Target: FCC commissioners
Goal: Demand FCC commissioners vote no on a proposed rule change allowing cross-ownership of multiple media outlets.
FCC commissioners are privately considering a proposal aimed at weakening longstanding prohibitions against cross-ownership within the 20 largest mass media markets. If voted in favor of by the commission, the rule change would allow for a single corporation to own multiple media outlets in any major metropolitan market, leading to the further consolidation and homogenization of mass media.
Currently, the ban in place prohibits a corporation from owning a television station and newspaper in any major metropolitan city. If the rule change is approved, a corporation would be allowed to own a newspaper, two television stations, as many as eight radio stations and provide internet service in the same market. Unfortunately, this is not the FCC’s first attempt at undermining diversity of viewpoint for the sake of so-called streamlined modernization. During the Bush administration, rule changes such as the one presently being considered behind closed doors were proposed on two separate occasions. Both attempts were met with public outrage, congressional resolutions of disapproval and judicial challenges for blatantly subverting the democratic notion of a free and open press.
The current state of American mass media is anything but representative of a melting pot. With less than 6% of women and 2.2% of racial minorities owning full-power commercial television stations in the United States, now is not the time for exacerbating the problem of equal representation in the media. In the previous two decades, media ownership has shrunk to infinitesimally small proportions with only six corporations owning a whopping 90% of the media. A diverse and decentralized marketplace of ideas is crucial to the cultivation of an informed citizenry. If the FCC wishes to remain true to its founding purpose as a regulator of media, a clear and resounding rejection of the proposed rule change is necessary.
Dear FCC commissioners,
Your latest proposal to relax a rule regulating an already monopolized media is not unfamiliar to the public at large. We have rejected your prior attempts in 2003 and 2007 at placing free expression in the hands of the few and will continue to vehemently oppose the further consolidation of our mass media.
We demand you uphold the integrity of your roles as regulators of an industry that has continually stifled independent voices by allowing for the homogenization of media content. With women and minorities representing a small fraction of total media ownership, your agency cannot afford to further jeopardize diversity of opinion. Clearly your agency needs to ensure greater access to ownership and that starts with taking a firm stance against the proposed rule change.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS