Justices Agree to Decide Challenge to FCC’s Bid to Loosen Media Ownership Rules

October 2, 2020 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear oral arguments in a challenge to the FCC’s efforts to loosen rules that limit media ownership.

The underlying case was brought by Philadelphia-based Prometheus Radio Project, a coalition of low-power radio stations.

Prometheus and others are challenging the FCC’s decision to loosen the rules on the grounds that the commission has not sufficiently considered how such a move would impact broadcast station ownership by women and minorities.

The controversy of media ownership rules has been brewing for decades, and the FCC has been the subject of repeated lawsuits during that time.

Last September, as a result of one of those lawsuits, the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the commission to vacate rule changes implemented three years ago on the grounds it had not adequately defined certain terms that would be used to evaluate stations in terms of revenue and market reach.

The decision effectively reinstated earlier rules that limit the ownership of newspapers and TV stations in the same market, and restored a standing limit on the number of TV and radio stations that a single entity can own in the same market.

“Consolidation harms diversity in ownership and harms local broadcasting,” said Paul Bame of Prometheus Radio Project when the challenge was filed. “Trendy incubators are sleight-of-hand and don’t actually address the diversity requirement.”

According to the 3rd Circuit, the FCC’s analysis of the market impact of allowing entities to own more stations was “so insubstantial that it would receive a failing grade in any introductory statistics class.”

The appeals court also accused the FCC of comparing “apples to oranges” in its long-range study of female and minority station ownership because the commission’s methodologies have changed over the years.

In The News

Health

Voting

Media

Recalling the Pentagon Papers Case, 50 Years On (Part Four)
Media
Recalling the Pentagon Papers Case, 50 Years On (Part Four)
May 12, 2021
by Dan McCue

(This is the fourth and final part of a four-part series. The first three parts can be read here, here and here.) The First Amendment Prevails The Supreme Court’s decision in the Pentagon Papers case, officially, New York Times Co. v. United States, affirmed historical precedents... Read More

Recalling the Pentagon Papers Case, 50 Years On (Part Three)
Media
Recalling the Pentagon Papers Case, 50 Years On (Part Three)
May 11, 2021
by Dan McCue

(This is the third part of a four-part series. The first and second installments can be read here and here.) White House Makes Its Move  Ultimately, the decision to seek prior restraint -- an injunction prohibiting The Times from publishing future articles -- was made by... Read More

Recalling the Pentagon Papers Case, 50 Years On (Part Two)
Media
Recalling the Pentagon Papers Case, 50 Years On (Part Two)
May 11, 2021
by Dan McCue

(This is the second part of a four-part series. The first installment can be read here.) To Publish or Not to Publish Upon his return to Washington, Sheehan and an editor booked a room at the Jefferson Hotel, where they spent weeks reading and summarizing the... Read More

Recalling the Pentagon Papers Case, 50 Years On (Part One)
Media
Recalling the Pentagon Papers Case, 50 Years On (Part One)
May 10, 2021
by Dan McCue

The battle was joined on a Monday night. It was shortly after 7 p.m. on June 14, 1971, when a seething President Richard Nixon telephoned his attorney general, John Mitchell, and told him it was time to make the administration’s position clear to The New York... Read More

Washington Post Says US Secretly Obtained Reporters' Records
Media
Washington Post Says US Secretly Obtained Reporters' Records

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump Justice Department secretly seized the phone records of three Washington Post reporters who covered the federal investigation into ties between Russia and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, the newspaper said Friday. The disclosure sets up a new clash between the federal... Read More

What to Watch During Biden's 1st Big Speech to Congress
Media
What to Watch During Biden's 1st Big Speech to Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is putting the finishing touches on his first address to a joint session of Congress, a prime-time speech on Wednesday night on the eve of his 100th day in office. Biden will use the speech before lawmakers and a broader... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top