Dec 22 2011

Cantwell Statement on FCC Move to Weaken Media Ownership Rules

Cantwell: ‘Increased media consolidation may be good for Wall Street, but it is bad for Main Street’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement after the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to move ahead with a notice of proposed rulemaking that would enable large media companies to more easily own a daily newspaper and operate a television or radio station in the same market.

The FCC last tried to move ahead with easing media ownership rules in 2007, under former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. In the end, the FCC was unsuccessful in enacting new rules. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals remanded Martin’s rules back to the Commission as a result of legal challenges by public-interest groups.

In the Senate, 27 U.S. Senators, including Cantwell and then Senators Barack Obama and Joe Biden, co-sponsored Senator Dorgan’s ‘Resolution of Disapproval’ of those rules. On May 15, 2008, the Senate passed the Resolution of Disapproval.

“I am extremely disappointed by the FCC’s actions today in once again reviving Martin’s rules,” said Senator Cantwell. “Chairman Martin’s rules were merely a bailout for big media companies that incurred debt from poor investment decisions.

“Resurrecting these rules will have far-reaching impact. While increased media consolidation may be good for Wall Street, it is bad for Main Street. This decision will determine whether Americans have access to independently gathered news from diverse voices in their local communities. The American people deserve better than this proposal.”

###