News reports say the Democratic Caucus voted today for U.S Rep. Henry Waxman to replace Rep. John Dingell as chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, which oversees the FCC and other other communications issues. Dingell was seen as ridiculously friendly to the handful of moguls who maintain a stranglehold on the infotainment industry. Now there’s hope LA’s outspoken and fearless broadcasting critic uses the panel to crack down on Big Media’s run amok power and manipulations. The public has never needed Waxman more than now. UPDATE: I’m amazed that Variety thinks Waxman will be Big Media’s newest best friend. The moguls have been dreading this for some time. Because Waxman, among other things, is the guy who in 2000 demanded that NBC turn over in-house tapes that would prove once and for all whether GE’s then chairman Jack Welch ordered his network and cable stations to reverse course and call the election for Bush instead of Gore. Waxman also has taken a lead position on media independence and accountability issues by pushing for free airtime for candidates, trying to increase regulations on over-the-counter drug advertising, expressing concern about product placement, and railing against media depictions of smoking.
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