Statement of Common Cause President Chellie Pingree on White House Selection of Kevin Martin as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission

Martin must ensure that public’s concern about media get full attention of FCC

Common Cause urges Kevin Martin, who will succeed Michael Powell as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, to work to ensure that the public’s concerns about media get a full and serious hearing at the FCC.

For too long, the public has played second fiddle to industry concerns at this agency, whose chairman displayed little patience with the notion that the opinions of average Americans counted in making media policy.

We hope that Chairman Martin will understand that the more than 2 million messages from Americans opposing the FCC’s media ownership rules in 2003 were a signal indicating widespread unease about media concentration that crosses ideological and party boundaries. The groups were as disparate at the National Rifle Association, the Parents Television Council, and the National Organization for Women, along with Common Cause, the Leadership Conference on and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Consumers Union, and the United Church of Christ.

We hope that Chairman Martin will keep his door open, and urge his staff to meet with, groups such as ours that represent the public interest

And, as the FCC grapples with new media ownership rules, and other major media policies this year, we hope that Chairman Martin travels the country to hear for himself the views of average Americans on whether our mass media serves their needs and helps them to participate in their democracy.

See More: Media & Democracy