Senator demands public FCC vote on media ownership


U.S. CongressMaria Cantwell (D-WA) does not believe the five FCC commissioners should be allowed to hide out on the FCC’s 8th Floor when they vote on what she considers a controversial measure to weaken broadcast/print cross-ownership rules.

“I am calling on you to have a public vote on the media ownership report and order at the next FCC open meeting,” Cantwell wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “You will have the opportunity to publicly explain your rationale for the weakening of the existing media cross-ownership rule and other elements of the report and order. The American public deserves to hear directly from you and the other Commissioners on this critical matter.”

Cantwell continued, “My understanding is that your draft order on media cross-ownership significantly weakens the existing rule and is very similar to your proposed rule released last December and that which was put forward by your Republican predecessor in 2007. FCC rules are supposed to serve the public interest. However, this proposed draft order appears only to serve the interest of large media companies that have made bad business decisions. There is no reason to do this.”

A preliminary agenda for the December meeting has already been made public, and it does not include a broadcast item of any sort, much less a look at the quadrennial review in which ownership rules are considered.

Editor’s note: Thanks to the alert reader who pointed out our slip on the first name of Maria — not Barbara — Cantwell. Fixed…