American Spectator’s Latest Conspiracy Theory

The rightwing American Spectator has a blog called “the Prowler,” which apparently has a history of posting spectacularly wrong “news” from “always-unnamed Washington insiders and Democratic officials” who malign Democrats “to an anonymous blogger working for a super-conservative magazine.”  Uh… right.  This reporting style doesn’t strike me (or others) as credible.  But I am not an avid reader of the Prowler, preferring my fiction to come in paperback.

But today I read a story about the senior counselor to the FCC Chairman, a guy named Colin Crowell. And I know a little about telecom, so I don’t have to take the Prowler‘s story on faith.  I know it’s wrong.  If I had ever considered the Prowler blog credible, I wouldn’t ever again.

Yesterday, Crowell announced he is leaving the FCC after more than 20 years of public service. An FCC spokesperson said Crowell was hoping to pursue something different, now that the FCC has released its wide-ranging National Broadband Plan–a plan that consumed much of the agency’s time and required Crowell’s expertise over the last year.

When I read that Crowell was leaving, I wasn’t surprised.  I had long assumed that Crowell would leave shortly after the National Broadband Plan was issued.  I would have been surprised if he stuck around much longer.  I think most other people who interact with the FCC would have had the same assumption.  The plan was a huge undertaking, and many would leave the FCC after it was released.

After over 20 years of government service, I assume, a guy needs a change. A government official at his level spends less time with his family (or even getting a good night sleep) than he’d like, and is tethered to his Blackberry far more than anyone should be. It’s not easy.  He deserves our thanks. Our country is better off that people as brilliant, hard-working, and straight-forward as Crowell are willing to serve, and to serve so well so long.

The Prowler heard something different from what many of us had assumed for many months.  Some apparently uninformed or misinformed–and completely anonymous–“staff” who work at the FCC went off the record  to say the long-expected departure “was so ill-timed that unless it was related to a serious health or family issue that it had to be a result of differences over policy with the chairman.” This sentence is the opposite of well-sourced and well-reasoned.  But the Prowler gets more specific in its poorly-sourced reasoning:

On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Genachowski was considering not regulating broadband networks, a decision, if true, that would have left Crowell’s many friends on the extreme left very angry.  … Other sources say that if Genachowski was leaning toward such a policy decision, Crowell would have been left in an untenable position and unable to defend it, and thus forced to resign.

Turns out, the FCC isn’t going to make that policy decision.  So Crowell wouldn’t have been put in that “untenable position.”  But my source is only the Wall Street Journal–one of Colin’s extreme leftist friends, according to anonymous, ignorant sources.

In short, the routine departure of a public servant, albeit an important one, after 20 years making sacrifices for the public in Congress and the FCC, is just that.  Sorry, American Spectator, no “conspiracy” here.  To match the no “sources,” no “logic,” and no “facts” in your story.

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