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Daily Democracy

Ryan Blethen discusses the press, media and democracy. Daily Democracy is part of the Democracy Papers, a series of articles, essays and editorial opinion examining threats to our freedoms of speech and the press.

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October 24, 2007 5:16 PM

Faulty FCC studies

Posted by Ryan Blethen

Studies used by the Federal Communications Commission to bolster the argument for media consolidation have been called into question by a number of consumer groups. The Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, and Free Press used FCC data to debunk the regulatory agencies own findings. A press release from the consumer groups said, "The new study dismantles claims that removing the ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership would increase local news. In reality, cross-ownership results in a net loss in the amount of local news produced across local broadcast markets."

The release of the study was poorly timed for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. It came out during a Congressional hearing last week that he wants the FCC to vote on media ownership rules by Dec. 18. Evidence contrary to the data Martin might use to jettison cross-ownership rules should give the other FCC commissioners, and Congress pause.

I have printed out the report and will be back with more on this topic.

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