- The Federal Communications Commission’s likely action to relax major media ownership rules is forging some unexpected political alliances. For instance, for the first time a group known as “CodePink, Women for Peace” finds itself on the same side of a fight as the National Rifle Association.
These ideologically disparate groups share a common concern. If the FCC votes to ease ownership rules, several organizations — left and right — fear they will lose access to the public airwaves. Traditional foes are even speaking a common language, shared by some Democratic and Republican lawmakers.
….”It does put us in the position of strange bedfellows,” said Gael Murphy, Washington coordinator for CodePink, which also pink-slipped Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for what the group considered their hawkish stance on the Iraq war. “But we do believe in diversity and that includes hearing from people we don’t want to hear from,” she said, referring to the NRA.Wayne R. LaPierre Jr., president of the NRA, said he had no problem siding with CodePink on this issue, saying his group routinely has ads rejected by what he calls ideologically opposed television networks and stations.
“I am all for citizens having the ability to express their views. Diversity is what America is all about,” he said. “Where I have a problem is when I get four or five big media conglomerates choking off dissenting points of view. That will be worse if Powell’s consolidation is allowed to go forward.”
….Every two years, Congress requires the FCC to review its ownership rules, to make sure they are in step with a technologically changing marketplace, in which cable and the Internet offer consumers more choices for news and information.
This time, the FCC is under additional pressure from the U.S. District Court in Washington, which has tossed out five of the agency’s ownership rules in recent years. The court has told the FCC it must better justify why the ownership rules should remain.
….Joining CodePink and the NRA in opposing further consolidation is L. Brent Bozell III’s conservative Parents Television Council, which says that the media oligopoly has contributed to a coarsening of television programming.
….Other socially conservative or religious groups, such as the Traditional Values Coalition, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Family Research Council and Morality in the Media, have weighed in against further media consolidation, generally on indecency grounds and fears that more media mergers will mean less good television for children. [Washington Post]
Read the entire article for a good overvoew of what is at stake here and what the probable ramifications of the action are. Re CodePink and the NRA: sometimes two wrongs make a right.