No More Media for Murdoch!

Even as his media empire is under investigation for everything from invasion of privacy to outright bribery, Rupert Murdoch is seeking special permission to buy more and more media outlets. Murdoch wants to buy Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, and what’s worse, the chairman of the FCC wants to bend the commission’s rules to help him.

Right now, the FCC restricts people and firms from owning both major print and major broadcast media in a given market. These “cross-ownership” are more necessary than ever to prevent media consolidation and the waves of layoffs and narrowing of perspectives that come with it.

Murdoch and other media moguls have a vision of a media driven by corporate profits, not journalistic integrity, pumping out content-free glitz, rather than hard-hitting local investigations. The FCC is there to protect local media from these cash-grabbing conglomerates, but if Chairman Julius Genachowski gets his way, it won’t be able to serve that vital purpose anymore.

Consolidation is the enemy of localism, and when just a few people own all the newspapers, radio stations, and TV networks, it only makes it ever-harder for local reform groups, like Common Cause’s state chapters, to get their issues covered in local press.

And, the FCC’s own data show that media ownership by women and minorities is already at abysmally low levels, and stepping up consolidation would only make the problem worse. When asked for his thoughts on the proposed rule change, former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps said the following:

Frankly, it’s mind-boggling to me how the FCC can be thinking of relaxing its ownership caps without public hearings, without analyzing  new census data that shows minority ownership shrinking, and without realizing the enormous damage media consolidation has wreaked upon the quality of our news and information.  More should be expected of the current Commission than it has thus far delivered.

That’s why Free Press is petitioning the FCC to protect media ownership rules. You can lend your voice and sign the petition today, and let the FCC know: no more media for Murdoch!

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