Borrowing one of the most famous slogans of the Nixon administration in the 1970s, FCC Chairman Michael Powell said last week a â€śsilent majorityâ€ť of the nation backs his initiative to change media ownership rules.
Powell dismissed as â€śgarbageâ€ť charges that most Americans were uninformed about the issues surround the ownership vote. In an interview at the National Cable & Telecommunications Association annual meeting in Chicago, Ill., Powell, who led the Republican majority approving the changes, said he thinks most Americans are unconcerned by the FCC's moves.
â€śI don't accept the premise that the public wasn't informed. How is it that you have half a million comments but somehow the public wasn't informed? I have e-mails; I have letters; I have telephone calls. We have a 60-person call center that logged calls all day. We had more public response on this issue than any other issue Iâ€™ve seen in my tenure as a commissioner and chairman since 2001."
Critics of the vote â€” both Republicans and Democrats â€” have charged that Powell rammed the rules change through without adequate debate. Republicans, who control the commission, passed the rules by a single vote margin.
Leading Democrats and critics of media consolidation have said the changes undermine diversity and local perspective in media.
â€śIf members of the public arenâ€™t as excited as you or donâ€™t care as much as you, it doesn't mean they arenâ€™t informed,â€ť Powell said. â€śThere was a really dramatic misunderstanding of the substance of what was at issue.â€ť
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