FCC Chairman Ajit Pai 'jokes' about being a Verizon shill

From Engadget - December 9, 2017

Aside from the jokes falling flat, there are all kinds of problems with the routine. To start, FCC officials should not be joking about being shills. Whether or not they have industry backgrounds (like former Chairman Tom Wheeler), they are supposed to take corruption allegations seriously instead of turning them into comedy sketches. The humor fails in part because there's a painful degree of truth to it -- it would not have come up if Pai were not pursuing the exact deregulation policies that major telecoms want. And crucially, telecom executives should not ever be involved. If anything, Grillo's inclusion in the skit supports accusations that Pai is on the take, since he's clearly cozy enough with Verizon to recruit one of its VPs for a gag.

For that matter, why would a Verizon executive agree to appear in a skit that makes light of corruption, especially knowing that the video might become public and damage the company's reputation?It's safe to say this is unusual even for a telecom that has not been shy about voicing its political stances and omitting views it does not like.The company appears unfazed about the connection, however, and even seems to endorse it.When asked for comment, Chief Communications Officer Jim Gerace joked that "we never knew Kathy was so funny."


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