House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) wants the
Federal Communications Commission to change all of the media-ownership rules, and
sooner, rather than later.
Tauzin, joined by 10 of his House and Senate colleagues (nine Republicans and
a Democrat), has written FCC chairman Michael Powell asking that the FCC "amend
all of its broadcast-ownership rules," saying, "perpetuation of outdated
ownership rules in light of today's marketplace does not satisfy the
requirements of the Communications Act or the public interest."
Tauzin wants a decision "by June."
Tauzin's letter follows one to Powell two weeks ago from a trio of moderate
Republican colleagues, led by Olympia Snowe of Maine.
They had asked that the FCC take its time and permit more public comment.
Thanks in part to the prompting of Democratic commissioner Michael Copps, a
number of public forums on ownership have been held around the country, with
Tauzin and company countered that the FCC already has an "extensive record" for
amending the rules to square them with the realities of the current
Powell has also heard from Kansas Republican Sen. Sam Brownback, who, like
Tauzin, wants the FCC to finish the media-ownership review as quickly as
Powell said last week that the agency was still on track to complete its review
by June 2.
Also signing on to the letter were Republican Reps. Roy Blunt (Missouri), John
Shimkus (Illinois), Vito Fossella (New York), Mary Bono (California), George Radanovich (California) and Pete Sessions (Texas); Republican
Sens. Gordon Smith (Oregon), John Ensign (Nevada) and George Allen (Virginia); and Democratic Sen. John
Tauzin's epistle was not unexpected. An analysis of the media-ownership issue
by financial services firm Legg Mason Inc. had suggested that there would probably be more
letters from Congress backing both the "hurry up" and "wait"
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