In the latest twist on network neutrality, Title II, and the FCC, unconfirmed rumors say that we could be about to get a new FCC Chairman. John Oliver, the host of the popular weekly HBO news show who famously shifted the network neutrality debate and generated vast numbers of comment filings in support of network neutrality last summer, is said to be in line for the job.
"The FCC's work has been so dry lately, that the President thought it would be good to inject some humor into the regulatory process," said one source. Since the main job of an FCC Chairman is to dither and do nothing until a US President decides to make a move, it seemed logical to give it to the English. Giving it to an English comedian is even better, since he'll be more fun to watch and a heck of a lot easier for the media to quote.
As for the industry response, it has been muted. "We've already got Title II in place, how much worse can it get? At least he'll have less scope to do damage as FCC chairman than he could where he is now," said one person who said he was a CEO. "Besides, he helped break it, so now let's see him fix it," said another.
Analysts say his confirmation hearings should be easy, since the senators who might object really, really don't want to be featured on Last Week, Tonight, nor do they want him to go on a screed about filibusters. As for qualifications, how hard can it be to call for comments over and over again, and then let other people summarize and reframe them for you while you wait for the political cover to do what you were going to do anyway?
The only remaining stumbling block is getting Mr. Oliver to say yes. After all, it's hard to say no to a President when he calls and asks you to serve -- except when he's asking you to take a pay cut and spend the next several years talking to telecom lawyers and public policy analysts, all of whom are trying to manipulate you and none of whom are particularly good at taking a good joke, and then get fired by the next President.
And if it took you this long to wonder if it's April Fools Day, go find some caffeine.
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