Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the FCC’s oversight committee, gave the five Commissioners a spanking yesterday:
- many senators expressed disappointment, outrage and confusion over the FCC’s decision to allow broadcast networks to buy more television stations, among other changes.
“It looks for all the world like you could not or would not stand up to corporate interests,” said Sen. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.).
….”Where in the world do you find the grounds for 45 percent?” asked Sen. Ernest F. Hollings (D-S.C.).
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has introduced a bill to put the cap back at 35 percent. Fellow Republican senators and committee colleagues Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas), Conrad Burns (Mont.), Trent Lott (Miss.) and Olympia J. Snowe (Maine) have indicated they would join 10 Democratic committee members in supporting the bill. Only Sen. John B. Breaux (D-La.) is undecided.
….Dorgan expressed concern about the new newspaper-television cross-ownership rule, which would allow common ownership of newspapers and televisions station in all but about 30 of the nation’s smallest cities. He has indicated that he may offer an amendment to Stevens’s bill that would reinstate the ban on cross-ownership. [Washington Post]