Michael Powell, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, America’s chief media regulator and coincidental son of Colin Powell, has made no secret of his plans to deregulate the media industry. June 2, 2003 saw a controversial and astonishing measure: the FCC expanded the cap on media ownership from 35% of a single market to 45%. Largely promoted by media conglomerates, the move evoked a startling response in America’s public.
Legislators found their email accounts, mailboxes and telephones flooded by outraged citizens. Critics charged Powell, 'How can a non-elected, appointed official have this power?' Millions of concerned voices spoke out with complaints. What the FCC once thought was laid to rest would appear to be barely dormant.
Representatives were driven to bring the initiative to the House, which overwhelmingly supported its undoing. In a 400-21 vote, the move will see itself in Senate.
Should the measure pass in the Senate, however, President Bush has threatened a veto. As the veto may be overridden with a 2/3 vote, Bush has also been assembling his deregulatory supporters in Congress to ensure that the override veto will not occur.
Included in groups opposed to the measure are the National Organization for Women and the National Rifle Association. These strange bedfellows are usually unfathomable yet the atrocity of the measure makes it plausible. In spite of the outcry, however, the threat of Bush’s veto looms.