Jay Inslee (D-WA) has introduced a House of Representatives companion measure to go along the Byron Dorgan (D-ND) Resolution of Disapproval, which would prevent the FCC from enforcing its 12/18/07 decision to loosen cross-ownership restrictions in the top 20 DMAs. And this time, former Reps Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Tom DeLay (R-TX) aren’t around to block it.
At this point, Inslee can claim a bipartisan roster of co-sponsors, but the list is a short one and includes only one Republican, fellow Washington-stater Dave Reichert (R-WA). The others are Louise Slaughter (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), who never seems to be far from the action when broadcast matters come before the House, and is more often than not sponsoring it himself.
"Consolidation already has brought us to the point where two companies control 70% of market revenue in an average radio market," said Inslee. "We need to use every tool available to prevent further weakening of media-ownership rules."
Reichert added, "While I respect the free market, I believe it is a role of government to stand between corporations and consumers when the public interest is at stake. We want local media to remain local, diverse and free. Relaxing restrictions does not serve our citizens, and we re taking further action to prevent these changes from negatively affecting our communities and the families at home. We have heard from our constituents loud and clear on this issue and will continue to do what we can to maintain the diverse, free and unbiased source of news that they clearly value."
RBR/TVBR observation: The last time Dorgan attempted this maneuver it received bipartisan approval in the Senate but was indeed blocked in the House. Then the Third Circuit weighed in on the Prometheus case and at least temporarily and rendered it moot. We hear that a whole truckload of lawsuits on the topic is being shipped out to the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco, so history may be repeating itself, resulting in nothing much conclusive happening in the foreseeable future.