Voice of reason - Broadcasting & Cable

Voice of reason

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To the list of those who support Rupert Murdoch's quest to own two TV stations and a newspaper in the nation's top market, add the name of Mario Cuomo. Yes, that Mario Cuomo, the eloquent former Democratic governor of New York, who is nothing if not committed to diversity of voices. Cuomo wrote to The New York Times Aug. 16, taking issue with that paper's editorial opposing the FCC waiver that would allow Murdoch to keep WWOR-TV (one of the Chris-Craft stations News Corp. is buying).

The former governor supported Murdoch in his successful 1993 bid to purchase the New York Post and retain WNEW-TV, which required a waiver of the newspaper-broadcast crossownership rules, as does the current purchase. In his letter to the Times, Cuomo said that media diversity in New York had increased since 1993, suggesting that there was even more reason to grant Murdoch this latest waiver.

Putting aside for a moment the issue of whether Murdoch deserves a waiver, the media-concentration issue is too often framed in terms of politics, with the pro-waiver forces seen as the Republican minions of big business and the opponents as Democratic defenders of the vox populi. It is refreshing to have someone with the standing of Cuomo recognize that consolidation is not, per se, a threat to diversity.

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