FCC Does Media Ownership Redux

On June 28 the FCC voted to restart its project to revise its media ownership rules. The formal Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to begin this process was released last week. The agency last tried to do this in 2003, but most of its proposed changes were blocked by court order in 2004.
The last time around was a near-disaster. Then-chairman Mikey Powell tried to ram through a christmas-load of changes that would have let large media conglomerates get much larger. The FCC tried to use hopelessly biased “research” to justify industry moguls’ wet dreams. Millions of people cried foul on the scheme, and it still took the courts to stop it.
This week the FCC released its introductory proposal for the do-over plan. It’s vague, like the last time, with many more questions than answers. Whereas Mikey Powell really disdained public involvement in the process, present chairman Kevin Martin has pledged a half-dozen public hearings on ownership issues. However, he has not yet pledged to release the “research” that will justify this try at unleashing further media consolidation.
More telling is the fact that he’s just allotted just 120 days for public comment in the opening round.
Media ownership is a defining issue for anyone interested in media reform of any flavor. However, it just doesn’t quite trip my trigger like it should. That is why I plan to rely on the Mediageek for news and analysis, especially since Paul’s promised a multi-part breakdown of just what is at stake in this particular proceeding.
Additionally, Free Press has set up Stop Big Media to track developments and make filing comments with the FCC on media ownership relatively pain-free.