“The FCC may soon consider changes in the media ownership rules that only help big media get bigger, but do nothing to make media more responsive to minority viewpoints and local communities,” write Senators Obama and Kerry in Politico .
“If the FCC chairman chooses to reopen media ownership rules, he must take into consideration the needs of local or minority communities.
“If this is done improperly, more radio stations, television stations and newspapers will fall into the hands of fewer owners and those owners are less likely to include minority firms. It means that fewer minority- and independently owned stations and newspapers will be able to contribute to the national dialogue.”
Footnote: When the FCC held hearings here in September, Newstips noted  the Free Press study showing that Chicago has the lowest level of minority ownership among the nation’s 22 largest radio markets.
Obama and Kerry are cosponsors of legislation to halt the FCC’s rush to gut longstanding media ownership rules, Free Press  reports.
The Media Ownership Act of 2007, sponsored by Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-SD) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.), would direct the FCC to hold hearings on the issue of localism — and create an independent minority and female ownership task force — before moving forward with any changes to media ownership limits.
Commented Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press:
“We are thrilled to see members from both sides of the aisle stand up for the public. This critical legislation will restore fairness and transparency in what has become a corrupt process at the FCC.
“In the rush to gut media ownership rules, the Commission has ignored the American people, neglected the media diversity crisis, and buried evidence that consolidation harms local communities. The Media Ownership Act would hold the FCC accountable for listening to the public and ensuring that the public airwaves reflect America’s diverse local communities.
“The American people overwhelmingly oppose any rule changes that would allow big companies to swallow up more of their local media. This bill is an important reminder from Congress that the FCC must answer to the public, not corporate interests.”