On December 8, 2009, C. Edwin Baker, who was the Nicholas F. Gallicchio Professor of Law and Communication at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, died suddenly in New York City. Ed was one of our esteemed Advisory Board members and a trusted expert on many critical issues including free speech, communications law and media policy. FMC Board Member — and former Research Director — Peter DiCola has written a few words in memory of Ed.
Ed Baker was a great friend to FMC, especially with regard to our work on media consolidation. His books, especially Media, Markets, and Democracy, provided instruction and inspiration for our research. Ed had critical abilities of the highest order; he was the sort of person you would call a genius and hope that the term hadn't been overly diluted, because he truly deserved it. For me, the most impressive of Ed's talents was his skill at using economic theory in the service of an overarching, humane philosophy. He showed how to justify media regulation in a sophisticated way, applying his own (groundbreaking) ideas on the First Amendment as well as the very economic tools that industrial interests use to argue against regulation.
On a personal level, Ed was as kind to me on the occasions we would run into each other as my own professors. I remember seeing him in action at an FCC-sponsored research conference, employing his soft-spoken manner to take strong and provocative positions. He had both intellectual brilliance and intellectual integrity. Ed's passing last month was a huge loss and we at FMC will miss him.