What do President Obama, Rupert Murdoch and Rush Limbaugh have in common?
They’re all ignoring a massive public outcry against media consolidation by favoring new rules that would allow conglomerates to gobble up more local media across America.
By signing this letter to the Federal Communications Commission, you’re joining thousands of people who have already told the agency to stop this latest attack on independent media.
I am joining with tens of thousands of Americans to urge you to foster more independent media outlets across the United States. We need your agency to expand media ownership opportunities for women and people of color. Given our nation’s diversity, we need more independent stations to provide communities with diverse programming and a range of viewpoints.
More media mergers translates into less of the news and information people really need. Please abandon any proposal that would leave communities with fewer voices and fewer choices in local media.
And the public response has been overwhelming: So far more than nine out of every 10 comments to the FCC opposes letting broadcasters snatch up even more media outlets.
President Obama was once an outspoken opponent of media consolidation. In 2007, he said that protecting local, independent and diverse media was “critical to the public interest.”
But times have changed. The president has failed to speak up as his FCC has sided with Murdoch and big-media lobbyists in a push for unchecked consolidation.
Last year, Obama also stood on the sidelines while his FCC approved the Comcast-NBC Universal merger — one of the largest and potentially most disastrous media mergers in history.
Now Obama’s FCC is on the verge of weakening the rule that prevents one company from owning both broadcast stations and newspapers in the same market.
Murdoch has long lobbied Washington for this change, which would allow News Corp. to buy up even more local television stations and newspapers in markets from New York City to San Diego. And it would give Clear Channel, Earth’s largest radio conglomerate — and the company that syndicates Rush Limbaugh’s program to more than 600 stations — the power to dominate the dial even more.
Nobody — not Rupert Murdoch or other powerful media moguls — should be allowed to monopolize our print and broadcast media and crowd out independent voices. But corporate special interests have prevailed up until this point, dictating ownership rules to the FCC.
And the results are appalling: People of color own just 3 percent of our country’s full-power TV stations and just 7.7 percent of all radio stations. Women own just 6 percent of all broadcast outlets.
By creating real limits to media consolidation, the FCC can pave the way for the kind of independent media that a healthy democracy needs. But the agency needs to hear from you first.