Can you name the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under President Bill Clinton? How about George W. Bush? Maybe Obama?
Maybe you can. Most likely you can’t.
Chairman of the FCC is typically not a position in our government that gets an enormous amount of notoriety (or any at all). However, in Trump’s America, every government position is seemingly deserving of its own pop-culture meme-ification.
That moment came almost instantaneously for the Spicers, Conways, and Bannons of the world, but the sheer gravity of this administration has thrust even the more obscure members of our government into the spotlight.
So it is with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
The 44-year-old son of Indian immigrants is an Obama appointee who was elevated by President Trump to serve as the Chairman of the FCC in trying times. Pai has quickly been catapulted into the limelight during the infancy of the Trump administration. His swift and calculated rollbacks of Obama policies, including a marked pivot on key elements of net neutrality, has landed Pai in the crosshairs of some of the biggest critics in the cable news and media sphere.
Not that Pai seems to mind.
The perpetually candid chairman seems to bask in his nerdiness. He dresses like a tech bro, tweets Big Lebowski lines, and drinks out of an oversized Reece’s peanut butter cup coffee cup. The last bit, along with the commission’s 180-degree pivot on net neutrality, left Pai on the warpath of one John Oliver.
The HBO late night host savaged Pai over his net neutrality stance in his most recent diatribe on Sunday. In the segment, Oliver deployed a troll army against the FCC in order to crash their commenting function on the net neutrality move. It’s a tactic Oliver has used successfully before with Pai’s predecessor.
And this time, Oliver one-upped Pai with a “bigger mug.”
The result was many Americans, and a fair share of fake bots, swamping the FCC website. They also left their honest opinions on Pai’s private social media platforms.
Now, for the first time, directly from the IJR studios, hear Pai read some of the more honest feedback he’s received … from the friendly commenters online.
Video directed, shot and edited by Phil Wolf and Dan Ardura.