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Press Release of Senator Cantwell

Cantwell: "The FCC Is Getting It Absolutely Wrong"

Media Plays an Important Role in Democracy; FCC Is Taking Us in the Wrong Direction

Thursday, December 13,2007

WASHINGTON, DC – Thursday, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) attended a Senate Commerce Committee hearing where she heard from the five Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioners. At the hearing, Cantwell expressed her concern that the FCC’s proposed new rules will increase media consolidation and hurt competition, diversity, and localism. Cantwell also challenged Chairman Kevin Martin’s underlying assumption that eliminating the long standing ban for a daily newspaper and a television station to have common ownership in the same market will save the newspaper industry – an industry not regulated by the FCC.
“The public is already skeptical that increased media consolidation is in their best interest,” said Cantwell.  “Public hearings were held that had that check the box feeling, mere lip service was paid to localism and women and minority ownership issues, and the public has had limited time to comment on the proposed rule. All this adds up to a general lack of transparency. The FCC is getting it absolutely wrong.”
Martin introduced his proposed rules on November 13, 2007, four days after the FCC held a public hearing on media ownership in Seattle, where almost 800 Washingtonians spent nine hours sharing their viewpoints. Martin plans to bring the proposed rule up for a vote on December 18, 2007, even though the public has had only three weeks to comment, and the FCC has had one week to review those comments.
In November, Cantwell joined Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Trent Lott (R-MS) in introducing the Media Ownership Act of 2007 to restore a deliberative process to the FCC’s rulemakings on localism and media ownership and give the public enough time to comment on proposed rules.
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