FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin’s latest proposal regarding relaxing cross-ownership rules sounds pretty rotten. I haven’t yet scrutinized the plan. When I heard that [tag]FCC[/tag] Commissioners [tag]Michael Copps[/tag] and [tag]Jonathan Adelstein[/tag] had strong reservations, it immediately gave me pause.
There’s a short article this morning in the Business section of the Washington Post (How about putting this on the front page where more people will see it?)
The chairman of the [tag]Federal Communications Commission[/tag] yesterday proposed relaxing an agency rule to allow big-city newspapers to buy the smaller television stations in their markets, a move designed as a compromise in the ongoing issue of corporate control of the airwaves.
The proposal put forward by Chairman [tag]Kevin J. Martin[/tag] appeared to please almost no one — the newspaper industry said it stopped short of helping the ailing print media and anti-consolidation groups said it went too far, with one calling it “yet another massive giveaway to big media.”
Commissioners Copps and Adelstein have a statement on the FCC site, in which they refer to this proposal as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” They go on to state:
The Martin rules are clearly not ready for prime time. Under the Chairman’s timetable, we count 19 working days for public comment. That is grossly insufficient. The American people should have a minimum of 90 days to comment, just as manyMembers of Congress have requested. More importantly, the Commission has yet to finish its Localism proceeding, teed up four years ago, or to forward comprehensive ideas to increase women and minorityownership of broadcast outlets.
There is still time to do this the right way. Congress and the thousands of American
citizens we have talked to want a thoughtful and deliberate rulemaking, not an alarming rush to judgment characterized byinsultinglyshort notices for public hearings, inadequate time for public comment, flawed studies and a tainted peer review process –all designed to make sure that the Chairman can deliver a generous gift to Big Media before the holidays. For the rest of us: a lump of coal.
[tag]StopBigMedia.com[/tag] has been posting updates on these developments since this so-called compromise was announced.
[tag]Reclaim the Media[/tag] has a report on the last public hearing on media consolidation, held last week in Seattle. It drew over 1,100 people many of whom spent hours waiting to testify about the potential impact of changing [tag]media consolidation[/tag] rules.