The Daily Stern

The Daily Stern

: MORE CROCK FROM THE COMMISSIONER: Michael Powell starts “blogging” at Always On but it’s laughable on so many levels.

Always On is no more a blog than Michael Powell is a blogger. It’s a paper that can’t afford paper and Powell is writing op-eds that no paper would apparently take. It’s just the self-justifying blatherings of a failed, lame-duck bureacrat.

And it’s badly written. How’s this for a lead: “Traditionally, the economic justification for government regulation of an industry was market failure such as monopoly, negative externalities, or unmet social goals.” Negative externalities? Sounds like a zit to me.

But more than anything, it’s just bullshit. Here’s Powell the one-time deregulator still trying to sing out of the deregulation hymnbook still even while he has converted to another church. Ernie Miller neatly takes him apart on technology and deregulation. And, of course, Powell has long since given up defending the deregulation that matters most in America: keeping government out of regulating what its citizens can and can’t say.

If Powell stood on principle, if he truly were the deregulator he tries to look like in his apparently valedictory self-portrait, he would have stood against regulation in media ownership and in technology and in speech. But he didn’t. He was as hypocritical as he was politically inept. And, wow, Always On has him. Lucky them.

: SAY THE F WORD AND PLAY FCC ROULETTE: Ernie Miller also alerts us to Broadcasting & Cable coverage of a speech by the FCC enforcement chief who first ruled that Bono’s F word was OK and who was overruled by the FCC and who now tries to argue that the F word isn’t really outlawed. Go ahead. Say it on the air. He dares you.

  • a reader

    For what it’s worth, “negative externalities” is a real term. In economics it refers to people who push their costs upon their neighbors, like litterbugs or other polluters.
    Such people rarely mention the greater non-market failures of government action, however.
    For television, so long as broadcast spectrum is seen as a scarce public resource under political control, then it will be subject to tug-of-war between political interests. Deal with it. Cable helped, but local monopolies were still granted by payoffs to local politicians. Satellite helps more, and internet will break it further. The danger is if entrenched broadcasters lobby to senselessly expand their politicized restrictions upon other distribution channels.

  • Negative externalities? Sounds like a zit to me.
    Actually Jeff, ‘negative externality’ is a commonly used term in economics. It is usually used to describe the social cost of an unregulated market. Coal power plants that create a public health hazzard as part of their operation are a good example.
    I’m not defending Powell at all, but you should criticize his grammar and not his terminology.

  • Some Guy

    Uh, just because you are uneducated, Jeff, doesn’t mean the term doesn’t mean anything. Seriously, Powell (or the aide who wrote the material) is light years beyond your abilities. Your recent posts aren’t deep or intelligent. They’re sad. The only reason you haven’t been really pounced on thus far is because it is sort of like using a baseball bat on a slow kid, it’s neither challenging nor rewarding in the end.
    Really. You should stick to writing about silly parties or fashion, and leave the thinking about grown-up topics to others.

  • why are the anonymous commentors always the most cowardly?

  • Ashby

    In case anyone wants to understand rather than mocking “negative externalities”:

  • Ashby

    Oops. Looks like someone else googled up the same link.
    As amends, I’ll post more. :-)
    In a nutshell, a negative externality is a cost that is not paid by the consumer of a good. Powell is correct that this is one of the traditional incentives for government regulation.

  • fiddlesticks

    While you’re ranting about his prose, others are commenting to him. And you bet he’s reading them this morning.

  • This Guy

    I don’t know, Tony. Why do the dumbest among us always think people are interested in their unbelievably bad poetry?