A Federal Communications Commission study ignored Economics 101 when it
concluded that network owned-and-operated stations aired more local news than affiliates, the
Network Affiliated Stations Alliance and the National Association of
Broadcasters said Monday.
The study failed to consider that O&Os are more prevalent in the larger
markets, which are most capable of supporting strong newscasts, the groups said in a filing
to the FCC.
Failure to compare newscasts within similar markets violates a basic tenet of
economics -- that all variables but the one examined must be held constant.
Failure to hold other factors constant is a "common fallacy" of economists,
the groups argued, quoting Paul Samuelson, Nobel laureate and principal author of
Economics, the most well-known introductory economics text.
The local news study was one of several the FCC issued recently to support
sweeping revisions to media-ownership rules.
The NASA and the NAB are fighting the major networks' effort to increase the 35
percent cap on one company's TV-household reach.