NMA to FCC: Stronger Industry Is Best Fake News Defense

The News Media Alliance, the principal newspaper association, has told the FCC there is no "rational explanation" for the commission to continue to preserve the 1975 newspaper-broadcast crossownership ban and that to do so limits their ability to be the counterpoint to the current spate of "fake news." 

NMA made the point in comments to the FCC in support of the National Association of Broadcasters, which asked the FCC to reconsider its quadrennial media ownership rule review conclusion last summer that the ban should remain in place. 

NMA says the rule undermines local news and prevents newspapers from competing in a crowded media landscape.

The National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters, which also backs NAB's reconsideration petition, said that the ban limits competition and hurts broadcasters large and small. NMA said the same applies to newspapers, adding: "A threat to newspapers is a threat to the American people."

"[T]he cross-ownership ban prevents newspapers from receiving the investment they need to be able to compete against the social media giants who are free to invest, acquire, and merge at will," it said. "This investment is more important now than ever because of the current phenomena surrounding 'fake news.' We strongly believe that real, reputable, and trusted news content is the true remedy to fake news."

NMA appeared to be referencing the threat of real "fake news," as it were—false reports echoing around the internet “echosystem”—rather than President Trump's definition of fake news, which encompasses stories by some respected newspapers that are critical of the Administration or with which the President disagrees.

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.