Coalition letter regarding FCC appointments

December 18, 2008

President-elect Obama:

We congratulate you for putting crucial media and technology issues in the public spotlight. Not only did your campaign embrace new technology and innovative media, you have embraced these values in your policy agenda. Your commitments and detailed plan represent a fundamental shift toward communications policy in the public interest. We happily offer our support and service in pursuit of our common goals.

We look forward to working with the leaders you will appoint to the White House, such as the Chief Technology Officer, the positions on the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission, Corporation of Public Broadcasting and in the Commerce, Education, Justice and Agriculture Departments. We urge you to select strong proponents of the public interest who will embrace and enact the policy proposals you made on the campaign trail to shape the future of the media, the Internet, the economy -- and our democracy.

Together, we have a unique opportunity to break with the past, lift the stranglehold industry lobbyists have had on communications policy, and put the public's priorities first. In your own words, you pledged:

Protect an Open Internet: To "take a backseat to no one in my commitment to Net Neutrality"1 and "protect the Internet's traditional openness to innovation and creativity and ensure that it remains a platform for free speech and innovation that will benefit consumers and our democracy."2

Promote Universal, Affordable Broadband: To see that "in the country that invented the Internet, every child should have the chance to get online"3 by bringing "true broadband to every community in America."4

Diversify Media Ownership: To create "the diverse media environment that federal law requires and the country deserves."5

Renew Public Media: To foster "the next generation of public media," and "support the transition of existing public broadcasting entities and help renew their founding vision in the digital world."6

Spurring Economic Growth: To "strengthen America's competitiveness in the world"7 and leverage technology "to grow the economy, create jobs, and solve our country's most pressing problems."8

Ensuring Open Government: To reverse "policies that favor the few against the public interest," close" the revolving door between government and industry," and achieve "a new level of transparency, accountability and participation for America's citizens."9

The more than one hundred people signed onto this letter -- and the millions more we represent in our organizations, workplaces and communities - join your call to create a more vibrant and diverse media system and to deliver the benefits of the open Internet and new technology to all Americans.


Organizations:Action Coalition for Media Education

Alliance for Community Media

American Federation of Musicians

American Library Association

Benton Foundation

Brave New Foundation

Campus Progress

Center for American Progress

Center for Creative Voices in Media

Center for Digital Democracy

Center for Economic and Policy Research

Center for New Words

Change Congress

Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP)

Chicago Media Action

Common Cause

Consumer Federation of America

Consumers Union


Democracy for America

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)

Entertainment Consumers Association

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

Feminist Majority

Free Press

Future of Music Coalition

Green for All

Harry Potter Alliance

Hip Hop Caucus

Hip Hop Congress


In These Times

League of Young Voters

Manhattan Neighborhood Network

Maui Community Television

Media Access Project

Media Alliance

Media Equity Collaborative

Media Matters for America

Mexican American Legal Defense & Educational


Mid-Atlantic Community Papers Association

Minnesota Immigrant Network

Mother Jones

National Association of Black Journalists

National Association of Hispanic Journalists

National Federation of Community Broadcasters

National Hispanic Media Coalition

National Organization for Women (NOW)

Native Public Media

Netroots Nation

New America Foundation

New Moon Girl Media


Participatory Culture Foundation

Participatory Politics Foundation

Personal Democracy Forum

Public Knowledge

R.E.A.C.Hip Hop Coalition for Media Justice

Reclaim The Media

RH Reality Check

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Sunlight Foundation

Tech President

United Church of Christ, Office of

Communication, Inc.

UNITY: Journalists of Color


Women In Media & News (WIMN)

Women's Information Network (WIN)

Women's Media Center

Writer's Guild of America, East

The Young Turks


Individuals:Josh Silver, Free Press

John Aravosis, Americablog

Joe Sudbay, Americablog

Craig Klein, Bonerama

Robert Greenwald, Brave New Films

Jeff Chang,

Sean Gibbons, Center for American Progress

John Halpin, Center for American Progress

Dean Baker, Center for Economic and Policy


Tim Wu, Columbia University

David Colarusso,

Craig Newmark, Craigslist

Markos Moulitsas, DailyKos

David Sirota,

Deanna Zandt,

Shireen Mitchell, Digital Sisters/Sistas Inc.

Duncan "Atrios" Black, Eschaton

Jane Hamsher, FireDogLake

Christy Hardin Smith, FireDogLake

Jonny 5, Flobots

Van Jones, Green For All

Davey D, Hard Knock Radio

Heather "Digby" Parton, Hullabaloo

Baratunde Thurston, Jack and Jill Politics

Mieka Pauley,

Jay Harris, Mother Jones

Eli Pariser,

Kathy Spillar, Ms. Magazine and Feminist


Jim James, My Morning Jacket

Jerome Armstrong, MyDD

Josh Orton, MyDD

Jonathan Singer, MyDD

Kim Gandy, National Organization for Women

Sascha Meinrath, New America Foundation

Rosa Clemente, 2008 Green Party VP Candidate

Zack Exley, New Organizing Institute

Judith Freeman, New Organizing Institute

Chris Bowers,

Matt Stoller,

Stone Gossard, Pearl Jam

Mike Mills, R.E.M,

Glenn Greenwald,

Josh Nelson,

Barbara van Schewick, Stanford University

Lawrence Lessig, Stanford University

Garlin Gilchrist II, The SuperSpade

Robert W. McChesney, University of Illinois

Waterflow, The Wageble Band

Tracy Russo, Women in Politics and Media

Carol Jenkins, Women's Media Center

Michael Winship, Writer's Guild of America, East

Cenk Uygur, The Young Turks

1 Obama for America, "Obama Unveils Innovation Agenda at Google," Nov. 14, 2007, available at (accessed Dec. 11, 2008).

2 Obama for America, "Barack Obama: Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation," November 2007, available at (accessed Dec. 11, 2008). See also. MTV/MySpace Forum, "Maintaining Net Neutrality," Oct. 29, 2007, beginning at 2 min. and 50 sec., video available at

jhtml (accessed Dec 12, 2008) where Senator Obama stated he would appoint only FCC commissioners who support Net Neutrality.

3 President-Elect Obama, "Weekly Address," Dec. 6, 2008, available at (accessed Dec. 11, 2008).

4 Obama for America, "Barack Obama: Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation," November 2007, available at (accessed Dec. 11, 2008).

5 Id.

6 Obama for America, "Barack Obama: Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation," available at (accessed Dec. 12, 2008).

7 President-Elect Obama, "Weekly Address," Dec. 6, 2008, available at (accessed Dec. 11, 2008).

8 Policy Working Groups, Technology, Innovation & Government Reform, available at (accessed Dec. 11, 2008).

9 Obama for America, "Barack Obama: Connecting and Empowering All Americans Through Technology and Innovation," November 2007, available at (accessed Dec. 11, 2008).

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