Critics say the eased restrictions would likely lead to a wave of mergers landing a few giant media companies in control of even more of what the public sees, hears and reads.
A decision to relax the nation’s media ownership rules drew fire from organizations that rarely agree on anything. Conservatives and liberals alike joined the criticism targeted mainly at FCC chairman Michael Powell and his two Republican supporters.
Joining to oppose the FCC majority were groups as diverse as the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the National Rifle Association, the National Organization for Women, the Writers Guild of America, the Parents Television Council, Consumers Union and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
CNN Founder Ted Turner was one who opposed the new rules. “They will stifle debate, inhibit new ideas and shut out smaller businesses trying to compete,” he said. “If these rules had been in place in 1970, it would have been virtually impossible for me to start Turner Broadcasting or, 10 years later, to launch CNN.”
Turner looked to the future when younger pioneers want to enter the media business. “When the smaller businesses are gone, where will the new ideas come from? Nor does this trend bode well for new ideas in our democracy -- ideas that come only from diverse news and vigorous reporting. Under the new rules, there will be more consolidation and more news sharing. That means laying off reporters or, in other words, downsizing the workforce that helps us see our problems and makes us think about solutions.”
Much of the opposition developed as a result of public meetings staged in several cities by Democratic FCC commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein.
For more information visit www.fcc.gov.