FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell announced at the FCC's public meeting Wednesday (March 20) that he will be exiting the commission.
McDowell is the longest-serving current commissioner, having joined the commission in 2006 to fill the unexpired term of chairman Michael Powell. His first term ended June 1, 2009, but he was renominated by President Obama and confirmed for a new, five-year term.
Obama may have sent him back, but McDowell was the most vocal voice for free markets and media at an increasingly hidebound FCC. He fought hard against new regulations that would have promoted "localism," an Orwellian term that refers to the government forcing programming onto broadcasters. And he was a key voice in opposing net neutrality. Here he is in the Wall Street Journal back in 2010:
Nothing is broken that needs fixing, however. The Internet has been open and freedom-enhancing since it was spun off from a government research project in the early 1990s. Its nature as a diffuse and dynamic global network of networks defies top-down authority.
Exactly. And as though you had to ask, McDowell was a strong opponent of the Fairness Doctrine; in fact, he got it removed permanently after pointing out that it was still lurking in the Code of Federal Regulations in 2011.
As is custom, top Senate Republicans get to name McDowell's replacement.