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HUNDT E-MAIL TELLS FCC MEMBERS TO PLUG LEAKS

A mini-brouhaha has erupted at the FCC, with chairman Reed Hundt all but accusing commissioner James Quello of leaking information to the media to unfairly influence the outcome of agency decisions.

Hundt, in a May 15 E-mail to the four other FCC members, urged commissioners to settle the Fox foreign ownership case “in a manner that discourages more disparaging comments in the media against the agency’s process.”

The FCC recently completed its controversial investigation of Fox by finding that the weblet’s TV stations are illegally foreign-owned. But the agency said Fox could escape penalty on grounds the stations served the public interest. Outcome of the Fox case was viewed as a win for Quello, who loudly protested against the Hundt-led probe of Fox.

Hundt said he was making his request despite a belief that one commissioner – who Hundt did not name – may not cooperate.

“My own view is that the old regime at the FCC is accurately represented by this commissioner’s approach but that it is time for a change,” wrote Hundt.

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