Two reports bolster argument that media consolidation hurts the public

Washington, DC – Common Cause today released two reports refuting claims that consolidated media serves the public. The first, A Tale of Five Cities, describes the real-world harm that can result when one company owns the local newspaper and its dominant television and/or radio stations. The examples cited in the report show that cross-ownership can harm a community either by shutting out diverse voices or limiting access to unbiased news.

The second, Citizens Speak: The Real World Impacts of Media Consolidation, is a distillation of the comments of individuals who spoke at town hall hearings on media consolidation in 2003. The hearings were held to discuss the importance of localism in media and gave people a forum for expressing, often in vivid terms, how media concentration had destroyed local radio, replacing it with bland and homogenized radio formats, robbed of any local color or talent, and had left them bereft of news about their own communities and responsive to their need for information in a democracy.

Both reports were filed Monday with the Federal Communications Commission, as the Commission once again considers changing its ownership rules to increase media concentration.

“These reports make the point again that what we have said about media consolidation’s negative impact remains relevant and compelling,” said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. “Our study of local newspapers challenges the conventional wisdom that cross-owned print and broadcast media improve a community’s access to news and information. The voices of citizens at the FCC’s localism hearings offer an eloquent testimony to our need for diverse, independently owned media. We hope these studies can help convince the FCC that more media consolidation would be a disaster for democracy and the American public.”

Click to read: A Tale of Five Cities: Why the Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-Ownership Ban Should Be Preserved

Click to read: Citizens Speak: The Real World Impacts of Media Consolidation