Per chi segue l'evoluzione del sistema di radio digitale IBOC, è una situazione curiosa, perché molti DXer americani vanno ripetendo da anni che la FCC, invece di fare il cane da guardia contro gli interessi monopolistici delle grandi aziende, ha favorito scelte che starebbero uccidendo la radio. Ma anche fuori dal nostro contesto specializzato, il conflitto che si è aperto deve farci riflettere sull'efficacia del sistema di contrappesi di cui dicevo all'inizio. L'esistenza stessa di un conflitto, e i possibili effetti delle reazioni scatenate dall'inchiesta di Dingell, dimostrano quanto gli Stati Uniti siano più avanti di noi nell'approccio alla gestione della complessità che ci circonda.
Il commento che segue, apparso su Mediaweek di VNU Network, riassume molto bene quello che sta accadendo.
Dingell: FCC on Verge of a 'Breakdown'
DECEMBER 04, 2007
The chairman of the House Commerce Committee said that he is losing confidence in the way the FCC is being handled and has launched an investigation into the methods used by the head of the agency.
Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., one of Congress' most dogged investigators, told FCC chairman Kevin Martin on Monday (Dec. 3) that he thinks the agency is on the verge of a breakdown.
"Procedural breakdowns at the agency tasked with overseeing communications laws for our entire nation jeopardize the public interest it is bound to serve," Dingell said. "Our nation is founded on fair, open and transparent government, and the FCC is certainly no exception. When that openness and transparency is compromised, so too is public confidence in the agency."
In a letter dated Dec. 3, Dingell told Martin that the Commerce Committee's investigative panel, which Dingell chairs, was launching an investigation into the FCC's practices.
"Given several events and proceedings over the past year, I am rapidly losing confidence that the commission has been conducting its affairs in an appropriate manner," Dingell wrote. "While this is certainly not true for every commission proceeding, a trend appears to be emerging of short-circuiting procedural norms, suggesting a larger breakdown at the agency."
In particular, Dingell wants Martin to answer questions about how he informs the public and other commissioners about upcoming rule changes.
Wrote Dingell: "For instance, the commission does not put the text of proposed rules out for notice and comment; there is little public notice of certain proposed commission actions; and commissioners are often not informed of the details of draft items until it is too late to provide the necessary scrutiny and analysis that is so important to reasoned decision-making."
Recently, commissioners Jonathan Adelstein, a Democrat, and Robert McDowell, a Republican, accused Martin of withholding information in the commission's recent decision on whether the cable industry had reached a critical subscriber threshold that would allow the commission to regulate the industry.
"Taken as a whole, these events lead to larger concerns as to the inclination and ability of the commission to perform its core mission: the implementation of federal law to serve the public interest," Dingell wrote.
FCC spokesman Clyde Ensslin said the chairman would answer the lawmaker's questions.
Martin's tangle with Congress isn't likely to end with Dingell's letter, known in Washington as a Dingellgram, as he is scheduled Wednesday (Dec. 5) to face the Commerce Committee's telecommunications subcommittee over his proposal to undo the general ban that keeps one company from owning a newspaper and a TV station in the same city. Martin has proposed lifting the ban in the top 20 markets.
Meanwhile, the Senate Commerce Committee is expected to approve legislation today12/4 that would delay FCC consideration of new media-ownership rules by at least six months.