Magazine article Editor & Publisher

An FCC Win, Then Static

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

An FCC Win, Then Static

Article excerpt

Newspaper complacency about populist backlash could turn the FCC's cross-ownership ruling into a hollow victory

What could explain the serene silence that newspapers are maintaining in the face of the increasingly widespread challenges to their newly regained -- and as yet unexercised -- right to own TV or radio stations in their home markets? News- papers are acting as if their squeaky- tight win at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) June 2 settled forever the debate on media cross-ownership.

But it's been clear for a while now that this issue was not going away quickly. Before the FCC vote, more than a million messages flooded the agency -- almost all of them opposed to any media de-regulation. Opportunistic politicians raced to catch up with this populist outpouring. While the House last week defeated an outright reversal of the FCC newspaper decision by 254 to 174, many Congressmen said their vote was just tactical: They first wanted a veto-proof margin for legislation knocking back the caps on network TV. Newspapers, they suggested, are next.

Newspapers have no one to blame for their fix but themselves. In the years leading up to the FCC vote, they hewed to a stealth strategy of lobbying insiders, while refusing to engage in any meaningful public discussion. The vast majority of newspapers never wrote a word about media cross-ownership until the very eve of the FCC vote. A Pew Research Center poll last winter reported that an astounding 72% of respondents knew nothing at all about the impending FCC decision. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.