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And the Verdict Is In

"I've always believed that you shouldn't have too much concentration. I would like to see as many different owners around as possible."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, in an interview with WKRS-FM

"It's a mistake with ominous portents for what little is left of true media diversity in this country—and, more important, it will be a damaging blow to a citizenry that is increasingly force-fed a news diet so narrow and nutrition-deficient that intellectual scurvy sometimes seems inevitable."

David Shaw, The Los Angeles Times

"Commissioner Powell won't be known for changing the rules, but for waking up America to an issue that has a very broad and diverse level of support"

Chellie Pingree, president of Common Cause, in The Christian Science Monitor

"Too few people already own too much media, which isn't good for democracy. There should be re-regulation, not the deregulation we're getting."

Jesse Jackson, head of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, on

"We won public opinion and we still lost. We got whomped today."

Andrew Schwartzman, director of the Media Access Project, in The New York Times

"The good news is that in voting to liberalize controls Chairman Michael Powell's FCC has finally acknowledged the obvious: that the explosion of everything from 24/7 cable news to talk radio to thousands of Matt Drudge wannabes is better for democracy and free speech than politically influenced FCC regulation. And the critics will never forgive him for saying so."

Editorial, The Wall Street Journal

"The concentration of power—political, corporate, media, cultural—should be anathema to conservatives. "

William Safire, The New York Times

"The Washington-based Center for Public Integrity reports that, over the past eight years, FCC staffers have accepted some 2,500 trips, costing nearly $2.8 million U.S.—all of them paid for by, guess who, the very same media industries that they are supposed to 'regulate'—to such first-class destinations as Paris, Hong Kong and Rio."

Antonia Zerbisias, Toronto Star, Canada.

"If the interests of the owners determine the content of the media, why is it that everything I've seen or read about the FCC vote has been against deregulation?"

Ramesh Ponnuru, The National Review

"This decision is a corporate welfare gift. These are companies that rely on government-granted monopolization privileges."

Robert McChesney, author, Rich Media, Poor Democracy, in The San Jose Mercury News

"The average TV viewer will not notice a single change—not today, not next month, not next year—from Monday's FCC decision. Tom Hazlett, a former FCC economist and now a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute think tank, was astonished when he was asked to take part in broadcast debates on the decision on NPR and CNN. 'It's a silly topic,' he replied. 'Why are you even paying attention?' "

Glenn Garvin, The Miami Herald

"This is a commission that's bought and sold. It's a wholly owned subsidiary of the media industry, when it should be our real estate agent, because we the people own the airwaves."

Ralph Nader, on MSNBC's Buchanan and Press

"So get used to Powell's unwillingness to let multiple voices be heard. If his plan goes through, big media companies will be able to dismiss opposition with his same arrogance—and the chance of smaller local outlets surviving will diminish. So will the vigorous debate that makes this country so glorious, and so strong."

Editorial, The Detroit Free Press

"Yet one fascinating paradox of this ever-increasing embarrassment of information riches is that it coincides with a continuing consolidation of media companies. Fewer and fewer companies increasingly dominate a larger and larger percentage of the television programming Americans watch—and newspapers nationwide have likewise been bought up by national corporations. The ironic result is that the dramatic democratization of communications has coincided with diminishing diversity and quality in certain types of news coverage, particularly local news."

Editorial, The Washington Post

"Common sense and historical precedent dictate that large media companies will get larger, and independent outfits and small competitors will be unable to stave off the big guys. Overall, America will hear fewer alternative viewpoints. But there's something else to worry about. If the rules change deepens existing trends, the media outlets that thrive will undoubtedly have greater power to batter alternative opinions into silence."

Mark McGuire, Times Union, Albany, N.Y.