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FCC Exceptionalism:
Website Clutter Continues

Yesterday the top of the FCC's website was filled with the clutter shown at left. Clutter on the FCC website has been a long term problem. Indeed, in an October 2007 post I called the website "The Nation's Communications Policy 'Attic' " and had a similar discussion here in September 2010. Numerous comments have been sent to the groups planning the website and to webfeedback@fcc.gov - never receiving any feedback but occasionally making temporary progress.

Note the title here starts with "FCC Exceptionalism". In the previous post I discussed two other aspects of FCC exceptionalism that differ from all other federal regulatory agencies:
  • ex parte rules unique in the federal government
  • an inspector general disinterested in agency effectiveness even though that is a statutory requirement of the position
Now one positive aspect of the above is that they have been truly bipartisan: under both Republican and Democratic leadership FCC has been pursuing these practices. No FCC chairman apparently wants the independent review required by the Inspector General Act.

The website clutter apparently comes from trying to give the appearance of collegiality among the commissioners by giving top billing to the utterances of each and the lack of anyone having any control on the website other than filling it with announcements than can come from a variety of source.

No other regulatory commission in the federal government puts analogous statements of its commissioners, either congressional testimony or congratulatory statements or condolence statements, on the top of their website.  Indeed, not other regulatory agency even puts both the names and photos of its commissioners on the top page either.

The closest thing I can find is the small box on the NTSB's top page which has board members statements on "transportation safety" - the main job of that agency.


Below is the entire top page of the SEC's website. No commissioners are mentioned. (They are actually 2 clicks away here.) The only news items are from the agency as a whole. However, the commissioners' statements and speeches are readily found, for example.)
It also appears that none of the current 3 SEC commissioners have Twitter accounts that are readily identifiable. However, I assume they they are just as partisan as the FCC commissioners as two of the present three SEC commissioners are also former Senate staffers as has been the custom in the past 2 decades. So maybe decreasing the clutter of FCC's top page might make it easier for everyone to find information and improve collegiality. This week's Senate hearing was a big thing, but why not just one link that goes to all the statements and maybe even the video from the Senate site? Wouldn't that serve the public better?


Today March 8 new (and confusing in a new way) clutter appeared on top of FCC home page as shown at left. Three commissioners comments on a court decision. Chmn. Wheeler and Comm. Clyburn issued a joint statement while Comm. Pai issued a separate statement with a very different point of view. Due to the quirks of how the FCC home page is managed (or nonmanaged) the two statements are both listed separately and titled somewhat differently. They they take up more than their share of space on the cluttered home page. Who knows, perhaps other commissioners will comment later on this decision and further add to the clutter.

No other regulatory commission in the federal government does this!

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