Comments on the New FCC Media Ownership Limits
June 2, 2003
"I must punctuate one irreducible point: Keeping the rules exactly as they are, as some so stridently suggest, was not a viable option. Without today's surgery, the rules would assuredly meet a swift death. As the only member of this Commission here during the last biennial review, I watched first hand as we bent to political pressure and left many rules unchanged. Nearly all [the rules] were rejected by the court because of our failure to apply the statute faithfully. I have been committed to not repeating that error, for I believe the stakes are perilously high. Leaving things unaltered, regardless of changes in the competitive landscape, is a course that only Congress can legitimately chart."
-- FCC Chairman Michael Powell's June 2 statement media ownership limit changes made by his agency
"This decision further allows the already massive television networks to buy up even more local TV stations, so that they control up to an unbelievable 80 or 90 percent of the national television audience. Where are the blessings of localism, diversity and competition here? I see centralization, not localism; I see uniformity, not diversity; I see monopoly and oligopoly, not competition."
-- FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps offering a dissenting view on the June 2 rule changes
"Now that the FCC has acted, Congress must step up and exercise its legislative and oversight responsibility to review these new media ownership rules and alter them in a manner that serves the public interest."
-- House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland response to the FCC decision
"A lot of Republicans, in fact, probably most of the Republicans in Congress, would not agree with this decision."
-- Senator Trent Lott of Alabama on the FCC's decision to allow companies (networks) to own TV stations that can reach up to 45% of U.S. TV households, a move that eliminates the previous 35% limit.
"This is such a disastrous procedure and findingÖThis (media) concentration is absolutely against the interests of the public."
-- Sen. Fritz Hollings of South Carolina
"If ever we needed an example of what is wrong with the in which the FCC handles issues of media ownership, the fight over these rule changes provides itÖWe have seen that, at the FCC, the regulators do not regulate the industry. It's the opposite -- the industry regulates the regulators. And that has to change."
-- U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont
"The idea that the FCC and render an objective, independent judgment about media ownership is laughable."
-- Charles Lewis, director, Center for Public Integrity
"[The FCC has] weakened the very fabric of our democracy. Fewer owners of the mass media means fewer voices will be heard, fewer opportunities for discourse and debate will be available and, ultimately, there will be fewer options for those who seek alternative and minority viewpoints."
-- Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy
Compiled by C3 Staff