FCC again inviting big corporations to take more control of the media

June 23, 2006 | By | Reply More

The Federal Communications Commission and industry lobbyists are once again trying to let huge media companies get even bigger by resurrecting the same rule changes that millions of Americans rejected in 2003.

It’s hard to believe that anyone at the FCC could actually be considering the welfare of the American people when advocating further media consolidation.  The benefits to large corporations are obvious–who wouldn’t want a monopoly?  But I can’t think of a single benefit of further media consolidation for members of the public.  We already struggle to find meaningful vigorous debate and unbiased information.  Choking off perspectives is not a valid way to “resolve” factual issues; only more and better information and more diverse perspectives can lead us to that thing we call “truth.”

 

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[The above chart is from Media Reform Information Center ]

According to the book New Media Monopoly, only 5 huge corporations — Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) — now control most of the media industry in the U.S.

Despite this obviously bad trend, on Wednesday, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin began the process that would further relax ownership rules.

This warning from FreePress

If [Martin] prevails, we will see the further demise of local news, independent voices and critical journalism.   Martin is angling to eliminate the newspaper-broadcast “cross-ownership” ban that prevents a single conglomerate from owning the major daily newspaper as well as radio and TV stations in a single market. And he wants to lift local ownership caps on how many TV stations one company can own in your town.

When the FCC last tried to change these rules under then-Chairman Michael Powell, some 3 million people contacted the FCC and Congress to oppose the action. The rule changes were later overturned by the courts, sending the FCC back to the drawing board.

If these rule changes were approved, one company could own the major paper, eight radio stations and three television stations in the same city. A handful of huge companies already control nearly all of the media in America. Such concentration destroys local news, sidelines dissenting views, and stifles competition. When we allow one company to own everything, we lose the diversity of views that is the lifeblood of our democracy.

The StopBigMedia.com Coalition is an alliance of consumer, public interest, media reform, organized labor and other groups that have joined together to fight runaway media consolidation and urge the FCC to put the public interest before the self-interest of large media corporations. 

To take action, click here. Your comments are needed to turn back the current attempt to put a bigger corporate muzzle on the information we critically need to run our lives, country and world.

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Category: Media, Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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