MAP: Fox Waivers Give Broadcaster Undue Retrans Clout

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Cablevision received a shout-out Thursday for its argument that Fox was "improperly leveraging" its duopoly in New York, one that was secured through a now-expired Federal Communicaions Commission waiver.

That was the message from Media Access Project in a letter to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. The chairman has indicated that he wants Fox and Cablevision to work out their retrans impasse, rather than expecting the commission to step in, but MAP senior vice president and policy director Andrew Schwartzman wrote that the agency's failure to force divestiture or to act on challenges to News Corp. requests for "regulatory largesse," (including by MAP) have given the latter an "unfair advantage" in the retrans dispute.

Cablevision had made a similar point in arguing that Fox was not bargaining in good faith. Fox, in turn, called Cablevision's arguments about waivers and duopolies a "smoke screen," and suggested Cablevision had plenty of leverage in the market given its ownership of a newspaper, spots nets, regional news channels and more.

Fox declined comment on MAP's seconding of the Cablevision argument.

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