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The FCC Chairman's 'Little Secret'
By Eric de Fontenay (Founder & Publisher)
(more articles from this author)
2003-05-01
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When dealing with a bureaucratic institution like the FCC, process can often overshadow substance. While we should be thoroughly debating changes unleashed by the FCC's upcoming new media ownership plan, the task has been rendered impossible thanks to Chairman Michael Powell's insistence to not let anyone in on the secret until the Commissioners' vote on June 2. Despite calls from a bi-partisan group of members of Congress, and more recently over thirty recording artists, to at least have a peek at the grand plan, the Chairman's new media regime is likely to remain nothing more than the speculation that has been littering the pages of the press for the past few months, at least until its enactment.

This plan is so secret that even Commissioner Michael Copps, who lets remember is to vote on it in a month, complained at being left as much in the dark as the rest of us during the University of Southern California Media Consolidation Forum. "We don't know what we will be voting on. We don't have the details, or even the broad configuration, of what the new system will be."

To some extent, Michael Powell is trying to prevent a repeat of the humiliating setbacks he suffered in recent rulings on deregulating the local telephone sector. But the strategy of secrecy is bound to backfire sooner or later, whether from another revolt of the commissioners during the vote, Congressional backlash or the inevitable court challenges that are likely to delay its enactment beyond the next media ownership rules review in 2004.

Related News from Mi2N:
» FCC Commissioner Copps Addresses USC Media Ownership Forum
» Artist Groups Insist Public Voices Be Heard On Proposed Media Ownership Rule Changes
» Statement From NAB President And CEO Edward O. Fritts On Sen. Mccain Bill Creating Tax Incentives For Broadcast Ownership Diversity


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