The FCC Turns Eighty and the Road Not Taken
Eighty-years ago, Calvin Coolidge, in the one of the most unfortunate acts of his presidency, signed into the law creating the Federal Radio Commission (the original name of the current Federal Communications Commission). Though Coolidge signed it, the FRC was the brainchild of Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover.
It was a typical Hoover reform. During the 1920s, he was a dynamo of activism. In a few years, he had cajoled scores of local governments to assume ownership of airports as well as implement zoning.
Perhaps Hoover’s proudest accomplishment during this period, however, was to single-handedly expand federal authority over the radio spectrum. Historians have praised him for bringing “order” to electromagnetic chaos. In actuality, as Jesse Walker explains, he had short-circuited promising efforts to introduce property rights and true free speech to the airwaves.
comments powered by Disqus
David T. Beito - 2/25/2007
You're right to key in on that. When I wrote it, I wondered if it was the right word.
Sudha Shenoy - 2/24/2007
Was it a 'reform'? Or a spanner in the works? For _govt officials_, yes, it _has_ to be a 'reform'. In terms of the spontaneous processes already underway, it's interference, wrecking, hammering, something destructive.
- Most Millennials Resist the ‘Millennial’ Label
- Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers – and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting
- China military parade commemorates WW2 victory over Japan
- New documentary explores the legacy of the 5,000 Rosenwald schools set up by a Sears magnate and Booker T. Washington
- Rare silent Native American movie of 1920s attracting a lot of interest
- AHA President Vicki L. Ruiz named National Humanities Medalist
- Historians of Color Are Revolutionizing the Narrative of ‘American Exceptionalism’
- Henry VIII voted worst monarch in history
- The Fuhrer style: Historian says press coverage of Hitler’s lavish life fueled his rise to power
- Two scholars from UT object to the Texas school's decision to remove the statue of Jefferson Davis