Jewish Journal


June 30, 2009

Julius Genachowski—A Smart Jewish Boy



Julius Genachowski

The new head of the FCC is a smart Jewish boy.

How smart is Julius Genachowski?

According to his Wikipedia bio:

Genachowski grew up in Great Neck, New York and received his B.A. in history in 1985 magna cum laude, from Columbia College, Columbia University, where he was an editor of the Columbia Daily Spectator. He received his J.D. in 1991 from Harvard Law School, where he was a notes editor at the Harvard Law Review[2] when it was headed by Barack Obama, who graduated in the same year. After graduating from Harvard, also magna cum laude, Genachowski clerked for the Honorable Abner J. Mikva on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and then at the U.S. Supreme Court for two years, for Justices William J. Brennan and David Souter.

And how Jewish?

Again, from Wikipedia:

His parents are Eastern European Jews who survived the Holocaust.[9] His cousin, Menachem Genack, is an Orthodox rabbi and the CEO of the Orthodox Union Kosher Division.

Pretty funny that the media guy has the long and very Jew-y name, while the rabbi has the short, Anglicized name. 

I’m impressed with the man’s experience:

Genachowski was Chief of Business Operations and a member of Barry Diller’s Office of the Chairman at IAC/InterActiveCorp. He had previously served on the Boards of Directors of Expedia, Hotels.com and Ticketmaster.[2]
He is a co-founder of LaunchBox Digital and Rock Creek Ventures.[3] He is also a special advisor at General Atlantic and a member of the Boards of Directors at The Motley Fool, Web.com, Mark Ecko Enterprises, and Beliefnet. He was appointed to the board of JackBe in April 2006. 
Genachowski serves as a board member of Common Sense Media, a leading organization seeking to improve the media lives of children and families; and as an advisory board member of Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). He also recently helped found the New Resource Bank, the country’s first commercial “green bank.”

He seems to understand new media, which I assume means he wants to create a media landscape that allows for a multiplicity of voices and points of view, and that expands, rather than shrinks, the promise of democracy. 

In other words, I hope he treats the FCC with as much respect as Howard Stern always did.

Respect?  Didn’t Howard spend hours trashing the FCC, insulting its chairmen, detailing its abuses and mistakes?

Yes. That’s not because he thought it was worthless—it’s because he believed in it, and was angry that it wasn’t living up to its potential.

People misunderstood Howard Stern’s fight against the FCC—and I’m speaking as someone who still plays tennis in a shtunky white T-shirt that says, “FREE STERN” on one side and “F the FCC” on the other.

Howard is not an anarchist—he’s a conservative.  He saw the forces of the radical religious right tampering with America’s bedrock values of free speech and free enterprise, and it enraged him.  The FCC’s battle against him outraged his sense of fairness.  By trying to stop Howard from saying “vagina” on air—but not trying to stop the corporate takeover of the airwaves, or focusing on more important things—like the economy or war or the environment—the government was abdicating its true responsibilities.  Decency? The word “vagina” is a lot more decent than 35 million people without health insurance. 

It seems that President Obama’s new choice for FCC chair is a step in the right direction toward restoring decency where it has been most sorely missing—in government.

Here’s what Genachowski told his staff he will focus on, according to The Wrap:

“As the country’s expert agency on communications, it is our job to pursue this vision of a more connected America, focusing on the following goals:

Promoting universal broadband that’s robust, affordable and open.

Pursuing policies that promote job creation, competition, innovation and investment.

Protecting and empowering consumers and families.

Helping deliver public safety communications networks with the best technology to serve our firefighters, police officers, and other first responders.

Advancing a vibrant media landscape, in these challenging times, that serves the public interest in the 21st century.

Seizing the opportunity for the United States to lead the world in mobile communications.

These are just some of the goals we will pursue in the days ahead.

How we will work will be central to what we can achieve.

We will be fair.

We will be open and transparent.

Our policy decisions will be fact-based and data-driven.”



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