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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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November 12, 2007 3:47 PM

Bipartisan support

Posted by Ryan Blethen

The Pacific Northwest showed up in large numbers for Friday night's FCC media ownership hearing. People made the drive from Idaho and Oregon to join the crowd of about 800 in Town Hall. A good showing considering the short notice given for the hearing.

What I found the most impressive was the bipartisan message against media consolidation. Gov. Christine Gregoire's fiery speech was echoed by Republican state Attorney General Rob McKenna, and Republican King County Councilmember Reagan Dunn. The state's delegation weighed in via video. Maria Cantwell, Jay Inslee, and Dave Reichert all opposed changes to media ownership rules.

As expected, the crowd was overwhelmingly against media consolidation. The only people I heard encourage the FCC commissioners to loosen media ownership rules were the broadcasters on the first panel. I left shortly after the second panel, but would guess that the second round of public testimony was identical to the first round. Aggressively opposed to any plans to allow conglomerates to own more.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is expected to release his changes to media ownership rules this week. I cannot imagine he was swayed by the Seattle hearing. Hopefully the bipartisan showing, and the audience's passion can persuade one of the other two Republicans on the commission.

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