Latest Public Policy News


Donald Trump’s Proposed 2018 Budget Would Ax NEA & Public Broadcasting

President Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 federal budget released today would cut federal spending by $4.5 trillion over the next 10 years and do so by drastically slashing or eliminating social programs like Medicaid and food stamps, student aid and Planned Parenthood. It also proposes scrapping the National Endowment for the Arts and eventually the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps fund PBS and National Public Radio. The plan for FY 2018, which begins… Read


FCC Kicks Off Effort To Roll Back Net Neutrality Rules

It’s game on in the fight over net neutrality. In a 2-to-1 vote along party lines today, the FCC authorized a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to undo the 2015 decision to enforce open internet rules under Title II of the Communications Act. That empowers the agency to regulate the medium as a common carrier similar to phones. The FCC will seek public comment for 90 days — up to August 16 — and could vote on the matter as early as October. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made it clear… Read


Hollywood Urges Congress To Stand Up To Donald Trump And Fund NEA, NEH & CPB

Hollywood responded en masse today to President Trump's threat to eliminate federal funding of the arts and humanities. In a letter sent to Congress, the MPAA and numerous other groups – including a dozen entertainment industry unions – are urging lawmakers to stand up to Trump and fully fund the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The president's budget would eliminate the NEA's… Read


Brillstein Boss Among Former U.S. Attorneys Seeking Special Counsel In Russia Probe

James Comey

A group of 180 former U.S. Attorneys and Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of New York have sent a bipartisan letter to Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein asking that the Department Of Justice appoint a special counsel “to oversee the FBI’s continuing investigation of Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential election and related matters.” The signees include Jon Liebman, the chairman and CEO of Brillstein Entertainment Partners. The… Read


FCC Insists John Oliver Net Neutrality Call-To-Action Did Not Crash Comments Section

John Oliver ‘s call-to-action to viewers to post comments on the Federal Communications Commission’s public comments system is not the reason that comments section got hinky for hours after his HBO program telecast late Sunday night. During his Sunday telecast, Oliver told viewers, “Sadly, it seems once more we the people must take this matter into our own hands." The FCC is, once again, mulling the mowing under of net neutrality. The FCC has, as it did three years… Read


WGA “Appalled” Over FCC Review Of Stephen Colbert’s Crude Trump Tirade

With a strike averted at the last minute last week, the WGA today struck up a defense of Stephen Colbert against the FCC's so-called investigation of last week’s scathing and lewd late-night monologue against President Donald Trump. "As presidents of the Writers Guilds of America, East and West, we were appalled to read recent remarks by Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai,” said WGA East boss Michael Winship and WGA West chief Howard Rodman this morning. “He… Read


NEA & Public Broadcasting Safe In House’s Budget Bill For Fiscal 2017

The House Appropriations Committee’s fiscal year 2017 omnibus appropriations bill includes increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, as well as continued funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. All three had been eyed for elimination in earlier Donald Trump administration budget plans, potential moves that met with stern resistance among Democrats and Hollywood’s creative community. The new package was hammered out late Sunday… Read


FCC Prepares For Flood Of Comments As It Posts Net Neutrality Reversal Plan

The FTC would play a bigger role in overseeing internet practices, and the FCC a smaller one, in FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to scrap his agency’s net neutrality enforcement rules — a plan it posted today. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, on the agenda for the May 18 meeting, is designed to elicit public comment about how much — or, perhaps, how little — the FCC should do to ensure that internet service providers treat all content providers equally. Among other things… Read


FCC Chairman Vows To Reverse Open Internet Rules, Enhance Investment

UPDATE with more reactions: The war over net neutrality is on. FCC chairman Ajit Pai today laid out his plan to reverse the agency’s 2015 open Internet rules designed to guarantee that service providers treat everyone’s content equally. At the agency’s May 18 meeting he will introduce a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would change the decision to regulate the Internet as a common-carrier service similar to phones under Title II of the Communications Act. The change… Read


FCC Chairman Will Introduce Review Of Media Regulations At May Meeting

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai pleased broadcasters today by vowing to “get unnecessary rules out of the way” — including with a new “comprehensive review” of his agency’s media regulations  that he’ll propose at its May 18 meeting. Regulators will “explore whether certain rules should be modified to provide regulatory relief to small businesses,” he said today in an address at the National Association of Broadcasters’ annual confab in Las Vegas. Broadcast rules will be “a… Read


Sinclair Agrees To Buy Bonten Media After FCC Eases TV Station Mergers

Sinclair Broadcast Group was poised to act yesterday after the FCC cleared the way for some TV station mergers by restoring the so-called UHF discount. The broadcaster announced this morning a two-part deal valued at $240.0 million. Sinclair picked up Bonten Media Group Holdings, which owns 14 television stations in 8 markets. In addition, Cunningham Broadcasting — controlled by trusts for the children of Sinclair founder Julian Smith — will pick up the membership… Read


FCC Revives Rule That Could Make It Easier For TV Station Groups To Merge

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made good today on his vow to reinstate a rule that makes it easier for big TV station owners to grow bigger. In a 2-to-1 party line vote, the regulatory agency revived the so-called UHF discount. It enables station owners to just count half of the viewers reached by UHF stations in the calculation to determine when they hit the ceiling that limits them to reaching 39% of all households. In August, the FCC, under former Chairman Tom Wheeler, voted to… Read