UPDATE IV: Here is the video of Senator Boxer in her hearing today where she pulls out the report that the FCC ordered destroyed. A HUGE thanks to pb who helped me to upload to Youtube.
UPDATE V: The video on YouTube is now #21 - Top Rated (Today) - News & Blogs and #57 - Top Favorites (Today) - News & Blogs. Thanks to all of you for helping to get the video and this diary out there for people to see! If you haven't rec. the video yet, please take a moment to do so, and also forward the link around.Also, I know the quality of the video isn't the best, but it was the best we could do at the time.
MSNBC is reporting that:
The Federal Communications Commission ordered its staff to destroy all copies of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage, a former lawyer at the agency says.
The analysis showed local ownership of television stations adds almost five and one-half minutes of total news to broadcasts and more than three minutes of "on-location" news. The conclusion is at odds with FCC arguments made when it voted in 2003 to increase the number of television stations a company could own in a single market. It was part of a broader decision liberalizing ownership rules.
Senator Barbara Boxer has sent a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin stating:
she was "dismayed that this report, which was done at taxpayer expense more than two years ago, and which concluded that localism is beneficial to the public, was shoved in a drawer."
Martin said he was not aware of the existence of the report, nor was his staff. His office indicated it had not received Boxer's letter as of midafternoon Thursday.
Adam Candeub, a former FCC Lawyer, and now a law professor at Michigan State University stated that:
senior managers at the agency ordered that "every last piece" of the report be destroyed. "The whole project was just stopped - end of discussion," he said.
The FCC was not allowed to get away with their new ownership rules, and according to the MSNBC article:
The 2003 action (that would have loosened the ownership for local media - sjl)sparked a backlash among the public and within Congress. In June 2004, a federal appeals court rejected the agency's reasoning on most of the rules and ordered it to try again. The debate has since been reopened, and the FCC has scheduled a public hearing on the matter in Los Angeles on Oct. 3.
Here is a link to the section of the FCC site that has information on "Review of Media Ownership Rules."
This is a critical time for the public and our Democratic leaders to step into this discussion. As we have seen most recently with ABC's and Disney's actions, the fewer the number of corporations that own media outlets the more likely we are to get propaganda. The website ThePathSince911.com was created out of an outrage over the propaganda that ABC felt "safe" to air on our public airwaves. Sadly, ABC's actions are only one example of what happens when our media is owned and controlled by a small number of people. Today's story is yet another sad example of where our nation is headed.
It is clear why the FCC wanted to destroy a report that concluded local ownership of media was more beneficial to the public. Simply put the FCC is seeking to help create a media that is owned by very few people and or corporations, and there can be little doubt that the result of less diversity in the media ownership will limit free speech and the sharing of differing viewpoints.
Write your congressperson and senator TODAY, ask them to look into these actions by the FCC, help to protect what little diversity of ownership we have left in the media.
November can't come soon enough folks.
UPDATE: Here is the FCC Report that was ordered destroyed
UPDATE II: Here is a link to fill out a form to register a complaint with the FCC
UPDATEIII: As was pointed out in the comments by Eric J in MN, the story on MSNBC is an AP story that MSNBC has on their website. Thank you Eric.