Federal Court Decision Will Open Floodgates for New Wave of Multi-Billion Dollar Media Mergers
Interview by Between The Lines' Scott Harris.
On Feb. 19, a federal appeals court struck down FCC regulations that had prevented cable television companies from owning broadcast TV stations. The court also ordered the government to redraft current rules limiting the number of stations a network can own. FCC Chairman Michael Powell has publicly questioned the need for media ownership rules and is expected to eliminate them soon.
Business analysts predict that this court decision will open the floodgates to a new wave of multi-billion dollar media mergers, further accelerating the concentration of ownership of an already shrinking number of giant conglomerates. The court's green light for the creation of ever more powerful media companies comes as reports circulated that Disney-owned ABC was considering replacing their long running news program "Nightline" with the "David Letterman Show," a development that critics said underscored their concern that a quest for higher profits had supplanted the network's responsibility to bring audiences quality journalism in the name of the public interest.
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Robert McChesney, research professor at the University of Illinois and author of the book "Rich Media, Poor Democracy," who considers the impact this court decision may have on the diversity of programming and political views available to consumers and citizens (A RealAudio Version of this interview may be found at http://www.btlonline.org).
Robert McChesney is research professor at the University of Illinois' Institute of Communication and author of the book "Rich Media, Poor Democracy," published by the New Press. Related Links:
* Robert McChesney's website: www.robertmcchesney.com
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