Others have spoken: Cue Hinchey


You didn’t need the Hubble Telescope to see this coming. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) is right on top of FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s plans to bring as-yet unrevealed media ownership rules changes up for a vote by mid-December. Hinchey is founding member of the Future of American Media Caucus, and despite the unrevealed nature of the changes, he apparently believes the FCC has an "expedited plan for massive media consolidation." That’s how he headed a release on the matter, written on behalf of 42 Democratic members of the House of Representatives.

"After all of the controversy that this proceeding has generated over the past four years, we believe that another round of public commentary is essential before a final vote," he said. "At its heart, the debate over the future of media ownership in America is a debate over the future of our democracy. Therefore, we hope you will agree that the Federal Communications Commission must do everything it can to be able to honestly say that it is ending this proceeding after having considered every factor on behalf of the public whose airwaves it purports to represent."

He concluded, "Chairman Martin’s proposal would only serve to further shrink an already limited diversity of opinion found among American news outlets. His plan is the exact opposite of what is needed in this country. The FCC ought to be looking for ways to expand the variety of viewpoints and diversity of ownership rather than limiting and further consolidating them."

RBR/TVBR observation: With all due respect, and without taking sides on any possible facet of the issue, we see little use for any further public forums on the topic. They invariably attract the same group of watchdogs: You can agree with them or not, but we’ve all already heard it. In most cases there have been ample representatives of the broadcast community, but the average citizen who attends a forum comes not to praise broadcasters but to grind axes. That is their right, and many of them may have valid points. But we’ve heard them, too. We think this boils down to what Martin thinks he can get past both the 8th Floor and the courts, tempered by the now almost certain response it will attract from Congress. Get ready for lots of noise between now and 12/18/07, and maybe even more noise thereafter.

House letter signers
Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
Ed Pastor (D-AZ)
Susan Davis (D-CA)
Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
Sam Farr (D-CA)
Bob Filner (D-CA)
Mike Honda (D-CA)
Barbara Lee (D-CA)
George Miller (D-CA)
Linda Sanchez (D-CA)
Diane Watson (D-CA)
Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)
Mark Udall (D-CO)
Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL)
Jan Schakowsky (D-IL)
Tom Allen (D-ME)
John Olver (D-MA)
Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO)
Brian Higgins (D-NY)
Nita Lowey (D-NY)
Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)
Jose Serrano (D-NY)
Louise Slaughter (D-NY)
David Price (D-NC)
Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)
Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
Betty Sutton (D-OH)
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
Peter DeFazio (D-OR)
Darlene Hooley (D-OR)
David Wu (D-OR)
Steve Cohen (D-TN)
Jim Cooper (D-TN)
Al Green (D-TX)
Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX)
Jim Moran (D-VA)
Jay Inslee (D-WA)
Adam Smith (D-WA)
Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Gwen Moore (D-WI)
David Obey (D-WI)