FCC’s Moment of Clarity

Former FCC commissioner Michael Copps (2001–2009), writing about media consolidation, in an editorial published in Columbia Journalism Review:

I would be spending untold hours listening to big media tell me how their latest merger proposal would translate into enormous “efficiencies” and “economies of scale” to produce more and better news. Meanwhile, everywhere I looked, I saw newsrooms like yours being shuttered or drastically downsized, reporters getting the axe, and investigative journalism hanging by the most slender of threads. Instead of expanding news, the conglomerates cut the muscle out of deep-dive reporting and disinvested in you.

The whole piece is worth a careful read as he confirms everything public interest groups warned would happen if his agency approved the accelerated consolidation of media outlets: diminished newsrooms, lack of competition, a suppression of news covering media ownership.

He also warns that without network neutrality, the Internet has no chance to liberalize journalism and media industries as a whole. This also echoes the years-long warnings of public interest groups, such Free Press, and scholars, such as Tim Wu.

Finally, he recommends reforming the FCC so that it doesn’t favor the interests of media corporations at the expense of public interest.

Obama, can you reappoint him, please?

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