The vaunted explosion of media outlets does not justify Federal
Communications Commission plans to revise broadcast-ownership rules, consumer
groups said Monday, because TV and newspapers remain overwhelmingly the source
The Internet "has not arrived as an independent source," and some cable news
channels do almost no original reporting, said Mark Cooper, research director
for the Consumer Federation of America.
"All of that might happen, but you can't write rules based on hope and hype,"
he told reporters during a briefing.
He said the FCC should tighten broadcast-ownership rules to make it harder
for companies to establish local newspaper/TV combos and TV duopolies, adding
that the FCC should rely on Department of Justice standards for approving deals
in highly concentrated markets.
FCC "voice" tests should be tightened so that TV outlets without news
operations are excluded for purposes of determining whether there are enough
stations in a market to permit two TV stations with news operations to be owned
by the same company, Cooper said.