled americans. and i worked, court having spoken, it looked like we had lost to make sure some of that stuff was in there. and in 2005 we got the statement in internet principles. you're entitled to access the content of your choice. the applications of your choice, the devices of your choice -- [inaudible] >> guest: so that's, that's what happened there. but this was the seminal mistake of the 2000 period, was to categorize that. and i warned what happened -- you go back and look at my statement what's going to happen as a result of this reclassification. >> one more question on sort of the future of federal agencies writ large here, you know? the 9th circuit issued a decision recently governing the federal trade commission's common carrier exemption which
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effectively, you know, some people said effectively gets many companies out of being regulated entirely based on whether or not they have any, you know, assets that could be considered telecommunications assets. you know, in a trump administration, does the fcc drop its attempt to get a rehearing on that -- >> guest: does who drop? >> guest: does the federal trade commission attempt to p drop to get a rehearing? >> guest: we don't know. i think the takeaway from this program is we just don't know what's going to happen. but that was a good illustration of unintended consequences. one of the things i warned against when with i was a commissioner is if you classify be broadband internet access, you take away jurisdiction and consumer protection in antitrust protection under something called the common carrier exemption. you're saying broadband providers are now common carriers just like a monopoly phone company from 1934 so,
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therefore, the power of the ftc, which is an enforcement agency and act pretty swiftly, is now taken away. so this now starts to cross wires, no pun intended, in terms of who's in charge of what. it's now spilled over into privacy causing a lot of consumer confusion with different standards by the fcc versus the federal trade commission, so that's part of the confusion and the meds caused by the title ii classification. what can you do to remove that confusion while still protecting entrepreneurs at the edge and lawmaker concern. >> host: gentlemen, what do we know about the people advising donald trump on technology and communications issues? >> guest: so, jeffize knock has been advising him, jeff's a personal friend of mine, so i know him well. tends to be libertarian in his outlook. was just on your percentage i think, about a month ago.
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we could probably roll some tape as to away hi said then. but transitions are interesting, i worked on the outside helping to the advise the bush administration, and come january 21st, to your point, a lot of the paperwork done, the briefing papers and the personnel recommendations are then kind of forgotten because -- not to diminish their work, but you get to the interim chairs and the white house personnel office, and you actually get an official policy apparatus and an official personnel apparatus x that then becomes the focus of people's attention and sometimes newfound affection here in washington. so there'll be a lot of attention for the next 60 or whatever days on the transition team and then, poof, january 21st, it's going to be focused on somebody else. >> guest: i think it's here today, gone tomorrow who's advising today, and it may change between now and the time this program airs. i want to add one thought because i know rob puts a lot of
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faith in the ftc and its enforcement ability, but let's always remember that, you know, ftc proceedings are usually ex post facto, they're usually on an individual case. it's not setting the rules of the field ahead of time so that people can really understand them. and like you say, there's a different standard, but i like the fcc public interest standard, and the ftc does not have that. >> could considers be held if congress does not act? >> guest: well, i think consumers have every opportunity to be hurt here depending pop how this plays -- upon how this plays out. if that communications exemption would be changed or if the fcc would just take itself out of the business of doing the regulatory oversight it does and the ftc doesn't do a smash-bang follow up, then consumers will be hurt. i'm not saying we have the perfect arrangement and can there be changes as between fcc and ftc. yes, there can.
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but to me, it is not either/or. it's they each have a piece -- >> guest: well, you can't have two agencies, so it's one or the other. ftc an older agency, can act swiftly, works great for the entire rest of the economy except for common carriage. if you think about the tech sector, lumber, you know, all the rest, the consumer protection bureau of the federal trade commission does a terrific job for the entire rest of the united states economy. so have faith in it. >> host: final question, what worries you the most? what are you most excited about? >> guest: what worries me the most is we are going to roll back a lot of the historic decisions that have been made, and on a par with that, if we're just going to continue down the same road of politics as usual without realizing the enormous challenges we have and some of the things we talked about earlier in the future of the
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internet, news and journalism in a democratic and society and all the rest. we cannot allow those problems just to hang out there and just pay an occasional bow to them and just do business as usual, business as usual will not do for business in the 21st century and certainly not for the american people in the 21st century. >> guest: so i think we are due for a robust economic expansion if, indeed, we can reform the tax codes so that america's tax rates aren't the highest in the world, we can see the repatriation of hundreds of billions of dollars from overseas to come back here that'll be either invested in cap-x or paid out in dividends, either way, it'll help grow the economy. if that can be done, for starters, i think that's probably what wall street has been reacting to for the past week. you'll start to see the inflow of capital in this country like we haven't seen before. if we can get reform of the financial services sector that protects consumers but also
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doesn't drive capital offshore which it has for the past eight years, bring it back onshore to america, i think that'll be good. that's going to drive innovation, investment throughout all sectors. but, you know, the tech sector, you know, i just came back from the bay area so it's fresh in my mind, but this is the crown jewel of the american economy. and i think it's ready for a whole other renaissance right in the middle of this current renaissance. there's so much going on out there, and america's leading the way, and i think we have some wonderful golden days ahead of us. >> host: michael mcdowell -- robert mcdowell, michael copps and brian fung, thank you all. >> guest: thank you. >> guest: thank you. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979, c pan was created -- c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies and is
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brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> now, historians and human rights advocates discuss the history of the israeli/palestinian conflict, the treatment of palestinian children and military operations in the gaza strip. this is two hours and 5 -- 15 minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> good afternoon, everybody. i hope you enjoyed the lunch. this is the best we can to under the circumstances. we'd love to offer you -- [inaudible] [laughter] the caterer objected. but next time maybe. hurt.


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