Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who have already written the FCC to express their displeasure with a media ownership item circulated for a commissioner vote, have scheduled a press conference for 10:30 a.m. Thursday to put an exclamation point on their unhappiness.
They argue the proposal, which loosens and/or lifts limits on cross-ownership limits, would result in consolidation of news outlets that "limits public access to unbiased information about important issues, limits independent voices, hurts local news and community affairs coverage, eliminates competition and discourages diversity in ownership."
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski's representatives have countered that the commission is, instead, "eliminating outdated prohibitions on newspaper-radio and TV-radio cross ownership" while retaining protections for competition, diversity and localism--the proposal does not eliminate the restrictions on TV/newspaper cross-ownership, retains local ownership caps and even proposes expanding them by counting some joint sales agreements towards those limits, as it already does in radio.
Genachowski has already effectively delayed a vote on the item until at least early next year by extending the comment deadline on a biennial media ownership survey that helped inform that item.