June 10, 2003

Media Drops the Ball on FCC Rule Changes:

"Most newspapers offered little coverage when the changes were still being discussed - and when the public still could have contacted the FCC about them.

"There are, of course, a lot of possible reasons for the lack of coverage. The news media aren't good at covering 'issues.' And other stories - the war in Iraq, tax cuts, Laci Peterson - pushed the FCC story out of the mix. But there are other, less sanguine interpretations.

"Whether or not you agree with the FCC changes, it is at least curious that many of the media companies that had an interest in changing the rules - such as The New York Times Co., Gannett, and Tribune Co., which lobbied for the changes - chose to cover the story sparingly, if at all. At the only official FCC public hearing on the issue, TV network executives filled the room to speak out on the changes the commission was considering. Yet, strangely, there wasn't a single network news camera there.

"In their lack of coverage, the country's news media showed why bigger media companies might not be such a good thing. In the end, it's the news media that define our reality outside our immediate experience. If they are shaping it for their own benefit at the expense of informing their readers, viewers and listeners, then journalism and the American public have a lot more serious concerns than Jayson Blair."


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