Joining the Senate in an effort to modify the FCC actions of June 2 easing media ownership rules, the House Appropriations Committee voted to block the ruling regarding concentration of the nation’s commercial television markets:
- The panel’s action applied to a key part of a landmark June 2 FCC decision that would enable networks to acquire stations reaching up to 45 percent of the national audience. By preventing the FCC from spending funds to carry out its new ruling, the committee effectively restored the old limit of 35 percent.
The White House opposed the committee’s action, and White House budget officials said they would recommend that the president veto the 2004 Commerce, Justice and State Department spending bill, to which the provision was attached, unless it was deleted.
….”If we don’t move here absolutely nothing will happen,” said Rep. David Obey (D-Wis.), who offered the amendment striking down the FCC’s new rule for network ownership of stations.
Eleven Republicans joined Democrats in approving Obey’s provision on a vote of 40 to 25, after members of both parties attacked the growing concentration in television as a threat to local stations, particularly those in small markets.
Obey said that what was at stake was the ability of independent television stations to continue providing programming consistent with local community values.
“I didn’t get elected here to be a potted plant,” said Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), who cited “garbage” in television advertising and programming.
Rep Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) called commercial television “a garbage pit.”
….In the Senate, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) has picked up nearly three dozen supporters for a resolution that would overturn the FCC ruling. No date has been set for a vote. [Washington Post]