A member of the House who exhibited a keen interest in broadcast issues despite not being a member of the prime Energy and Commerce Committee is sitting in his final Congress. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) was the founder of the anti-consolidation Future of American Media Caucus.
Hinchey’s decision is based on both age and health, according the The Hill – he’s 73, and he’s been battling colon cancer. The good news is that he has been declared free of the disease by doctors.
The Hill noted his status as one of the most liberal members of the House. His primary assignment is the powerful Appropriations Committee.
The lack of a seat at Commerce did not stop him from weighing in frequently on broadcast issues, although not so much lately.
Here is his statement on his caucus: “As a founder and chairman of the Future of American Media Caucus in Congress, I care deeply about the state of America’s media. I believe that a free press, including television, radio, newspapers, and the Internet, is essential to a well-functioning democracy. In the past few decades, thousands of independently-owned television and radio stations and newspapers have disappeared. As more and more media outlets become owned by only a handful of companies, the public has become limited in the number of points of view available. This is harmful to our democracy and we must work to ensure Americans have access to a wide range of ideas and perspectives.”
Hinchey’s principals led him to oppose the Comcast/NBCU joint venture, which he viewed as being anti-competitive and anti-consumer.