What Has the FCC Been Doing Lately?

While the future of Net Neutrality bleakly hangs on the FCC’s upcoming December vote, the agency has been multiply busy on other issues:


  • The Federal Communications Commission narrowly voted to roll back media ownership regulations, a controversial move that will allow media companies to consolidate. [The Verge / Colin Lecher]
  • On a 3-2, party-line vote, the FCC voted to repeal a rule that prohibits a person or company from owning a daily newspaper and a radio or TV station that are in the same market, as well as a rule prohibiting cross-ownership of radio and TV stations. [The Hill / Harper Neidig]
  • The vote comes after significant lobbying by broadcasters and local TV stations, which say the rules make it difficult for them to compete and make money in an era of online news. [WSJ / John McKinnon]
  • It’s also part of a broader push under the Trump administration to roll back federal regulations. [Deadline / Dade Hayes]
  • The vote has been controversial because it clears the way for the conservative local news company Sinclair Broadcasting to buy Tribune Media. If that deal goes through, Sinclair would own 223 TV stations across the US, far more than any other company (it already owns 193 stations). [NBC News / Claire Atkinson]
  • This matters because a lot of Americans — about 46 percent — still get their news from local TV stations (that’s more than online news consumption). [Pew Research Center]
  • And Sinclair has a noticeably conservative bent; the company regularly sends out news “packages” to run on all of its local stations, including ones slamming the national media for “fake news,” regular fearmongering updates about worldwide terrorism, and a 2016 segment floating the idea that black voters should not support Hillary Clinton because the Democratic Party historically was pro-slavery. [NYT / Sydney Ember]

But beyond Sinclair, the rule change simply means there could be far less competition and more of a top-down structure in local media markets. [Bloomberg]

Information received from Vox.com.

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