Nomination Hearings: The Art of Speaking Without Saying Anything

Jesse Blumenthal /

No, this is not a post about the Sotomayor hearings.

Yesterday there was another widely-attended Senate hearing. Another room was packed, interested parties cramming into every available seat to hear what the nominees had to say. But, what they heard was little, at best.

Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Baker, Democratic and Republican respectively, testified before the Senate Commerce Committee. They are nominees to serve as commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission. These issues, net neutrality, the internet, media ownership, and consumer protection, are amongst the most important that the FCC faces.They will define how technology operates and develops, and how Americans communicate with each other. This is an area with significant political and philosophical differences. Unfortunately, the only firm commitment the nominees made was, after prompting from Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), to not reinstate the Fairness Doctrine in any form.

With that one exception, no substantive information emerged from the hearings, other than the fact that Ms. Baker and Ms. Clyburn will soon likely be confirmed. The FCC is too important for this opportunity to have been missed. So now, rather than learning about these nominees during this hearing, the American people will learn about these women by their decisions as commissioners.