Free Press is not assuaged by the FCC's support of a proposed diversity study by the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council that will look at the advertising market and the impact of proposed FCC media ownership rules changes on diversity.
The FCC, Newspaper Association of America and the National Association of Broadcasters have all said they were OK with delaying a decision on those rules for at least a couple more months until the study is completed and vetted.
After MMTC proposed the study, which will take about eight weeks, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said, "In this heavily-litigated area where a strong record is particularly important, I believe this is a sensible approach to moving forward and resolving the issues raised in this proceeding. A senior official characterized the approach as "a strategy to move towards a successful vote and strengthen the Commission's position in court."
According to an FCC filing, in a phone conversation late last week with an aide to FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn, Free Press policy director Matt Wood said he had serious concerns that the study's ability to provide the kind of analysis required by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals when it remanded FCC rules back to the commission for better justification of proposed diversity efforts.
He also suggested that the study was far from an independent analysis. "[W]e contend that a study endorsed by the broadcast and newspaper lobbies, and carried out by an analyst who has on several occasions expressed support for weakening the very rules he seeks now to evaluate, cannot be substituted for independent research and agency action."