The Federal Communications Commission today scored a victory for freedom of the press. In this case, the freedom to own both a newspaper and a radio or TV station in the same city. Let’s let FCC Chairman Kevin Martin explain:
“We cannot ignore the fact that the media marketplace is considerably different than it was when the newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership ban was put in place more than 30 years ago,” said Mr. Martin, citing widespread layoffs in the newspaper industry as evidence of financial distress. “Now some of my colleagues have said we’re not in the business of [caring about newspapers]. But if we’re not in that business, then why do we have rules about what they can and can’t own?”
These rules were always ridiculous, of course, only now the advent of the Internet has made that so obvious that even federal regulators themselves have had to admit it. Think about it – it would be like saying a company couldn’t own a fabric store and a department store in the same city. They might establish a monopoly on clothing! Pretty soon Big Pants is throwing its weight around and everyone’s wearing plaid, against their wishes.