Two Senate Democrats — Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut (l) and Ron Wyden (Ore.) — and a coalition of digital rights groups are hoping to derail the confirmation of telecom lawyer Nathan Simington to the FCC, arguing that his appointment during the lame-duck session would hamper President-Elect Joe Biden’s policy agenda.
Lawmakers are concerned that advances in video manipulation technology could set off a new era of fake news. Now legislators say they want to start working on fixes to the problem before it’s too late. Technology experts have begun to sound the alarm on the new software, which lets users take existing videos and make high-quality altered video and audio that appears real. The emergence of the technology opens up a new world of hoaxes driven by doctored audio or video, and threatens to shake faith in the media even further.
The fate of the advertising tax deduction on the Senate side now rests with Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who was officially confirmed by the Senate as chairman of the powerful finance committee on Thursday. Wyden succeeds Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who was confirmed last week as ambassador to China. Before his appointment, Baucus had proposed a tax reform package draft that included a limit on the advertising tax deduction by half in the first year, with the rest amortized over the next five years. It’s hard to predict how Wyden will respond as chairman.