If you pay attention to the Federal Communications Commission (and really, who doesn't?), you probably know that its chairman is Michael K. Powell, son of Secretary of State Colin Powell. You also know that Powell has spearheaded efforts to reduce regulation of media companies and allow television giants to grow bigger still, leaving regions across America informed and entertained by fewer and fewer entities.
Extremely interested parties have been keeping their fingers crossed, including the major networks: Viacom's
Many assumed that deregulation was inevitable, given the prevailing pro-deregulation stance in Washington and the FCC's 3-2 partisan split on the measure. But surprising things have been happening.
The proposal has been opposed by such disparate organizations as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the National Organization for Women, Common Cause, the pro-life Family Research Council, and the National Rifle Association. Republicans in the Senate joined with Democrats to vote against it and now the House is likely to oppose it as well (a vote is set for today). If not, President Bush has been advised to veto. Wow.
We've seen this sort of deregulation before -- in radio. When ownership restrictions were eased, major players, most notoriously Clear Channel Communications
Do we want to see this play out in television? Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) apparently doesn't. In his words, [preventing this deregulation] "is essential to preserving the localism, diversity and competition in our airwaves -- standards that are needed for a vibrant democracy." Coming through, loud and clear.
If you have an opinion on this matter, contact your congressional representative and share it. If you'd like to learn more, read this New York Times article (free registration required) and this one from BusinessWeek . In the meantime, drop in on ourCurrent Eventsdiscussion board to see what Fools are thinking. We offer a painless free trial of our vibrant discussion board community -- give it atry. Fooldom stands for a diversity of voices and opinions -- that's why we built our forum where so many can converse.