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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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April 30, 2008 5:23 PM

Congressional investigation of the FCC

Posted by Ryan Blethen

The Washington Post reported today that Federal Communications Chairman Kevin Martin could be called to testify before Congress regarding his handling of the regulatory agency.

The Commerce and Energy Committee, chaired by Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., started investigating the FCC after allegations surfaced accusing Martin of burying studies that did not support his plans for wreaking the media cross-ownership rules and his desire to push a la carte options for cable subscribers.

This is not surprising to anybody who has been following the FCC the past couple of years. Free Press did a detailed study called "Devil in the Details" of Martin's proposed cross-ownership rule. The study showed that the FCC ignored its own findings about the damage done by media consolidation.

No hearings have been scheduled. Hopefully that will happen soon. It will be interesting to watch how the hearings play out while Martin's cross-ownership rule is being challenged in Congress. Both the House and Senate have introduced "resolutions of disapproval." The resolutions would block the new rule from going into effect. The big guns opposed to ownership limits are lobbying Congress to vote against the resolutions.

Congress has a real chance to do right by the citizens it serves by passing the resolutions and thoroughly looking and airing the workings of the FCC.

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