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.
- Rubio Surges Into Second In New Hampshire
- Branstad Says Cruz Ran ‘Unethical’ Campaign
- Christie Highlights Santorum’s Endorsement of Rubio
- Portman Comes Out Against Trade Deal
- Megyn Kelly Gets a Book Deal
- A Big List of the Bad Things Clinton Has Done
- An Unambiguous Sign Sanders Won Last Night’s Debate
- Still Friends at the End
- Quote of the Day
- Trump Still Leads as Clinton Slips
- Clinton Can’t Shake Image as Wall Street’s Friend
- Maddow Doesn’t See Sanders Winning
- Why Does the Media Still Shield Chelsea Clinton?
- Bush Jokes His Mother May Have Abused Him
- Rubio Closes the Gap in New Hampshire
- We asked 6 political scientists if Bernie Sanders would have a shot in a general election
- The price of oil has plummeted and with it Russia’s finances
- Legal scholars at Harvard debate Cruz’s eligibility to serve as president
- Has one of Sally Hemings’s siblings been neglected by history unfairly?
- Retired historian George Dennison remains on the payroll at the U. of Montana while faculty are cut
- The Atlantic profiles exciting ways to teach history
- LDS Church has gone from 0 to 4 historians specializing in women’s history
- Israeli historian Yair Auron lays out details of a massacre in 1948