News

Lott Would Fight Bush Media Veto

7/29/2003 8:50 AM Eastern

Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) Tuesday promised to fight a veto designed to
protect new broadcast-ownership rules adopted by the Federal Communications
Commission in June.

"I want to make the record very clear: I will do everything I could to
override a veto in this area, because I think it would be a mistake," Lott said
at a Capitol Hill press conference.

Lott, along with Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), announced plans to take a up a
resolution in the Senate during the first week of September that would nullify
the FCC's new rules. "We believe the votes exist to pass this resolution of
disapproval in the Senate. We can't predict how many votes we will receive,"
Dorgan said.

The FCC rules, among other things, would allow the "Big Four" networks to
acquire more stations and allow TV stations and newspaper to combine in the same
market.

Last Wednesday, the House voted to keep a rule that capped a TV-station
group's signal reach to 35% of TV households nationally. The FCC raised the cap
to 45%, causing a bipartisan backlash on Capitol Hill. The White House has
threatened to veto the House bill.

Both Lott and Dorgan said they had policy, and not personal, differences with
FCC chairman Michael Powell and they did not want to see him resign over the
media-ownership dispute.

Powell, writing in The New York Times Monday, questioned whether
opponents of the FCC's ownership rules were motivated "by a desire to affect
content" on television.

"It's an absurd proposition," Dorgan said. "I have no idea what he ate for
breakfast before he wrote that. This has nothing to do with content. It has to
do with diversity of ownership."

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