Published on Save Access (

Does Congress Have the Resolve to Disapprove of Big Media?

By saveaccess
Created 12/18/2007 - 10:39pm

Does Congress Have the Resolve
to Disapprove of Big Media?

By Scott Sanders and Mitchell Szczepanczyk
Chicago Media Action

Chicago Media Action (CMA) is dismayed at the FCC's repeal of the
TV-newspaper cross-ownership rule. The FCC has ignored nearly unanimous
public input opposing media concentration -- including hundreds of
Chicagoans who attended a September 2007 FCC hearing in Chicago to
air their opposition to the FCC firsthand. The undemocratic and
dysfunctional FCC ignores such widespread sentiment at its peril.

The FCC's "slight" revision of the rule is so loophole-laden that it
would leave the rule practically eviscerated. Moreover, the newspaper
industry, by its own assessment and despite recent downturns, is not
"dying" but rather is hugely profitable and will be for the foreseeable

Worse, the FCC stands accused of preferential treatment when it recently
awarded the Tribune media colossus a controversial series of waivers
which lets the Tribune keep its extant cross-ownership holdings. WGN-AM
and WGN-TV received unprecedented permanent waivers. Without these
controversial waivers, the Tribune would be forced to divest media
properties as a part of its sale to billionaire Sam Zell.

Instead, the FCC's sweetheart deal has now opened the door to the
following: no meaningful voice for the Tribune's new majority owners --
its workers -- and other media employees elsewhere (though FCC policy
states owners must exercise control), lower standards of journalism and
reduced diversity of media voices in Chicago and throughout the country,
and the continued plunder of the public interest and what's left of our

The FCC lost a media ownership rule rewrite attempted by former FCC
chair Michael Powell -- lost in Congress, in the courts, and in the
court of public opinion. CMA hopes that we see a repeat of the 2003
fight, with an even more resounding victory for the public.

At a minimum, CMA calls for Congressional action to override the FCC,
including the use of a "Resolution of Disapproval" to stop the agency
cold. (In 2003, the Senate did approve such a resolution.) CMA also
hopes that relief on the issue can come again in the courts. Lastly,
CMA calls for the stations thus emancipated to then be earmarked to
concerns owned by women and ethnic and racial minorities, to raise those
groups' otherwise dismal media ownership levels.


Scott Sanders 847-679-8032
Mitchell Szczepanczyk 773-641-2151

More info:

Source URL: