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Groups Charge FCC With ‘Intentional Distortion’

Groups Charge FCC With ‘Intentional Distortion’

Two consumer groups say the FCC’s internal studies supporting its new ownership rules are flawed and give too much weight to radio.
Specifically, an analysis by the Consumer Federation of America and Consumers Union finds the FCC’s Diversity Index “is an intentional distortion of market analysis driven by a desire to allow more media consolidation.”
The Diversity Index is cited in the FCC’s June 2 order as central to determining where to allow newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership mergers. The index weights all media in a market. The consumer groups take issue with those grades and say they produce inaccurate results, under-weighting
the market effects of cross-ownership by the largest players in the market and over-weighting small and non-commercial outlets.
The groups lump radio with the Internet and weekly newspapers as media that are “over-weighted” in the diversity index.
“This index is so nonsensical that it finds the New York Times to be a less meaningful source of news about New York than the Multicultural Radio Corp.,” stated Gene Kimmelman, director of advocacy and public policy, Consumers Union.
In its order, the commission said the point of the index was to look at each type of media in a market and accurately reflect its importance in that market today.