McAdams On Gordon Smith


Staff member
From The Article:
What does it all mean, Mr. Smith? You were definitely a big “get” for the National Association of Broadcasters. A former moderate Republican senator from Oregon with no major scandals stuck to your name? The NAB board had to be weeping tears of joy when you accepted the cloak and scepter. No offense to your predecessor, but he was a slogan guy. You are an actual-if-completely-calculated conversational guy. With a full head of hair, which in Washington plays a bit like Keanu Reeves in wrap-around sunglasses and a trench coat.

So one can only imagine the reaction this week when you endorsed Mitt Romney for president. Something like the House of Lords when tea is late--and a great murmuring ensued. Yours is said to be a personal endorsement, which makes sense, given your and Mr. Romney’s likewise membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and your similar political and tonsorial proclivities. But it’s a bit hard to separate this entirely from your role at NAB...

...So given this rock and hard place, I get why you keep moving the line in the sand. You’ve got spectrum reclamation bills coming at you from both sides of the aisle, despite this being a Democratic agenda. In your testimony before a House subcommittee today, you just asked for four specifics--one and only one incentive auction; relocation reimbursement; no pushing into VHF; and coverage-area protection. That pretty much amounts to concession, and possibly taking TV away from those faceless people in flyover states during a Romney Administration. I can’t wait to hear the resulting flackage about replacing free TV service with a $200-a-month wireless broadband plan. If that’s not an airwave tax, I don’t know what is.

Maybe you know better than the rest of us that the spectrum incentive auction bills will get hung up in the budget battle. Or better yet, by something as inane as whether or not to give the D-Block to the first responders who can’t even coordinate their Motorolas. Hopefully, it will get hung up by people who care more about brass tacks than rhetoric, like the Midwesterners you addressed in your editorial for the Missouri News Horizon. Frankly, I wish the NAB would have taken its case to the people long ago a la the late Charles Kuralt and his RV. Now, we’re a bit down to the wire, which has me wondering if tossing in with Mitt is a back-up plan. He’ll need ambassadors. You might even get an assignment in a country that still has free TV.
Read More: TVB | McAdams On: Mr. Smith