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Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Over the past three days, three influential editorial boards have sized up FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's early tenure. The response is split between the conservative-leaning WSJ and the more liberal boards of the NYT and WaPo.

  • WSJ, on Thursday: "The Obama Administration ran the FCC as an extension of the White House, even ordering the agency in a YouTube video to classify the internet as a public utility. For all the invented panic over Republican rule in Washington, note that Mr. Pai is divesting himself of authority and making the agency more responsive to the consumers who pay his salary."
  • NYT, on Friday: "Mr. Pai, who says the Wheeler-era regulations are burdensome, clearly favors policies that serve the interests of large telecommunications companies."
  • WaPo, on Saturday: "In his first speech in the role, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai extolled the importance of bridging the digital divide between those who can afford Internet access and those who cannot. Days later, though, he opened another gap, this time between his words and his actions."

Key context: In his first weeks on the job, Pai hasn't shied away from debates over net neutrality and subsidies for internet access for low-income people.

Real talk: It's not surprising to see the Times' editorial board criticize what it sees as Pai's closeness with telcos. It has called in the past for Democrats to nominate progressives to the FCC. And the Journal's opinion pages have long provided a home for Pai's op-eds, sometimes co-bylined with Republican members of Congress.

Worth noting:

Pai isn't afraid to push back when he feels his positions are being mischaracterized in the media. Just this week, he

said

the "media headlines" about the low-income subsidy decision had "sensationalized this story and given some an entirely misleading impression of what is going on." An FCC spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment on the editorials.

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."