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May 3, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Nicholas Johnson

Former FCC Commissioner Nicholas Johnson, who in the late ’60s and early ’70s became perhaps the most controversial member ever to sit on the commission, has spoken out against President Obama’s choice of Tom Wheeler to replace Julius Genachowski as chairman of the FCC. Johnson, who warned — unheeded as it turned out — of the efforts of giant conglomerates to take over the broadcast networks, called the choice “bizarre,” noting that he has acted “as a trade association representative for companies appearing before the Commission, a lobbyist in Congress for other FCC customers, and a venture capitalist investing in and profiting from others whose requests he’ll have to pass on.” At the same time, he said, Wheeler “has no record, of which I am aware, of challenging corporate abuse of power on behalf of consumers and the poor.” Johnson further observed that the FCC has already demonstrated that it favors “the business community.” He added: “They don’t really need any additional help from Wheeler. Parents, children, the poor, rural residents, small business, minorities, women and consumers have not done so well. They do need help.” And in a closing barb he commented about Wheeler: “He’s not all bad. Rumor has it that he’s kindly toward small children and dogs. I’m just not sure that’s enough.”