Tags: One | Reporter's | Opinion: | The | FCC | and | Media

One Reporter's Opinion: The FCC and Media Ownership Rules

Monday, 16 June 2003 12:00 AM

It is this reporter's opinion that the free flow of information is the greatest guarantee of democracy. The recent slim 3-2 decision by the Federal Communications Commission relaxing media ownership rules is a blow to democracy.

That 3-2 decision modifies the decades-old media ownership rules. The changes would allow - for the first time in three decades - a single company to own three television stations, another broadcast outlet and a newspaper, all in the same city.

The networks would be able to own stations that reach 45 percent of the national audience, and that's up from 35 percent. In the words of Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C., "Where in the world do you find the grounds for 45 percent?"

Indeed, two days after the FCC relaxed media ownership rules, a majority of senators on the agency's Oversight Committee indicated they would try to amend or overturn the changes. Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, has introduced a bill to put the cap back at 35 percent. Fellow Republicans and committee colleagues are joining the debate; and a move is building to reinstate the ban on cross-ownership.

When this reporter entered radio 70 years ago, the FCC was a regulating body. Its main task was to make certain that radio stations did not waver over their assigned positions on the radio dial - in other words, make certain that a station assigned, for instance, 1070 on the AM dial didn't wander over to 1080.

Every three years there was an evaluation prior to renewal of license. Over that three-year span, radio stations assembled communications from the public, pro and con, as to the stations' public service to the community. Apparently that's all but gone now.

The FCC has repealed a ban on simultaneous ownership of TV stations and a newspaper in the same market. Under the new rules, this means a saturation of just one point of view.

If this new ruling sticks, it will increase mergers and consolidation. It's a little frightening to consider the fact that four television networks are in control - General Electric owns NBC; News Corporation owns Fox; Walt Disney Company owns ABC; and Viacom Inc. owns CBS.

The Senate Commerce Committee has scheduled a June 19, 2003, committee vote on a bill to roll back the expanded national TV ownership limit. Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., says he will introduce a measure giving the FCC authority to impose tighter ownership limits on the media industry in addition to being able to relax them.

It is time that the public, which has been cut out of this current debate, launch a massive outcry and political self-interest. This issue affects each and every one of us, and it is interesting that this new move on the part of the FCC has brought elements of the Left and Right together in criticizing what the FCC has done.

This 3-2 decision, if allowed to prevail, will chart the root of America's flow of information for decades to come, which could be devastating to our society. Let's not let that happen!

This action on the part of the FCC brings into sharp focus the need for more and varied sources of information such as our own NewsMax.com, which not only is a great alternative news outlet, but also offers its readers a chance to interact and voice their opinion via PriorityGrams.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/media/2003-06-01-

http://www.wgaeast.org/features/fcc/

http://www.mediatank.org/ownership.html

http://news-info.wustl.edu/news/page/normal/233.html

* * * * * *

The legendary George Putnam is 88 years young and a veteran of 68 years as a reporter, broadcaster and commentator ... and is still going strong. George is part of the all-star line-up of Southern California's KPLS Radio – Hot Talk AM 830.

... and

© 2020 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


   
1Like our page
2Share
Pre-2008
It is this reporter's opinion that the free flow of information is the greatest guarantee of democracy.The recent slim 3-2 decision by the Federal Communications Commission relaxing media ownership rules is a blow to democracy. That 3-2 decision modifies the...
One,Reporter's,Opinion:,The,FCC,and,Media,Ownership,Rules
613
2003-00-16
Monday, 16 June 2003 12:00 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved