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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Monday, October 24, 2016

Today’s FCC: Sex, Porn and Power Grabs

If Only They’d Worked for the FCC
by Seton Motley, Contributing Author: Yes, you read that correctly. The hypocrisies and the broader metaphors are opulent.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an outmoded, outdated federal agency. Like many, many of its cohorts – it has long outlived its usefulness. It no longer has any unique reason for its continued existence – nothing that couldn’t be handed off to any other of the thousands of government agencies.

Which is why it spends much of its time issuing unilateral regulatory fiats – to power grab things for it to do. Idle bureaucrat hands are the Devil’s playground.

Originally birthed in 1927 as the Federal Radio Commission, it served a couple of minor, pedestrian purposes. Mostly, initially, to ensure radio signals didn’t interfere with one another.

But this is DC. And in DC, mission creep is inexorable. Every agency looking – through Congressional legislation, or unilateral fiat – to ever-expand its portfolio. Which brings us to the FCC’s sex, porn and power grabs.

One of the things the FCC does now is punish television and radio broadcasters for obscene, indecent and profane broadcasts. Perhaps the most famous instance was the 2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. During which singer Justin Timberlake exposed singer Janet Jackson’s breast.

The FCC levied a $550,000 fine on the “offending” network – CBS. CBS contested the fine all the way to the Supreme Court. The Court ruled in the FCC’s favor – but CBS appealed, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals dumped the fine. The FCC tried to reinstate, but the courts refused them.

That’s a lot of FCC earnestness to impose a huge indecency fine – on a broadcaster that may or may not have had any idea what these two performers were planning. When the indecency is on the part of the FCC? Not so much with the earnestness.

We know all of the following because thirty-plus-year FCC employee Sharon K. Stewart has filed a lawsuit against her employer. In which she describes the FCC as what appears to be a veritable den of indecency. About all of which the FCC did nothing – except fight vociferously against Stewart in court.

For starters, there’s Thomas Reed. He’s the FCC’s director of the Office for Communications Business Opportunities (OCBD). Stewart claims that in 2013 Reed had sex in his FCC office with then-Washington Post reporter Lonnae O’Neal Parker.

See, when we say the media is in bed with Democrats – we usually mean metaphorically. And Director Reed and his reporter friend couldn’t even wait for a bed, apparently.

Was Reed fired? Fined? Disciplined in any way? Of course not. This is government, after all. He’s still pulling in his $158,700 salary. CBS should have asked for the employee discount.

And, separately, Stewart claims that the man in the cubicle next to hers was incessantly watching pornography at his desk on his government computer. She would “hear groans – mmm, mmm, ahh – in response to the pornography viewings.” He had another employee “stand guard looking for her.”

When this guy found particular passages he liked – which was apparently often – he would invite other male coworkers over to join in the watching. Which they did – with “vocal glee.” (In their defense, they were likely just trying to keep up with just about every other federal agency.)

Stewart’s problem? Well, another problem? The person to whom she was to report the government’s makeshift adult theatre – was sex-in-his-office-with-a-reporter Reed. Which Stewart dutifully did – shockingly, to no avail: “Reed failed to take action on her behalf and her male coworkers’ behavior escalated, (so) she reported the pornography issue to the agency’s Inspector General (IG).”

The IG did its duty: “(A) report to the agency’s commissioners describe the results of a ‘lengthy investigation’ into the misuse of FCC facilities to conduct personal business and view pornography. The report states that the investigation, ‘which included referrals of potential criminal activity to the Internal Revenue Service that were ultimately declined, revealed that four FCC employees violated various ethical and administrative rules, including the FCC’s Computer System Rules of Behavior, the FCC’s Cyber Security Policy, and the Standard of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, 5 CFR § 2635 et seq.’ Among other violations, the report noted there was ‘substantial evidence’ that the employees used FCC equipment to ‘view, store, and send pornographic material,’ and that the Inspector General had referred the case to ‘the appropriate Bureaus and Offices within the Commission for action.’”

The FCC – and the government en toto – again did…nothing. To anyone – on any of this. So Stewart was forced to file suit. And in its defense, the FCC cops to only the “mere existence of pornography in the workplace.” Well-employee-attended public showings in Stewart’s immediate proximity – is a mite more than just that.

Oh – the last, perhaps greatest irony? Stewart’s gig at the time of these incidents: “(In the) FCC’s Office for Communications Business Opportunities, (which) serves as the principal advisor to the Chairman and the Commissioners on issues, rulemakings, and policies affecting small, women, and minority-owned communications businesses. And (Stewart)…was working as a ‘Women’s Outreach Specialist’….”

Get that? The woman charged by the FCC with “Women’s Outreach” – was subjected to scads of pornography sessions right next to her desk convened and attended by scads of male employees. And, additionally, quite unorthodox media-relations-meetings in a highly-paid male FCC bureaucrat’s office.

About all of which the FCC and the broader government did…absolutely nothing. Even after the FCC IG recommended they do quite a bit. And the FCC is now downplaying and challenging her claims in court.

But don’t worry – we’re all sure the FCC will be much more above-board and accountable with the ever-expansive powers over the Internet it just unilaterally commandeered for itself. And the ever-expansive additional powers over Internet Service Providers (ISPs) it is currently prepping to grab. And….

I am quite sure the FCC won’t abuse anything or anyone. Aren’t you?

Let’s ask Sharon Stewart what she thinks.
----------------
Seton Motley is the President of Less Government and he contributes to ARRA News Service. Please feel free to follow him him on Twitter   /   Facebook.

Tags: Seton Motley, Less Government, FCC, Sex, Porn, Power Grabs To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
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