Stop the FCC from Changing Media-Ownership Rules

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The Issue: Limiting Media Consolidation

The Initiative: Tell the Federal Communications Commission you’re concerned about relaxing the rules that limit the number of newspapers and major television and radio stations a corporation may own in the same city.

Watch average people protesting a similar move by the FCC in 2007, in a clip from Bill Moyers Journal

Background: The FCC is considering a behind-closed-doors vote on whether or not to relax a longstanding ban that prohibits a company from owning too many media properties in the country’s 20 largest markets. Some media companies argue that, as audiences increasingly find their news online (instead of buying newspapers or watching television), a combined television-newspaper newsroom owned by one company would allow print and TV reporters to work together and cover more ground with less resources. But critics of the plan point out that consolidating newspapers and television stations would further decrease the diversity of voices in local media and give tremendous power to a handful of media moguls, perpetuating a trend of consolidation over the last three decades.

Click to see FreePress.net's infographic outlining five reasons to care about the FCC's plans to relax rules about media consolidation.

Click to see FreePress.net's infographic outlining five reasons to care about the FCC's plans to relax rules about media consolidation.

The FCC has unsuccessfully tried to change media-ownership rules before, but this latest threat comes just as Rupert Murdoch is considering purchasing the L.A. Times and the Chicago Tribune — the major newspapers in America’s second and third most populous cities. Both are owned by the Tribune company, which is currently emerging from bankruptcy. Under the current laws, Murdoch could not purchase either paper because he owns two television stations in both cities. But if the FCC relaxes the consolidation ban, the legal path would be clear for Murdoch to take ownership of both papers.

The last two times the FCC addressed the issue, they asked for public comments on the change. This time, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski reportedly floated a proposal to relax the rules with no plans for public comments. According to Bloomberg News, the five members of the FCC could vote privately on Genachowski’s proposal before the holidays.

Five Ways to Fight Media Consolidation

1. Submit a filing to the FCC and give them your input. When submitting to the FCC's filing system, Free Press suggests using the proceeding number 09–182, which indicates that you are giving your opinion on the media ownership debate.

2. Sign a petition at FreePress.net and tell the FCC you are against relaxing media ownership laws.

3. Write a letter to the editor of your local news source explaining what's at stake with the FCC's vote.

4. Call your congressional representatives and ask them to put pressure on the FCC to not relax media ownership rules. Ten senators have already sent letters to the FCC.

5. Tweet at your representatives to raise awareness and express your point of view using #StopTheFCC.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jane-Claymore/100002045934614 Jane Claymore

    This will only benefit Rupert Murdoch.

  • http://www.facebook.com/r.n.mcdonald Rob McDonald

    Again? Enough of the Republicans attempts to hijack America from the people, shut down their lying media!

  • http://www.facebook.com/bgrunditz Babo Grunditz

    Another example of the “elite” few attempting to controll the intellectual resourses of the many.Anyone who feels an eliteness by being a member of a body who chooses for the masses should be laid off.

  • Chmee

    You really need to stop with blaming everything on the Republicans. The Democrats aren’t any better. They are both engaged in nefarious works against us, the only difference is that the Republicans are so in-your-face about it and the Democrats are better at looking like they give a rats behind. As Ralph Nader correctly said, the only difference between the two parties is how fast they drop to their knees before their corporate masters.

    All that being said, there are three Democrats and two Republicans on the commission, and if none of them object then no vote takes place. If a vote takes place, and if the Democrats are so righteous as you seem to believe they are, then this is all moot, isn’t it.

  • Chmee

    The article frm Bloomberg is from 11/14/12 and states that the decision will be made 11/16/12. It’s 18 days later. So what really happened? Is this actually a done deal and we’re wasting our time?

  • Anonymous

    Return to the 1970s ownership rules for broadcast and media.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Frank-Luke/100002464576512 Frank Luke

    If and when a town receives info in a limited way from all its venues owned by Big Media, this is not a good thing. Ownership of media venues should be regulated so no one company can have a monopoly in one town, city or area.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stew.akens Stew Akens

    Can we stop with the Mega Corporation and Elitist practices already

  • http://www.facebook.com/Jbrew13 Jack Bernstein

    Did anyone ever really expect an 850+ station single corporate owner? DIVERSITY’S OVER!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Jbrew13 Jack Bernstein

    And common carrier status for wireless and cable (or a lot more municipal systems now).

  • James Ratliff

    I agree 100%!

  • James Ratliff

    Yes!

  • trishlee

    FCC says proceeding number 09-182 does not exist (?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/nancy.freeman.739 Nancy Freeman

    This is typical of all US government agencies–including Congress and all the staffers.
    The biggest welfare system on the planet!

  • James Stimson

    Please read Roger Ebert’s introduction to For The Love Of Mike which is a collection of Mike Royko’s columns….Please don’t let the Trib fall into Murdoch’s hands.

  • MaatMenNefer

    President Christina Fernandez Kirchner of Argentina just expanded media opportunity to women, minorities and indigenous people in that country. But we still are number one for people per capita that are incarcerated. USA,USA,USA

  • http://profiles.google.com/halcat42 Catherine Martinez

    Like President Obama said, “Don’t boo, vote!” Let the FCC, your senators, and your friends know. We haven’t had our full share of real news in years. With an FCC sellout, we will never know what is happening in our world. We barely hear it as it is.

  • Anonymous

    We lost progressive talk in Portalnd, Oregon the Friday after the election, Clear CHannel owned by Bain Capital took it off the public air waves in Seattle and Portland. KPOJ is now Fox sport talk all day! The right is silencing the voice of progressives and facts! Dummy everyone down so corporations can rule-fascism is alive and well in USA!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Chesky/1341104608 James Chesky

    The filing number listed (09–182) is not working on the FCC site.

  • sam gorbatz

    tell the
    bastards to stop being idle and greedy and do a better job with the stuff they’re dumping on us now.

  • Ed McC

    the proceeding 09-182 does not seem to exist..that is the response I got when I tried to file a comment! What gives? Is it too early?

  • TAKE the MEDIA BACK

    DISNEY NEWS is NOT informative. Good Mornign America is adorably fun…but where is our F—-ing NEWS??? Disney Pyramid media structure is not about informing us…it’s about entertaining us with all of their SPIN OFF shows. Murdock gives us what HE wants us to hear…no more. 30 yrs ago Broadcast News said “we’re MAD AS HELL, and NOT going to take it anymore!” How much more CRAP will the FCC let them jam down our throats??? The answer is a LOT MORE…KEEP Yelling Friends…Keep Yelling!!! They have stolen our government, our news, and ALMOST our WILL. Keep YELLING!

  • fred

    Thank you for providing such important programming and providing hope that there are still those genuinely concerned with American freedoms.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.elgee.5 Pat Elgee

    Hey, this is sarcasm!

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.elgee.5 Pat Elgee

    Or country. Look, big business owns Congress. The elected lie to the people to get votes, then represent large corporations that are more international than American while We the People can do without representation. If this goes through, the news will be controlled, slanted, perverted, and the people will be . . . . , even more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.elgee.5 Pat Elgee

    How Romney had the nerve to talk about “entitlements” in such a condesending way drove me nuts. Truly, he, personally, had more “entitlements” than dozens of families, combined, that he put on welfare.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.elgee.5 Pat Elgee

    In CA, I lost my favorite station, PBS-News! Also if you wish to use an antenna instead of cable or ATT for local stations only, now they are disabled! This is the influence of power of “corporate donations” i.e. “BRIBES” to Congressmen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.elgee.5 Pat Elgee

    Not the work of Republicans? Remember Romney wanted to stop funding to PBS, more to keep the news stations quiet than to silence Big Bird.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pat.elgee.5 Pat Elgee

    We have “Taxation without Representation.” This is what go in the pockets of our Congress, elected to represent We the People.

    Actually the numbers are suppose to be 1998-2012, but last year alone ATT spent $70 million. Big Oil bet $10 million that I know of on Romney–would be happy they lost the bet if we were not all paying for it at the pump.

    US Chamber of Commerce $885,975,680

    General Electric $274,100,000

    American Medical Assn $274,017,500

    Pharmaceutical Rsrch & Mfrs of America $224,263,920

    American Hospital Assn $223,869,136

    AARP $217,612,064

    National Assn of Realtors $194,515,133

    Cross/Blue Shield $191,197,552

    Northrop Grumman $180,565,253

    Exxon Mobil $176,362,742

    Verizon Communications $167,546,543

    Edison Electric Institute $165,566,789

    Boeing Co $164,139,310

    Business Roundtable $162,910,000

    Lockheed Martin $158,350,688

    AT&T Inc $145,529,336

    Southern Co $138,680,694

    National Cable & Telecommunications Assn $132,340,000

    General Motors $131,704,170

    Pfizer Inc $126,227,268

  • Sharon Weaver

    I have tried to submit a filing to the FCC using the proceeding number 09-182 but it says there is no such filing number. How can I do this?

  • G Wagner

    Such a sad state, the Fourth Estate; “We hold these truths to be self evident…” sadly, not for much longer. 6 Media Corporations, the “News” has not been “news” for the past 20 years. I can channel surf at the top of the Newshour and compare all channels running the same story in the same sequence, and I find now that I have a smartphone for the past two years, the National Evening News at 5:30 CT is practically verbatim the Headlines from the “Breaking News Bytes” I have read on my smartphone 8 hours earlier.
    Any chance of bringing a class action law suit against Grover Norquist, et al.?
    I also received the error message for proceeding 09-182 does not exist.

  • Anonymous

    For those who are not aware or seen robert greenwald’s video documentary ‘Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism’ or Robert Kane Pappas’ ‘Orwell Rolls in His Grave’, then you must google both and watch them, Pappas’ is for free on the internet but robert greenwalds you may have to purchase. Two brilliant video journalists spreading the lowdown on what Big media, the 1%’s crime unit for waylaying democracy and other people aware and telling what it all means which is most about monopolizing the whole media process to be controlled by just 3 or 5 neoconservative owners who work by keeping there jackboots firmly on the neck of democracy to move the 1%’s agendas as they are told to do.

    ‘Outfoxed’ is on YouTube. And so is ‘Orwell Rolls in His Grave’.

  • Lynne

    I have tried to submit a filing. You must include a proceeding #. When I enter 09-182 it is rejected as an invalid #. The dropdown box only goes up to the 150s. Can you get a better number or how you can file without supplying a proceeding #?

    1. Submit a filing to the FCC
    and give them your input. When submitting to the FCC’s filing system,
    Free Press suggests using the proceeding number 09–182, which indicates
    that you are giving your opinion on the media ownership debate.

  • http://www.facebook.com/don.hibschweiler Don Hibschweiler

    It’s time for the FCC to get away from its shiny digital spectrum Tinkertoy for a while and actually do the job for which it was created: regulate the media. This is not the time for more consolidation of the media; it’s time for the re-regulation of American radio and television. Thanks to media consolidation since the Telecommunications Act of 1996, we now have an increasingly smaller core of experienced, trained journalists producing local content for the media. Newspapers, TV and radio stations are already sharing “newsgathering resources” at an unprecedented level, further reducing the core of original reporting being done in local communities. The internet is just a huge pipeline through which we’re fed this shrinking amount of information.

    This is also the time of year when the people who have entertained and informed you on the radio disappear from the airwaves. The media consolidators are leveraged to the hilt. To make their bottom lines conform to their loan agreements, a purging of talent occurs like clockwork at this time of the year to reduce expenses. Merry Christmas.

    Instead of more consolidation, I think it’s time for the FCC to reduce the amount of media outlets a licensee can own or operate in a market. I propose an ownership limit of
    four broadcasting outlets in a local market with no limit on whether they are AM, FM or TV. In markets where four outlets would constitute a majority of the media, then the limit would be capped at 50% of the local broadcasting facilities.

    Consolidators will spin off their weakest outlets, but the FCC should require those outlets be sold to local buyers with preference given to women and minorities. The new licensees must live in the community of license and agree to keep the stations for at
    least two years. The majority of their programming must originate locally. Programming
    standards must meet an updated version of the FCC’s “Public Service Responsibilities for Broadcast Licensees” (also known as the “Blue Book”).

    This mandate for local programming will increase jobs locally and spur competition among local media outlets. Stations that gain success with the invigorated programming standards will eventually trigger the media’s herd mentality. Consolidators still providing
    homogenous programming will have to “get local” or be forced to sell. The FCC will finally put the needs of local listeners ahead of the demands of consolidators and their Wall Street lenders.

  • Lee

    The majority of people still get their news from newspapers and the media’s influence in our society, is far greater than most people realize, We are influenced by it everyday, in large and small ways. It teaches our children, reinforces values, normalizes actions, creates trends and more.

    That ‘s why in most countries (in which we wouldn’t want to live) the media is closely guarded and opposing ideas are censored. Its used to promote propaganda and to reinforce a positive view of its controller’s ideals (remember Germany). It is often the first thing a military coup will try to gain control of if they plan to take over a country and for good reason.

    Wikipedia has some good information on the media’s influence on society and lots of studies have been done. Do you really want one owner of everything you, your neighbors, your children read on a daily basis?

    I should know, I’m a public relations specialist (dealing with newspapers regularly ) and occasionally have an influence on you (the public).

  • Lee

    Edit to the above: Though I’m talking about newspapers, I really mean traditional media outlets including TV.

  • c k

    The FCC website is a design travesty and shows little or no respect towards inssue-driven visitors endeavoring to find any or all relevant documents and bills.

  • GRILLINGGRANNY4210

    In our are, for example – there is a monopoly on which phone and cable system is allowed. THE COMPANY IS CROOKED AND YET WE HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE FOR PHONE SERVICE UNLESS WE USE CELL PHONES.

  • GRILLINGGRANNY4210

    chmee

    I AGREE with you!

  • Sheri Alvandian

    One way for us people to shake big media is to stop participating in the commerce that advertise on big media, until big media addresses people issues. We can make that known verbally and communicate it in whatever way possible to the commercial parties and the media and the government constituents. The time to do it is now, under President Obama.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jeremy.lansman Jeremy Lansman

    -> aknina51: Oh, how scattered the FCC dockets are. A list of all of them should be handy, but I advise you to take a look at my filing in 12-187, where I argue that media, wireline, and wireless are conflating. Wireless broadband, and wireline broadband are now major audio/visual distribution media, for many people, more important than conventional broadcast. To argue about “media” to the Media Bureau may be a lost cause even if you win. Think about big telecom in control of your new internet connected A/V device.