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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 14, 2007 2:40 PM

FCC oversight hearing wrap-up

Posted by Ryan Blethen

Most of the big newspapers have stories about Thursday's Senate Commerce Committee FCC oversight hearing. The theme to most was Kevin Martin's refusal to put off Tuesday's vote on cross-ownership. Most of the committee asked Martin to do so. The Washington Post story can be found here, Los Angeles Times here, and the AP here.
Bob Williams at Consumer Union's Hear Us Now blog has a nice little summary of the hearing.

I was not surprised by Marin's firm rebuff of the senators. He has shown little interest in serving the public by ignore testimony at hearings, and overlooking his own studies that prove the damage done by media consolidation. Angry questions from the Senate at this late date are not going to change his mind.

I thought the most interesting development at the oversight hearing was something said by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.V. He suggested putting any commissioner nominations on hold while the committee works on an overhaul of the FCC. Commerce Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, said that he liked Rockefeller's idea. Broadcasting and Cable have a story about it here.

Martin might be able to head off such drastic action by listening to the near unanimous chorus against media consolidation. A good start would be postponing Tuesday's vote and going through a credible evaluation of the agencies rules.

Look for an edit about Tuesday's vote in Sunday's Seattle Times.

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