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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 8:28 AM

FCC oversight hearing II

Posted by Ryan Blethen

The opening statements from the commissioners was as expected. Kevin Martin said that he is simply doing what is mandated by Congress, and that the process was much more open than the last time the FCC tried to increase media consolidation in 2003.

Democrats, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, are upset, as they should be. Copps implored the Senate to stop what he probably will not be able to obstruct. Adelstein did good by pointing out the obvious. Nowhere in the country are people clamoring for the FCC to get rid of the cross-ownership band, an action that would allow a company to own a newspaper, broadcast outlet, and an Internet Service Provider in the same market.

I am not sure Republican commissioner Deborah Tate has paid attention to what she has seen this past year. She chirped on about the 'iGeneration' and the incredible diversity of media 'platforms.' She proudly mentioned that one of the FCC's media ownership hearings was held in her home town of Nashville. Be interesting how she votes on Martin's plan Tuesday. The commission was told in great detail how media consolidation has hurt the country music industry, and the press in Nashville. That hearing should have been enough to convince her to vote against Martin's plan. The most bizarre thing she suggested was a Wall Street conference to find ways to get women and minorities invested in the media. Why would Wall Street spend time on something that it has never thought made sense to the bottom line.

Commissioner Robert McDowell gave a safe statement about how the media landscape is different now than it was 30 years ago.

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