WASHINGTON, DC - May 15 - In a near-unanimous voice vote tonight, the Senate passed a "resolution of disapproval" that would nullify the Federal Communications Commission's latest attempt to dismantle longstanding media ownership limits.
Last December, the FCC voted to remove the "newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership" ban that prohibits one company from owning a broadcast station and the major daily newspaper in the same market. The resolution of disapproval (Senate Joint Resolution 28), introduced by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), would nullify the FCC's new rules if passed by Congress and signed by the president. The House version of the resolution was introduced by Reps. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.) and Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) in March.
Today, the Bush administration issued a statement opposing the resolution and threatening to veto it. The statement called the FCC's new rules the product of "extensive public comment and consultation" but failed to mention that only 1 percent of public comments supported the administration's position.
Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, which coordinates the StopBigMedia.com Coalition, made the following statement:
"Today's historic Senate vote is a resounding victory for the vast majority of Americans who oppose media consolidation. We applaud the bipartisan leadership of Senators Dorgan and Snowe for acting in the public interest. But to stop Big Media from polluting our local airwaves with more junk journalism and propaganda, we need the House to move this legislation forward quickly.
"At this watershed moment, public outrage against Big Media has reached a breaking point. The Bush administration's threats to undercut this bipartisan effort in Congress show how out of touch this president is with the will of the American people. But we’re not going to stand idly by and let the White House green light Big Media's expansion. The great pendulum of political change is swinging away from corrosive consolidation and toward better media."
Read the FCC's cross-ownership order: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-07-216A1.pdf
Learn more about the FCC's new rules: http://www.stopbigmedia.com/files/devil_in_the_details.pdf
Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net