Jewish World Review June 3, 2003 / 3 Sivan, 5763
FCC: Readerless Papers May Buy Viewerless Stations
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved a new set of rules allowing newspapers no one reads to buy TV stations no one watches.
The FCC is throwing out old regulations restricting one company from owning newspapers and radio or TV properties in the same local market.
FCC Chairman Michael Powell said the new rules reflect the changing times.
"Who cares how many of these properties someone owns?" said Mr. Powell. "It used to be that everyone watched three TV channels, and people actually read the morning paper. Now there are 300 TV channels with about a dozen viewers each, and the local newspaper, if any, goes directly from the curb to the recycle bin."
Critics have complained that relaxing the rules will give monopoly-like powers to a few big companies.
"That's true," said Mr. Powell, "But it's like owning Baltic Avenue on the Monopoly board game. Even if you put hotels on that puppy, it's still not Boardwalk or Park Place. "
A recent Gallup poll for CNN (a cable news channel) and USA Today (a daily newspaper) showed that only 36 percent of Americans believe news organizations get the facts right. However, Gallup later voided the results of the survey when a researcher discovered that people who depend on newspapers and TV for information have no way of knowing when the facts are wrong.
Many Americans, who have been racked with anguish over the FCC decision, will now return to their computers and DVD players to read and watch what they want when they want it.
JWR contributor Scott Ott publishes the satirical website ScrappleFace.com, whose motto is "News fairly unbalanced. We report. You decipher." Comment by clicking here.
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© 2003, Scott Ott