Watchdog trying to prod House disapproval


The Senate has already passed the Resolution of Disapproval which would remove all effect from the FCC’s 12/18/07 relaxation of broadcast/newspaper cross-ownerhip rules. Watchdog StopBigMedia is now trying to get some action in the House of Representatives, and is directing a click-and-send campaign at members of Congress.

H.J. Res. 79 has been introduced by Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Dave Reichert R-WA) as a companion to Byron Dorgan’s (D-ND) Senate effort. If passed, it faces a likely presidential veto on recommendation of Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez.

Here is the recommended language StopBigMedia is asking its supporters to send to their reps. The watchdog asks that each participant find a way to personalize or otherwise modify the message.

“Please overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to dismantle longstanding media ownership limits. By co-sponsoring the bipartisan Resolution of Disapproval (H.J. Res. 79) introduced by Reps. Jay Inslee and Dave Reichert, you will be taking a stand with me for quality journalism, local news and competition in the media. Media consolidation means fewer perspectives and less of the news our communities need. When the FCC voted last December, it ignored nearly universal public opposition to consolidation — just like it did in 2003, when the Senate voted to overturn similar FCC rule changes. The FCC’s recent decision to let Big Media get even bigger will erode localism, diminish minority ownership and decrease competition. By an overwhelming majority, the Senate has voted to reject the FCC’s action. Please take a similar stand for better media in the House by supporting the Resolution of Disapproval.”

RBR/TVBR observation: The last time Dorgan tried this he succeeded in the Senate, was blocked in the House, and was saved by the courts. This time, he will likely succeed in the House, lose at the White House, and may yet again be saved by the courts. It is also possible it will wither and die on the vine without any House action, since in an election year time is short and must-pass legislation often drowns out lesser matters. But it’s always possible that the measure will be seen as easily-picked low-hanging fruit and is fast-tracked through the chamber. We’ll be watching.