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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 13, 2007 8:01 AM

Commerce Committee FCC oversight hearing

Posted by Ryan Blethen

The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee's Federal Communication Commission oversight hearing got off to a late start. No surprise considering the meeting involves the FCC, which has had a heck of a time staring its meetings on time. I am not in Washington, D.C. Sitting on my couch watching the hearing on C-SPAN 3.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., opened the hearing with a statement before he left for an appropriations meeting. Dorgan set the tone saying that he believes FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's plan to jettison the cross-ownership ban is a very bad idea. He urged his colleagues to be tough on the FCC commissioners.

I think there are a lot of questions here that need to be asked.
He concluded by saying that the commissioners should reject the chairman's plan, and give media ownership a more substantive review.

If the commissioners do not, Dorgan might be able to derail Martin's efforts to increase media consolidation. The commerce committee has approved his bill, the Media Ownership Act of 2007, which would force the FCC to take more time on rule changes, and create a panel to study media ownership for minorities and women.

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