Today the FCC sucks Big Media ass through razor wire:
- An ideologically fractured Federal Communications Commission plans to vote along party lines today to relax or eliminate some key media ownership rules, allowing a newspaper to own a television station in the same city and broadcast networks to buy more stations at the national and local levels.
FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell is set to join fellow Republican commissioners Kathleen Q. Abernathy and Kevin J. Martin in approving the changes, sources said over the weekend, while Democrats Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps said they plan to vote against the changes.
The vote has engendered public opposition by lawmakers, consumer and advocacy groups and unaligned citizens who fear that further media consolidation will make it more difficult for those with minority viewpoints to get their message out. On Friday, the FCC’s voice- and e-mail systems were temporarily shut down by a deluge of public comments. The agency has received more than 500,000 e-mails and postcards opposing the changes. [Washington Post]
Shockingly – okay, not – big media, even the liberal leaning papers, mostly favor the deregulation. The Washington Post has compiled a fascinating selection of those:
- When the FCC decides on Monday whether it will loosen media ownership regulations, Americans almost certainly will find out about it through the radio, TV, newspapers or the Internet. The chances are equally good that the company that owns the station, paper or Web site also owns other news operations — perhaps several in the same city or region.
Many of the companies that run news organizations, therefore, have a lot to gain from less regulation of their businesses. But not all of them support deregulation. Here are excerpts from published editorials that show where various media organizations stand on the issue of loosening ownership rules — and a look at the companies that own those publications
The NY Times and St. Louis Dispatch are against the changes; the Washington Post, Washington Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times are for it.
- U.S. communications regulators on Monday narrowly approved sweeping new rules that will allow television broadcasters to expand their reach, despite fears about reducing the diversity of viewpoints.
The Republican-led Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to allow the broadcast networks to own television stations that reach a combined 45 percent of the national audience, up from 35 percent. [Reuters]