Copps Criticizes Convention Cutbacks


Democratic FCC Commissioner Michael Copps took aim at convention coverage in a New York Times op ed piece Monday.

Copps complained that while broadcasters would reap close to $1.5 billion from political ads, most were not covering the convention's first night.

TV executives tell us that the convention and campaign coverage provided by the cable channels is sufficient," Copps wrote. "I don't think so. Around 35 million Americans don't get cable, often because they cannot afford it. To put it in perspective, that's more than the combined populations of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Furthermore, broadcasters legally undertake to serve the public interest themselves in exchange for free spectrum - their licenses don't allow them to pass the buck to cable."

Copps also pointed out that cable coverage is not local but national coverage, using the conventions to seque into criticisms of media consolidation, "rubber-stamp" station renewals.

Whether we are Democrats, Republicans or independents, we all can agree that democracy depends on well-informed citizens. So as you flip through the channels tonight while the convention is largely ignored, consider whether TV broadcasters, sustained by free access to the public airwaves in exchange for programming in the public interest, are holding up their end of the deal.