Tuesday, December 18, 2007

FCC: Big Media can now be Ginormous Media

The Federal Communications Commission, on a party-line 3-2 vote, will let broadcasters in the nation’s biggest cities also own newspapers.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin disingenuously claims that shrinkage in the newspaper biz makes this a safe move.

Of course, that’s exactly the opposite of true. Big Media, by newspapers, is a smaller pie than before; even in the nation’s 20 largest metropolitan areas, not all have multiple daily newspapers, and, of those that do, some of them have two newspapers in joint operating agreements.

The discussion and debate was rancorous:
The Democrats blasted the chairman for making changes to the proposal "in the dead of night" and just before the meeting that created new ownership loopholes instead of closing them, as he pledged during a recent hearing on Capitol Hill.

“Anybody who thinks our processes are open, thoughtful or deliberative should think twice in light of these nocturnal escapades,” said Democrat Jonathan Adelstein.

The Democrat said Martin's proposal “will allow for waivers for six new newspaper-broadcast combinations and 36 grandfathered stations.”

In places like here in Dallas, where The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV, one of the grandfathered stations, use this to lay off more employees, do “package” coverage, and shamelessly market each other while refusing to include each other in media criticism and critiquing pieces, shows just how wrong this is.

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