The national nanny

The national nanny

: Tom Shales gives our national nanny, Michael Powell, a well-deserved critical lashing in tomorrow’s Washington Post. Tidbits:

Oops. They got rid of the wrong Powell. The father unfortunately is going, but the son, even more unfortunately, remains behind…..

Staying in office, however, and capable of wreaking havoc in American broadcasting until 2007, is Colin’s son Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and definitely not a force for good in America.

Pompous and imperious, an ideologue who believes unfailingly in his own philosophy of how TV and radio should work (the FCC also has domain over telephone and emerging broadband technologies), Powell ignores or condemns anyone who opposes him. Though FCC chairmen have labored mostly in obscurity, Powell has managed to make himself famous; he’s the Torquemada of the insane campaign now being waged against “obscenity” on the airwaves….

In fairness to Powell, the commission’s two Democratic members, Michael J. Copps and Jonathan S. Adelstein, have been among those pushing for not only fines but license revocations when stations violate the still-vague obscenity rules. They are idiots….

We stand at the top of a dangerously slippery slope. When you start leveling fines for uttering certain words, the list of the verboten is bound to grow. We could be facing four years of even more paranoia than usual about Big Brother, much of it justified….

Powell belongs at the bottom of the barrel [of FCC chairmen] with the lowliest of the bunch. He is an agenda masquerading as a man, the proverbial pompous ass and, worse, a genuine threat to freedom of speech.

Shales also passes on our little FCC scoop (and says something nice about a former TV critic).