Latest in Gear

Image credit: Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein

FCC investigator says Pai didn't give Sinclair preferential treatment

It's reportedly consistent with his past behavior.
179 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Reuters/Aaron P. Bernstein

More than a few people thought FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was acting suspiciously ahead of the failed Sinclair-Tribune merger. The regulator's Office of the Inspector General, however, would beg to differ. The watchdog has published a report determining that Pai hadn't shown "favoritism" or other forms of shady dealing in his decisions around the abandoned takeover. Pai's choices, such as relaxing media ownership limitations, were "consistent" with his public statements, according to the report. Moreover, Pai's punishments for Sinclair (including a $13.3 million fine and the decision to kill the merger) suggested to the Inspector General that the Chairman was being fair.

You can imagine how various sides have responded to the findings. Pai, to no one's surprise, claimed that the allegations of bias toward a company were "absurd" and insisted that Democrats made "entirely baseless" accusations. The Democrats' Ranking Member Frank Pallone, meanwhile, shot back by noting that it required a full-fledged inquiry to get answers, and that this didn't include Pai's personal communications (beyond the Inspector General's reach) or talks with the White House (which are coming in an additional evidence search). "It should not take an IG investigation to get answers to basic questions regarding independence and integrity," Pallone said.

The determination may avoid legal trouble for Pai, but it likely won't appease critics. It still remains true that Pai met with Sinclair's chairman mere days before being named to the FCC's top spot, and was asked to lighten restrictions on media consolidations. His claim that he hasn't "favored any one company" doesn't hold much water given his close connection to Verizon, for that matter. And while his actions were consistent with his existing deregulatory stance, that by itself isn't definitive proof he was above board -- just that he didn't contradict himself.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
179 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Scoot makes its new single-seat mopeds available in Los Angeles

Scoot makes its new single-seat mopeds available in Los Angeles

View
Facebook's version of political neutrality isn't neutral

Facebook's version of political neutrality isn't neutral

View
Firefox update adds detailed tracking reports and password tools

Firefox update adds detailed tracking reports and password tools

View
AT&T offers the LG G8X with a 'free' Dual Screen case (updated)

AT&T offers the LG G8X with a 'free' Dual Screen case (updated)

View
A machine-learning system may have predicted the World Series winner

A machine-learning system may have predicted the World Series winner

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr