Since the Wall Street Journal is a national newspaper, it has been assumed that Rupert Murdoch’s deal to buy Dow Jones & Company is a non-event as far as the FCC is concerned. Commissioner Michael Copps (D) begs to differ. “It’s interesting to hear the "experts" claim the transaction faces no regulatory hurdles. Not so fast! This deal means more media consolidation and fewer independent voices, and it specifically impacts the local market in New York City. What’s good for shareholders of huge media conglomerates isn’t always what’s good for the public interest or our civic dialogue. We should immediately conduct a careful factual and legal analysis of the transaction to determine how it implicates specific FCC rules and our overarching statutory obligation to protect the public interest. I hope nobody views this as a slam-dunk,” Copps said in a statement.
RBR observation: Beg pardon Commissioner, but you are dead wrong on the law and regulations this time. Just as Gannett is not impacted by the crossownership rule from having the headquarters of USA Today in the Washington, DC market, where it has a TV station, there is no crossownership issue here for the New York market, where News Corporation owns two TV stations and the Wall Street Journal is headquartered. There is an ongoing issue with News Corporation also owning the New York Post under a crossownership waiver, but that is a completely separate matter.