Tuesday, June 03, 2003

I find it amusing that so many congressmen are upset over the FCC's decision to relax its rules on media consolidation.

Why do I find that amusing? Because the FCC's decision was driven by the fact that its media consolidation rules keep getting struck down in court, as Michael Powell's memo clearly stated and as anyone familiar with the issue already knows. And why do the rules keep getting struck down in court? Because Congress included a provision in the 1996 Telecommunications Act (Section 202(h)) that mandates two things: 1) The FCC must review its ownership rules every two years to determine whether the rules are "necessary" in the public interest, and 2) The FCC must repeal any rules that are no longer in the public interest.

In other words, the FCC has been taken to court several times over its ownership rules. The courts, relying on Congress's mandated presumption in favor of repeal, keep striking down the rules because the FCC can't come up with evidence that its rules actually accomplish anything.

So that's why I find it amusing that Congress is getting mad over the FCC's decision. The hyperbole emanating from some quarters can be chalked up to simple ignorance of the law, but, of all people, members of Congress should be aware of the pro-repeal law that they themselves passed.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home