Copps Calls For FCC Action On 'Public Interest,' Journalism
December 11, 2009 at 5:56 AM (PT)
FCC Commissioner MICHAEL COPPS' remarks to the PRACTISING LAW INSTITUTE THURSDAY started as a discussion of broadband deployment but ended with COPPS reiterating his opposition to media ownership consolidation and hinting at support of some kind of "enhanced" federal support for public media to address the problems facing journalism.
COPPS told the group that the "bad choices" made regarding traditional media by the private sector and the Commission "exacted a costly toll on consumers, on all our citizens and, in the end, even on the companies themselves," namely, "less real news, less serious political coverage, less diversity of opinion, less minority and female ownership, less investigative journalism and fewer jobs for journalists." He noted that the COMCAST-NBC UNIVERSAL deal shows a continuation of the move towards greater ownership consolidation and decried the reduction of public interest programming as a result, he said, of WALL STREET pressure. Repeating his desire to include public interest obligations in a tougher license renewal process, COPPS said "We can fix this now. The Commission can. And we should."
On journalism, COPPS cited the FTC's panel on the issue last week and suggested, "It may be that some mix of creative business plans, experimental journalism, philanthropic and foundation support and, yes, enhanced support for public media may be part of the answer. I hope we can avoid a knee-jerk reaction against the concept of some increased support for public media.... To be clear, I’m not saying we need to duplicate what other countries are doing or that I have the answer on the right mix of public and private media -- but the point is that it is not unpatriotic to talk about it."