Foxes guarding the henhouse

This is about media consolidation, but not about Fox News.

The FCC voted today on 3-2 party line vote to ease ownership restrictions on media companies, as reported in Reuters.

The FCC voted 3-2, along party lines, to ease the 32-year-old ban on ownership of a newspaper and broadcast outlet in a single market.

Now I am proponent of regulations, but when a party orthodoxy carries on with the anti-regulation legacy that gained momentum under Reagan, with appointees to regulatory bodies, we need to watch the foxes.  I think Senator Rockfeller nailed it as reported in a different Reuters article.

Another member of the committee, Democrat John Rockefeller of West Virginia, complained that the FCC “appears to be more concerned about making sure the policies they advocate serve the needs of the companies they regulate and their bottom lines rather than the public interest.”

Rockefeller said the committee should write legislation next year that “addresses the structure of the agency, its mission, the terms of the commissioners, and how to make the agency a better regulator, advocate for consumers and a better resource for Congress.”

To me this feels like the attempts by professional sports team owners to get public funding for their stadiums.  They will just keep working at it until they wear you down, or they sneak it through.  Back in 2003, the FCC had a similar vote.  The next month the House voted 400-22 to block the rule change.   Read the timeline at NOW (only goes through 2004).

-Josh

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