Watchdog petitions for Hill hearings on News Corp.


Experienced FCC watchers believe that US broadcast licenses held by News Corporation are in little or no regulatory danger as a result of the company’s troubles in the UK. But watchdog Free Press and 70,000 of its closest friends are petitioning Congress for hearings.

Attorney Andrew Schwartzman of the recently defunct Media Access Project told Reuters that “Reagan-era deregulation” has tilted the playing field toward broadcasters and made it very difficult for the FCC to call back a broadcast license.

The FCC would face the additional hurdle involving the lack of evidence that News Corporation has done anything untoward on this side of the Atlantic.

Nevertheless, Free Press is pressing its case. Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron wrote, “The American people expect the media to uncover government and corporate corruption — not contribute to it. It is Congress’ responsibility to investigate corruption and cover-ups of this scale, especially with regard to a company that has been granted numerous licenses to use the public airwaves — an invaluable asset.”

It appended a petition with 70K names seeking a Congressional hearing to its letter to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-WV).

RBR-TVBR observation: We believe that Rockefeller would love to hold a hearing – and a hearing isn’t a trial, it’s just asking a few questions. Don’t be surprised if Free Press gets its wish.

Meanwhile, we believe you’d be more likely to see an old Congressional warrior like Tom DeLay (R-TX) sign up for a TV dancing competition than you are of seeing Rupert Murdoch called before Fred Upton’s (R-MI) House Commerce Committee.

Wait a minute – you say DeLay did what?