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Good news on the Media front?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Home > Progressive Community > NewsWire > For Immediate Release

March 13, 2008
4:25 PM

CONTACT: Free Press
Jen Howard, Free Press, 202-265-1490, x22
Christine Hanson Clapp, Rep. Jay Inslee, 202-226-7040
Abigail Shilling, Rep. Dave Reichert, 202-225-7761

House Members Take Up Anti-Consolidation Crusade
Bipartisan Coalition Files Measure That Would Void New FCC Media Ownership Rules

WASHINGTON, DC – March 13 – A bipartisan group of five House members today filed a measure aimed at nullifying a controversial Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule that would end a 32-year-old ban on radio and television broadcasters owning newspapers in Seattle and other of the nation’s largest media markets. It is the House companion to legislation offered in the Senate last week.

The “resolution of disapproval” is a congressional review mechanism, designed to give Congress an opportunity to prevent the implementation of rules created by federal agencies. It would need to pass both chambers and get the president’s signature or win an override vote within roughly three months from the time Congress is notified about the rule, which occurred in late February.

“Consolidation already has brought us to the point where two companies control 70 percent of market revenue in an average radio market,” said U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), the resolution’s prime sponsor and member of the House panel with jurisdiction over the FCC. “We need to use every tool available to prevent further weakening of media-ownership rules.”

“While I respect the free market, I believe it is a role of government to stand between corporations and consumers when the public interest is at stake. We want local media to remain local, diverse and free. Relaxing restrictions does not serve our citizens, and we’re taking further action to prevent these changes from negatively affecting our communities and the families at home. We have heard from our constituents loud and clear on this issue and will continue to do what we can to maintain the diverse, free and unbiased source of news that they clearly value,” added U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.). Other sponsors of Inslee’s resolution include U.S. Reps. Louise M. Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.).

“This bill signals growing momentum to end the corrupt era of Big Media giveaways,” said Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press Action Fund, which coordinates the StopBigMedia.com Coalition. “Members of both parties in both houses of Congress are fed up with the FCC’s intransigence on media ownership. We strongly support this bipartisan effort and will mobilize our activists across the country behind the resolution.”

Inslee and Reichert long have been champions of media diversity. They both participated in a field hearing on media ownership the FCC held in Seattle on November 9. It was the last of only six public forums held nationwide.

In December, the congressmen also introduced the Media Ownership Act, H.R.4835, which would halt the enactment of the new cross-ownership rule by requiring more time for public comment on rules proposed by the FCC.

The Senate resolution of disapproval, S.J.Res. 28, was filed on March 5, 2008, by U.S. Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.). It has 17 bipartisan co-sponsors, including U.S. Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), and John Kerry (D-Mass.).

In December, the FCC voted on and approved the new cross-ownership rule, which would end a three-decade ban on the common ownership of a daily newspaper and a television or radio station in the same market for the nation’s top 20 media markets. It also would make it easier for the FCC to waive ownership rules in all markets. The rule was published in the Federal Register on February 21.


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FCC Chair Defies Congress and The American People

December 18, 2007

Jen Howard, Free Press, (202) 265-1490, x22

Free Press Blasts FCC Media Ownership Vote

WASHINGTON — Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to remove the longstanding “newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership” ban that prohibits a local newspaper from owning a broadcast station in the same market.

Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, issued the following statement:

“FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is ignoring the public will and defying the U.S. Senate. His decision to gut longstanding ownership rules shows once again how the largest media companies — with their campaign contributions and high-powered lobbyists — are corrupting the policymaking process at the expense of local news coverage and independent voices.

“Martin’s FCC relied on slanted research and a rigged process to reach today’s preordained outcome — local media wrapped in a bow for Tribune, News Corp., Gannett and all the rest.

“With these new rules, there is no doubt that the ownership diversity crisis will get worse as these companies cash in on consolidation. Expect more newsroom layoffs and less quality news coming soon to a city near you.

“Fortunately, the fight is far from over. More than two dozen senators have already vowed to throw out these new rules. And the courts won’t look too kindly on the broken and corrupt process that brought us to today’s vote.

“The public simply won’t stand for another massive giveaway. They are sick and tired of partisan shouting and celebrity trash being passed off as news. They want more choices, more variety, more diversity — not more of the same. The growing public outcry is only going to get louder.”

Read the senators’ letter to Martin: http://www.freepress.net/docs/letter_tofcc_dec18vote_121707.pdf


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Huffington Post: Question for the FCC: Where are the Women?

Posted October 19, 2007 | 09:38 AM (EST)
Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carol-jenkins/question-for-the-fcc-whe_b_69059.html
Instead of looking for ways to help three or four giant, male-owned, male-run companies get even larger, the FCC should be spending its time assisting women and minorities in participating in our publicly owned airwaves.

Yesterday, the report that FCC Chair Kevin J. Martin was rushing into a vote on media consolidation, loosening the rules on cross-ownership of television stations and newspapers, was alarmingnd wholly unacceptable. We cannot allow control of the media, especially our publicly owned airwaves, to be held by a handful of men.

Article written by Carol Jenkins

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