Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who
have already written the FCC to express their displeasure with a media
ownership item circulated for a commissioner vote, have scheduled a press
conference for 10:30 a.m. Thursday to put an exclamation point on their
They argue the proposal, which loosens and/or lifts limits
on cross-ownership limits, would result in consolidation of news outlets that
"limits public access to unbiased information about important issues,
limits independent voices, hurts local news and community affairs coverage,
eliminates competition and discourages diversity in ownership."
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski's representatives have
countered that the commission is, instead, "eliminating outdated
prohibitions on newspaper-radio and TV-radio cross ownership" while
retaining protections for competition, diversity and localism--the proposal
does not eliminate the restrictions on TV/newspaper cross-ownership, retains
local ownership caps and even proposes expanding them by counting some joint
sales agreements towards those limits, as it already does in radio.
Genachowski has already effectively delayed
a vote on the item until at least early next year by extending the comment
deadline on a biennial media ownership survey that helped inform that item.