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FCC Commissioners Grilled on Hill

FCC Commissioners Grilled on Hill

Members of the Senate Commerce Committee grilled all five FCC commissioners for more than three hours Wednesday about the new media ownership rules the commission voted Monday to enact.
Displeasure expressed by several lawmakers was bipartisan and pointed.
“I believe the FCC decision rings the dinner bell for the big media conglomerates who are salivating to make a meal out of the nation’s many small media outlets,” said Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat from Oregon.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said she was “frosted” with a statement made earlier by FCC Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy that spoke of the public’s “fear” and misunderstanding of the media ownership issue.
“Just because you sit behind a microphone does not make you smarter. It’s an insult.”
Boxer read aloud portions of letters sent to her and the FCC protesting more media consolidation. One writer stated she no longer listened to radio because of a lack of music choice.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell defended the new rules but said the agency would work with Congress as members consider changes.