Last week, the Federal Communications Commission voted three-to-two on party lines to approve a measure that would increase media consolidation.
The new approved rule was pushed through by FCC Chair Kevin Martin. This new rule lifts a thirty-year-old ban on companies seeking to own both a newspaper and television or radio station in the same city.
The reaction against the vote has been swift. Close to 200,000 people have signed an open letter urging Congress to overturn the December 18th vote. Less than twenty-four hours after the vote, Democratic Congressmember Jay Inslee and Republican Congressmember Dave Reichert introduced the Media Ownership Act of 2007, that would overturn the new rules by the FCC.
It was Bush-appointed FCC Chair Kevin Martin, now just forty-one years old, who rammed through the rule changes. He’s served President Bush well. As deputy general counsel for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2000, he was active during the Florida recount. Before that, he worked for Kenneth Starr at the Office of Independent Counsel during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Rumor has it he may run for governor of his native North Carolina. His wife, Cathie Martin, was a spokeswoman for Vice President Dick Cheney in the midst of the scandal around the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. She now works on Bush’s communications staff.
Here below is the speech of one of the two dissident FCC commissioners, Michael Copps.