Copps called the decision “terrible,” and protested what he called the “slipshod” process that proceeded the vote. Profitable companies are using the political process for profit, said Copps. “We’ve had a dangerous, decades-long flirtation with media consolidation.”
Chairman Kevin Martin said the waivers aren’t new and the decision-making process was fair.
Just treating broadcasting as just another business has led to less localism, he said.
Democratic Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, who also opposed the relaxation, called the vote “a brazen act of defiance” in the face of opposition by Congress. Now it’s up to Congress and the courts to rectify the decision, he said. He also said fellow commissioners learned late last night of a plan to grant waivers for 42 newspaper–TV combinations.
There was no need to act this morning, he said and added that the issue isn’t done.
GOP Commissioner Robert McDowell said the order is “modest.” He continued, “Is the cross-ownership ban still in the public interest? Or is it a millstone around a drowning industry.“ The statute is clear, he said. The FCC is periodically required to review its ownership rules and determine if they’re still in the public interest. The agency must act, said McDowell.
Media Access Project Andrew Jay Schwartzman said the action the commission took “is far more radical, and more outrageous, than what Chairman Martin proposed just a few weeks ago.”