Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 4:03am
AFTRA RALLIES MEMBERS FOR FCC HEARING
[SOURCE: Broadcasting&Cable, AUTHOR: John Eggerton]
The American Federation of Television & Radio Artists is trying to get as many of its 25,000 members to attend the FCC's planned Oct. 3 public hearing on media ownership rules as possible, and they won't have much good to say about Big Media. The Writers Guild is expected to weigh in as well on the effects of consolidation on newsgathering and reporting. If Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/Push coalition and members of the Congressional Black Caucus have their way, the L.A. ranks will be further swelled by hundreds of volunteer/activists talking about the impact on diversity of ownership and the coverage of issues of importance to African Americans. One former station exec said he would advise broadcasters to make sure they were out in force in L.A. to make their case, too.
*** More on next week's hearing in LA ***
* FCC Hearings and Home Court Advantage?
Part of the FCC hearing will take place in El Segundo, California. The mayor there, Kelly McDowell, is the oldest brother of FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell. Harold Feld writes, "[I]t raises obvious concerns about giving pro-consolidation folks a â€home courtâ€œ advantage. As Mayor, Kelly McDowell is uniquely positioned to encourage witnesses who will support the current FCC's policy of relaxing ownership rules while subtly discouraging attendance by folks who might challenge accepted FCC positions. This puts the pressure on Martin to ensure not merely impartiality, but the appearance of impartiality. After the recent reports that -- prior to Martin becoming chair -- the FCC suppressed studies demonstrating the negative impacts of media consolidation, public trust for the FCC as an institution interested in an impartial investigation and analysis of the facts is at an all-time low."
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