Talking TV: The Politics Of O’Rielly’s FCC Firing

Michael Depp and Harry Jessell unpack the abrupt withdrawal of FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly’s renomination by President Trump this week and discuss the pandemic’s reckoning on broadcasters’ quarterly earnings.

FCC Drops Its Tower Access Rule

The FCC yesterday acted to resolve the proceeding begun a year ago to eliminate the rule that prevented an FM or TV broadcaster from denying space to a competing broadcaster on a broadcast tower that it controls. As expected, that rule was eliminated by an order to become effective when it is published in the Federal Register.

COMMENTARY

Trump’s FCC Move Is A 1st Amendment Assault

Washington Post editorial: The president’s withdrawal of FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly’s renomination is a message to him, his fellow FCC commissioners and appointees across agencies of what happens when they dare to put the rule of law first, just as the president wants Twitter, and Facebook, and all influential companies on the Internet or off to know how carefully they must tread with him in charge. This is a flagrant assault on the First Amendment under the guise of defending it, and an assault on those who seek to defend the right of free expression.

BRAND CONNECTIONS

WSJ: Mike O’Rielly’s Free Speech Fall

Michael O’Rielly has done yeoman work as a member of the Federal Communications
Commission, but this week the White House abruptly pulled his renomination for another
five-year term. The decision speaks better of Mr. O’Rielly than of the president.

Judge Judy, CBS Socked With $5M Suit

Less than six months after CBS and Rebel Entertainment Partners settled their long running legal battle over big bucks in missed contractually obliged payments from the two decade and more running show, a new lawsuit is in the docket. Rebel is now suing the former Manhattan family court judge Judy Sheindlin and the ViacomCBS division for more than $5 million over a seemingly sleight of hand $95 million sale of the show’s rich library.

Biden’s FCC: Take A Number

Candidates crowd the field for would-be next agency head. Names floated as could-be FCC chair in a Biden administration include former acting chair Mignon Clyburn, top Comcast exec David Cohen and current commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

FTC Investigating Twitter Over Privacy

The social media company says the agency was examining whether it had misused people’s personal information to serve ads.

CBS Shareholders Seek Class Certification

CBS shareholders are asking a New York federal judge to certify class action in a securities fraud lawsuit that claims ousted CEO Les Moonves misled investors through statements he made about the #MeToo movement before the misconduct allegations against him became public.

STATION ADVISORY

FCC Releases C-Band Relocation Cost Schedule

The FCC took another significant step in the C-Band reallocation process, releasing its final cost category schedule for relocation expenses of C-Band (3.7-4.2 GHz) satellite licensees. The Public Notice accompanying the cost schedule also established Aug. 31 as the deadline for C-Band earth station licensees to elect whether they wish to receive a lump sum reallocation payment.

FCC Seeks Comments On Trump Social Petition

The FCC has put out for public comment the Trump Administration’s request that it come up with a regime for regulating social media and other website content to prevent what the president claims is anti-conservative bias.

‘Goldbergs’ Star Accused Of Sexual Assault

Comic Bryan Callen is being accused of sexual impropriety by four women.

FCC Approves Amazon’s Kuiper Project

Amazon has received authorization from the FCC to proceed with Project Kuiper, its initiative to launch a fleet of low-orbiting satellites that would be used to provide broadband internet access to underserved communities in the U.S. With the commission’s green light, Amazon will now be able to begin the deployment of its 3,236 satellites.

The 5 Biggest Little Lies Tech CEOs Told Congress

No, Google, we’re not really in control of our data. And yes, Facebook, you profit from harmful information.

Tech Hearing Suggests Antitrust Crackdown Could Come Soon

Analysis: heated exchanges raise concern over anticompetitive behavior as chair warns of companies’ “monopoly power.”

Why The Tech Giants May Suffer Lasting Pain From Their Hill Lashing

Lawmakers investigating Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple made it clear that their allegations of antitrust abuses come with a lengthy paper trail.

Chrome Users Sue Google Over Alleged Tracking

House Batters Tech CEOs, Don’t Land Many Blows

Invective flew Wednesday as legislators questioned Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai of Google and Tim Cook of Apple at a hearing of the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust. For the last year, that panel has probed the business practices of the Silicon Valley giants with an eye to determining if they need to be regulated more heavily, or even broken up.

UPDATED, WEDNESDAY, 5:54 PM ET

4 Big Tech CEOs Get Grilled By Congress

The powerful executives sought to defend their companies amid intense grilling by lawmakers on Wednesday. The executives provided bursts of data showing how competitive their markets are, and the value of their innovation and essential services to consumers. But they sometimes struggled to answer pointed questions about their business practices. They also confronted a range of other concerns about alleged political bias, their effect on U.S. democracy and their role in China.

Sen. Inhofe Puts Hold On O’Rielly Nomination

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) has reportedly put a hold on the renomination of Republican FCC commissioner Michael O’Rielly over the senator’s opposition to the FCC’s decision to approve Ligado’s use of satellite spectrum for terrestrial broadband.

Spotlight On 4 Big Tech CEOs Testifying Wed.

On Wednesday, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook of Apple will answer for their companies’ practices before Congress for the first time as a group. Summoned for a House hearing, they’ll raise a hand (remotely) and swear to tell the truth, in the manner of tycoons of Wall Street or the tobacco industry in earlier high-octane televised shamings.

August 2020 Regulatory Dates For Broadcasters

While we are approaching the end of summer in this most unusual year, the regulatory dates keep coming, though perhaps a bit slower than at other times of the year.  One of the big dates that broadcasters should be looking for is the announcement of the annual regulatory fees that will likely be paid sometime in September.

Fired ‘Simpsons’ Composer Alf Clausen Sues Disney, Fox

Congress Delays Tech Antitrust Hearing

Congress will have to wait a little longer to grill Mark Zuckerberg and other top tech CEOs about their companies’ apparent market dominance. Originally scheduled for Monday, the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee has decided to postpone the hearing so that members of Congress can recognize the memory of Rep. John Lewis who is lying in state at the U.S. Capitol from Monday through Wednesday.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Portland Judge’s Stirring Support Of Free Press

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Simon issued an order last Thursday barring federal officers — for at least 14 days, to allow for further legal action — from requiring journalists and legal observers to “disperse”; from threatening or targeting them violently; or from forcing them to move to remote locations, even when officers are justified in ordering demonstrators to leave a particular area or using force.

SPJ: Judge’s Order For Media To Turn Over Protest Images ‘A Dangerous Overreach’

Court Orders 4th Sentencing For Amy Locane In 2010 Fatal Crash

A former “Melrose Place” actress who has already served a sentence for a fatal drunken driving crash could go back to prison. The complicated legal history of the case against Amy Locane includes three sentences imposed by two judges, as well as numerous appeals. It stems from a crash in March 2010 that killed Helene […]

Holes Emerge In Cathy Areu’s Lawsuit Against Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity

O’Rielly Nomination Advances To Full Senate

The nomination of Republican FCC commissioner Michael O’Rielly for a new, five-year, term on the FCC has been favorably reported out of the Senate Commerce Committee and now moves to the full Senate for a vote.

Group Seeks Federal Protection For Journalists

The News Media for Open Government Coalition is renewing its call for passage of a bill to protect journalists. The Journalist Protection Act, which was introduced in a previous Congress, would “make it a federal crime to intentionally cause bodily injury or threaten a journalist in a manner designed to intimidate him or her from gathering or reporting the news.”

Iowa Prosecutor: No Time For Evidence Against Arrested Reporter

Brad Kinkade, an assistant Polk County attorney, told Judge Christopher Kemp that because Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri had only been charged with misdemeanors, the case was considered a low-priority and wasn’t worth the time needed to provide evidence the defense has requested.