The FCC blinks at media consolidation
Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 5:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 5:26 p.m.
This editorial is from the
Relaxing long-standing restrictions on cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast outlets is a bad idea. Apparently, it cannot be said often enough.
The chairman of Federal Communications Commission was flirting with a quick, quiet vote to undo a 37-year-old rule that prevents newspapers, radio and TV stations from falling under one owner in the same market.
The FCC has tried before. The responses from the courts and members of Congress have been, appropriately so, an eye roll and a finger wag.
Rules to limit media cross-ownership are in place to protect the public’s interest in vigorous journalism, independent voices and diverse ownership.
The smoke still billows off a November letter from Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. The senator was incensed by FCC chatter about liberating cross-ownership to end outdated prohibitions.
Even with the rules in place, Cantwell noted, the FCC’s own report
The FCC set aside plans for a vote and said it will accept more public comment, and perhaps vote, in January.
The rationales for change will not improve. Cantwell skewers the notion that changing cross-ownership rules will save the newspaper industry:
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