In a not-so-subtle attempt at drumming up pro-network votes on finsyn at the Federal Communication Commission, White House Chief of Staff John Sununu said Feb. 15 that the Bush Administration supports deregulation – and that Bush appointees at the FCC should take note.

The extraordinary Sununu memo was written to Rep. Michael Oxley (R-Ohio) in a bid to clarify the White House view on what Sununu called “this important policy area.”

One network lobbyist said the Sununu letter is a “prod in the rear end” to FCC members Sherrie Marshall and Andrew Barrett, GOP appointees who are thought to be leaning to the Hollywood side on finsyn.

Sununu said Bush “has repeatedly stated his aversion to unnecessary government interference with private markets” and supports deregulation. Bush, said Sununu, is opposed to “regulatory … policies that favor or protect particular competitors at the expense of competition” – an apparent reference to finsyn restrictions placed on the webs.

Sununu said Bush “expects his appointees … to carry out these principles in their particular spheres, to the extent they can do so consistent with the legal framework enacted by the Congress.” Sununu went on to say the FCC should decide the finsyn issue “on the merits, to assure free and fair competition in this vital industry, and with full recognition of the generally high costs to consumers and to America’s competitiveness of government interference with competitive market processes.”

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