Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) took to the floor of the Senate yesterday to condemn the FCC’s decision to relax cross-ownership rules in the top 20 markets, and promised to reprise the Resolution of Disapproval on the Senate floor in the very near future. He particularly attacked the underpinning justification that there is much more competition now than in 1975 due to new media. "We have more voices, the same ventriloquist." He then proceeded to pull out organization charts for the top communications companies, like News Corp., GE, Disney/ABC, showing how they tend to dominate across all of these media outlets.
"It was unbelievably arrogant, what they did yesterday," said Dorgan, pointing out that the FCC allowed Americans 90 days to discuss the relationship between birds and towers, but only 28 days for the cross-ownership rule.
He said it was unbelievable that the FCC thinks we need more media consolidation. He repeatedly attacked the practice of "voice-tracking" as the antithesis of localism, and once again brought up the Minot train derailment and the lack of an overnight Clear Channel employee at that company’s six-station cluster to help get work out to local citizens.
RBR/TVBR observation: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin would argue that Americans had much more opportunity to voice their opinion on media ownership than they did on birds and towers, but at this point, that would hardly seem to matter. The media ownership issue has reached a boiling point in which opponents seem to have zero-tolerance for even the slightest further relaxation.