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Daily Democracy

Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.

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November 7, 2007 1:11 PM

Kevin Martin's early days on the FCC

Posted by Ryan Blethen

Do not be fooled by Kevin Martin's boyish looks. Behind those little round bookish glasses is an intelligent political operator. That is the impression I got from a 2002 profile of the current chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. The article appeared in Cable World and was written by Alicia Mundy, who is now The Seattle Times Washington, D.C. correspondent.

Mundy shows how Martin operated on the commission before he was elevated to chairman. Martin increased his visibility and power by positioning himself as a swing vote that never really swung. A lobbyist who used to work at the FCC said as much.

Martin's being very strategic right now. He's not dissenting in ways the right wing can complain about. He is acting independently, but being careful not to be seen as an ideological threat to the GOP agenda.

The piece also veers into Martin's relationship with the White House. I wrote yesterday that media consolidation is not a partisan issue, but that this was something the administration was pushing. Former FCC commissioner, and Martin's one time boss, Harold Furchtgott-Roth said Martin is there for Bush.

There are few people in Washington with a greater claim to being a loyal soldier for President Bush than Kevin. He's always been there for President Bush at the commission.

Mundy's profile is well worth reading before Friday's FCC media ownership hearing at Town Hall.

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