Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Powell Thursday rejected a
request from FCC Democrats to postpone the June 2 vote on broadcast-ownership
rules for one month.
Powell, with the backing of FCC Republicans Kathleen Abernathy and Kevin
Martin, said the agency had to meet congressional deadlines and obey court
edicts mandating the adoption of new rules.
"When the judiciary reverses our rules, especially ones intended to promote
core First Amendment values, it is incumbent on us to repair the shortcomings as
quickly as possible," Powell said in a prepared statement.
By tradition rather than by rule, FCC members have typically been given the
courtesy of delaying votes for one month. FCC Democrats Michael Copps and
Jonathan Adelstein requested the delay Wednesday.
"This is no way to do business when critical issues affecting every American
are at stake. I am disappointed that the chairman refuses to heed the calls of
colleagues, as well as many members of Congress, to let the sun shine on his
proposals before the commission decides on further media concentration," Copps
said after receiving Powell's rejection.
Andrew Jay Schwartzman, president and CEO of the Media Access Project, a
public-interest law firm opposed to relaxation of broadcast-ownership rules,
said Powell's fealty to deadlines appeared to be selective.
"Chairman Powell seems more concerned about proving that he can get it done
quickly than he is about getting it done correctly. We wish he showed similar
concern for responding to the D.C. Court of Appeals' two year-old directive to
adopt a limit on cable ownership," Schwartzman said in a prepared