The Republican-majority FCC has relaxed antitrust laws, critics fear further shrinking information diversity
As expected, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 to relax media antitrust laws (In the U.S., media concentration is to be required. As a result, media concentration will continue to increase and, apart from the rough cities, the information situation will become even more one-sided.
As early as the mid-1990s, the regulatory authority was under heavy prere to loosen the restrictions on media ownership dating back to the 1940s and 1950s. Under the telecommunications law signed by Clinton in 1996, the FCC must review regulations every two years.
Excerpt from a page that critics of the relaxation bought in major dailies like the New York Times
The major media groups call them obsolete, because today, with cable and satellite television or the Internet, citizens have a much wider variety of media than was the case when the antitrust laws were passed. A company that owns a radio or television station in a city was not previously allowed to have a daily newspaper there as well. Television stations will also be able to reach 45 percent of households in the future and, with few exceptions, operate multiple stations.
Michael Powell, the Republican chairman of the FCC and son of the U.S. secretary of state, had proposed the relaxation to the other commissioners, which will lead to a coarser media concentration and further reduce the already reduced political spectrum of opinion in the U.S. Together with the two Republican commissioners, he overruled the Democratic party commissioners. After Powell, who claims to have acted in the public interest, calls for the relaxation of antitrust laws just "diversity, competition and local coverage", what critics doubt. After the restrictions on broadcasting stations were lifted in 1996, a rapid process of concentration had already taken place. The political consequences could also be seen. Clear Channel, which 1.The Clear Channel, which owns 225 radio stations, had not only been less than neutral in its promotion of the war against Iraq, but had also organized pro-war demonstrations.
I dissent because today the FCC empowers America’s new media elite with unacceptable levels of influence over the media on which our society and our democracy so heavily depend . . . I see centralization, not localism; uniformity, not diversity; monopoly and oligopoly, not competition.
FCC Commissioner Michael Copps of the Democrats
This favors the large media corporations such as ABC (Disney), CBS (Viacom) and NBC (General Electric), and probably above all Ruppert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which for years has been pushing massively into the American market and, with the Fox channel and the New York Post, has carried out one-sided aggressive reporting in favor of the war supporters. However, media concentration in the U.S. is also being challenged by global media concentration, as can be seen particularly vividly in the Murdoch case. The battle for viewers is decided on the screens, despite the Internet – this was also evident before and during the war in Iraq.