Common Cause Outlines Media Reform Battle Plan

Common Cause has outlined its battle plan on the media
consolidation front.

The group tapped former FCC chairman Michael Copps, a
longtime consolidation critic, tohead up its Media and Democracy Reform Initiative.

Common Cause is particularly concerned about the impact of
media concentration on political speech and the impact of money on elections.

The initiative will leverage 35 state chapters and funding
from "several foundations" to spotlight media reform.

In an email to supporters, Todd O'Boyle, program director of
the initiative, outlined a three-pronged strategy.

The group will fight government approval of media
consolidation that if feels "squelch independent and local voices";
will push the FCC to compel "real" disclosures of political ad
sponsorship as a way to redress what it sees as the grievance of the Citizens
United decision; and will call for a new FCC chairman to back up then-Senator
Obama's opposition to media mergers, policies they say the current chairman
"has not always lived up to."

Specifically, the anti-consolidation campaign against will
include trying to derail the current FCC proposal to allow for some TV
station/newspaper cross-ownerships.

On the new chairman front -- chairman Julius Genachowski has
not said when he is leaving -- Common Cause points out that then Senator Barack
Obama was publicly opposed to then-FCC chairman Kevin Martin's 2007 cross-ownership
proposal, which the current proposal mirrors.

And Common Cause says better disclosure of the source of
political dollars in the wake of Citizens United is possible through FCC
disclosure rules already on the books that require the disclosure of the
"true identity" of the sponsors of political ads.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.