As congressional Democrats prepare to give the Federal Communications Commission its toughest scrutiny in years, a rivalry between the powerful agency's two most prominent Republicans is raising questions about its readiness to handle barbed questions and stiff challenges.
The Republican-controlled FCC -- which makes far-reaching decisions on telephone, television, radio, Internet and other services that people use daily -- has sparred infrequently with Republican controlled Congresses. But the Democratic-run 110th Congress is about to heat up the grill, starting with a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on Thursday.
Senators vow to press the chairman and four commissioners on matters such as media-ownership diversity, Internet access, broadcast decency standards and delays in resolving various issues. The hearing may cover the waterfront, Democratic staff members say, but there's little doubt that the agency will face a tone of questioning unseen in recent years. More