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Reformer Studies Slam Industry Studies

On the opening day of the Free Press-sponsored Media Reform Conference in Memphis, the Rev. Jesse Jackson will headline a group of anti-consolidation activists releasing a half-dozen studies they say refute big media's case for loosening ownership restrictions.

Jackson has said consolidation is a civil rights issue because is limits the voice of minorities, and has pledged to make push-back on more consolidation a priority of his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

Joining Jackson to release the studies are Alliance for Civil Rights and several consumer groups. The groups also plan to send a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin opposing a relaxation of the rules, which the FCC is reviewing per a congressional and court mandate.

“These six studies take apart Big Media’s latest claims and show that ownership limits are more important than ever to ensure a local, diverse and competitive media environment,” said Free Press Research Director S. Derek Turner.

The titles of a couple of the studies, which had not been released at press time, telegraph their criticisms of the industry: Out of Focus: The NAB’s Fraudulent Financial Analysis, which claims to expose "misleading claims about the supposedly poor financial health of broadcasters," and Misleading Industry Market Analyses, which "reveals how Big Media dominate the lion’s share of local markets across the country."

The three-day conference will host a number of big names including Jane Fonda and FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein has already weighed in in a pre-conference speech in Memphis in which he took aim at the FCC's own studies .