Appeals Court Tosses FCC's Media Ownership Rules

from the does-it-really-matter? dept

You may recall that, four years ago, the Kevin Martin FCC pushed through (despite massive complaints from people) some incredibly meek media ownership rule relaxations. As you may know, there were existing rules that said the same company couldn’t own a newspaper along with a local TV station. The reasoning behind this was the fear that a single operator of both the paper news and broadcast news would dominate the local news dissemination business and could influence the public too much. Of course, in the age of the internet, that seems really silly. And the FCC’s rule change was incredibly minor. As we wrote at the time:


In the top 20 media markets, newspapers can merge with a single radio or TV station — but not if that TV station is one of the top 4 stations in that market. In other words, newspapers who are struggling to get beyond just being newspapers can finally expand into other media areas. I can’t understand why people are freaked out about this. At best, a newspaper can now own a tiny radio or TV station. The fear of only one point of view getting through is totally laughable for a variety of reasons. First, there are more sources of media than ever before in history — by a long shot. To think that a single TV station or newspaper can dominate the conversation is laughable. Second, since it can’t involve a top 4 TV station, it’s hard to believe that this new entity will have all that much dominance in the market.

But people still went crazy about this and lawsuits were filed. Over in the Third Circuit, a court has now dumped the new rules on what appears to basically be a technicality. Apparently, the FCC “”failed to meet the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act” to make this change. The standard procedure requires 90 days of response time, but Kevin Martin only gave people 28 days to comment.

Again, this whole thing seems pretty silly. Even if people still rely on broadcast news, this simply isn’t going to have that big of an impact.

Filed Under: , , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Appeals Court Tosses FCC's Media Ownership Rules”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
13 Comments
Javarodsays:

What’s interesting about this is that while the promise is that the merger would only be with a smaller station within a market, here in Phoenix, Gannet (owner of the Arizona Republic, USA Today and around 60 local papers) has a deal with the local NBC station (merger, partnership, ?) that started with a website, azcentral.com While its not exactly a threat since as this article states there are a lot of other news sources, it challenges the claim that such connections will be limited to local papers and local stations.

Daddy Warbucksays:

Future concerns?

Point taken, it?s a minor issue in the present.

Now extrapolate into the future, say 5-10 yrs. What unintended consequences could arise from consolidated “media”? I use the term media lightly due to probable changes in the term used by the courts and some yet unforeseen platform.

Could Wireless or WiFi or unused spectrums become a media defined by legal maneuvers?

Re: Re: I could not dis-agree more

I think we should step back and realize that the number of people who get their news online is tiny compared to the number who get news via major media. This is a VERY real problem.

(1) Define “tiny”. While I agree that a majority of people still get news from major media, I think you underestimate the actual ratio and the trend line.

(2) Even if your first statement is true, you don’t explain why this is actually a “problem.”

Scott Yatessays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: I could not dis-agree more

From a Frontline piece on media:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/newswar/part3/stats.html

On a typical day…
57% of Americans watch TV news
54% watch their local news
34% watch cable news channels
28% watch the nightly network news
23% watch the morning news programs (The Today Show, Good Morning America, etc.)

40% of Americans read a newspaper

36% of Americans listen to news on the radio

23 % of Americans get news online
18% visit news aggregators (Google News, Yahoo! News, AOL News, etc.)
14% visit national TV networks’ sites (CNN.com, MSNBC.com, ABCnews.com, etc.)
14% visit newspaper Web sites
4% visit news blogs
3% visit online news magazines (Slate.com, Salon.com, etc.)

I admit that these stats are a little old (2006), but it bears repeating: We (online news readers) are NOT the majority.

The reason it seems like a problem to me:

If one company owns all the local (and possible a majority of national) news outlets (tv, radio, newspaper, etc) they get to decide what gets covered. Nothing that makes THEM look bad of course. Nothing that goes against their owners views. No political ads for the guy they don’t like that might be running for senate. If they OWN all the local media, that seems like an AWFUL lot of undue influence.

Do we really want fox news to own ALL the local news outlets for example?

Am I really missing something here?

Does this not seem like a bad thing?

Richardsays:

Given that people tend to watch the news that reflects their views, and not watch news that doesn’t, I don’t really see how this means anything at all anyway. If all the tv/newspaper etc news in an area is putting forward one point of view, then people who agree will read it and say “yes, you’re right!” and people who don’t will either not read it, or read it and say “no, that’s complete BS!”

Tmax48says:

FCC

You want to see what this FCC ruling can do?
Look at Great Britain right now. Their media is dominated by Murdock and it has allowed an uncontested viewpoint backed my big money. This story has yet to totally unfold.

The ruling itself was pushed through against everyone’s attempts to get the proper hearings. I’m curious as to what Kevin Martin might have gotten for his efforts to bypass proper procedures.

Gene Cavanaughsays:

Kevin Martin's proposed rules

So, seniors are becoming a major sector of the population.
Seniors, generally, don’t use the internet that much, and rely on TV and newspapers.
Seniors are more likely to vote, and so have a disproportionate impact on the vote.
But, merging all the news media into a Murdoch-type media outlet does not have a significant effect?
Why? Because you don’t want to believe it, so you close your mind?

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Report this ad??|??Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...
Older Stuff
12:25 Australian Privacy Commissioner Says 7-Eleven Broke Privacy Laws By Scanning Customers' Faces At Survey Kiosks (6)
10:50 Missouri Governor Doubles Down On 'View Source' Hacking Claim; PAC Now Fundraising Over This Bizarrely Stupid Claim (45)
10:45 Daily Deal: The All-in-One Microsoft, Cybersecurity, And Python Exam Prep Training Bundle (0)
09:43 Want To Understand Why U.S. Broadband Sucks? Look At Frontier Communications In Wisconsin, West Virginia (8)
05:36 Massachusetts College Decides Criticizing The Chinese Government Is Hate Speech, Suspends Conservative Student Group (71)
19:57 Le Tigre Sues Barry Mann To Stop Copyright Threats Over Song, Lights Barry Mann On Fire As Well (21)
16:07 Court Says City Of Baltimore's 'Heckler's Veto' Of An Anti-Catholic Rally Violates The First Amendment (15)
13:37 Two Years Later, Judge Finally Realizes That A CDN Provider Is Not Liable For Copyright Infringement On Websites (21)
12:19 Chicago Court Gets Its Prior Restraint On, Tells Police Union Head To STFU About City's Vaccine Mandate (158)
10:55 Verizon 'Visible' Wireless Accounts Hacked, Exploited To Buy New iPhones (8)
10:50 Daily Deal: The MacOS 11 Course (0)
07:55 Suing Social Media Sites Over Acts Of Terrorism Continues To Be A Losing Bet, As 11th Circuit Dumps Another Flawed Lawsuit (11)
02:51 Trump Announces His Own Social Network, 'Truth Social,' Which Says It Can Kick Off Users For Any Reason (And Already Is) (100)
19:51 Facebook AI Moderation Continues To Suck Because Moderation At Scale Is Impossible (26)
16:12 Content Moderation Case Studies: Snapchat Disables GIPHY Integration After Racist 'Sticker' Is Discovered (2018) (11)
13:54 Arlo Makes Live Customer Service A Luxury Option (8)
12:05 Delta Proudly Announces Its Participation In The DHS's Expanded Biometric Collection Program (5)
11:03 LinkedIn (Mostly) Exits China, Citing Escalating Demands For Censorship (14)
10:57 Daily Deal: The Python, Git, And YAML Bundle (0)
09:37 British Telecom Wants Netflix To Pay A Tax Simply Because Squid Game Is Popular (32)
06:41 Report: Client-Side Scanning Is An Insecure Nightmare Just Waiting To Be Exploited By Governments (35)
20:38 MLB In Talks To Offer Streaming For All Teams' Home Games In-Market Even Without A Cable Subscription (10)
15:55 Appeals Court Says Couple's Lawsuit Over Bogus Vehicle Forfeiture Can Continue (15)
13:30 Techdirt Podcast Episode 301: Scarcity, Abundance & NFTs (0)
12:03 Hollywood Is Betting On Filtering Mandates, But Working Copyright Algorithms Simply Don't Exist (66)
10:45 Introducing The Techdirt Insider Discord (4)
10:40 Daily Deal: The Dynamic 2021 DevOps Training Bundle (0)
09:29 Criminalizing Teens' Google Searches Is Just How The UK's Anti-Cybercrime Programs Roll (19)
06:29 Canon Sued For Disabling Printer Scanners When Devices Run Out Of Ink (41)
20:51 Copyright Law Discriminating Against The Blind Finally Struck Down By Court In South Africa (7)
More arrow