Magazine article The Nation

Congress Rebuffs the FCC. (Comment)

Magazine article The Nation

Congress Rebuffs the FCC. (Comment)

Article excerpt

The revolution may, in fact, be televised--and on C-Span, no less. The Congressional revolt against the Federal Communications Commission's loosening of media ownership rules has stunned a Bush Administration that is not used to facing bipartisan opposition on Capitol Hill. On July 23, in an unprecedented rebuff of big media's agenda, the House of Representatives voted 400 to 21 for an appropriations bill that includes language blocking implementation of a rule that would permit a single corporation to own television stations reaching 45 percent of Americans. Then, Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan announced that after the August Congressional recess, he will use a rare "Resolution of Disapproval" to force a Senate vote to reverse both the television ownership measure and a "cross-ownership" rule change that would allow one company to own the daily newspaper and most of the major television and radio stations in a single city.

"I do expect in the Senate there is a very powerful appetite to curb if not all, then certainly a significant part, of the rules the FCC has crafted," said Dorgan, whose co-sponsor is Republican Trent Lott. "The important thing here is to get this matter back at the FCC [and force the commission to] readdress it because there's strong feeling in the Congress, and I believe in the American people, that they did not handle these decisions correctly," declared Lott. While conservative columnist William Safire still marvels at how he is lined up with Code Pink-Women for Peace in the fight with the FCC, it's a fact that opposition to media monopoly makes for strange bedfellows. …

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