Progress At The FCC? Not Exactly
We’ve been keeping a close eye on the FCC while they decide whether to relax important media-broadcast cross ownership regulations. Doing so would allow more consolidation in our already monolithic media, and make it possible for the likes of Rupert Murdoch to purchase the LA Times. What’s worse, this move will undermine minority and female broadcast ownership, harming our media’s ability to engage with an increasingly diverse America.
The FCC tried to nix cross-ownership during the Bush Administration, but the Third Circuit Court ruled it had not accounted for the harmful impact of consolidation on diversity. So how strange is it that the FCC is about to implement the same bad rules, even as the Commission’s own data show that minority and female ownership is at an all-time low?
On Monday, the FCC reluctantly announced it would bow to pressure from public interest groups like Common Cause and allow 30 days of public comment. Unfortunately, they’re only going to take public input about the new minority ownership data–if you have a problem with the proposed rule change, you’re out of luck.
Michael Copps, Special Adviser for our Media and Democracy Reform Initiative and former FCC Commissioner put it best:
“A longer comment period on minority ownership (Form 323) data doesn’t mean much unless the FCC delays the pending vote on the ownership review. The Commission should do the hard data analysis that Third Circuit Court demands. Pressing the pause button for a month without reworking the underlying proposals is a disservice to the public.”
All of us here at Common Cause will be closely following this story as it develops–if you want the latest updates, you can follow Michael Copps on Twitter at @coppsm.