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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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December 12, 2007 3:59 PM

Cross-ownership vote

Posted by Ryan Blethen

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin has scheduled a Tuesday vote on cross-ownership. Reuters has a story here. The move comes as no surprise. Martin had said for more than a month that he would be seeking a Dec. 18 vote.

The hope was that after listening to the nearly unanimous public outcry for keeping the cross-ownership rule - which bans a company from owning a newspaper, television station, and radio station, in the same market - that Martin would relent, or at the very least slow down. That hope was squashed after Martin reveled his plan encouraging media consolidation only four days after the last FCC media ownership hearing in Seattle on Nov. 9.

My guess is that he will have the votes from the other two Republicans on the commission. The Democrats will surely vote no. That leaves it in the hands of Congress. There is a bill moving through the Senate that would blow up Martin's plan. It passed the Commerce Committee but still needs to be approved by the full Senate.

Now would be a good time to contact your Congressmen and Senators and tell them what the FCC has ignored: Media consolidation must be stopped.

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