Media Consolidation Receives A Blow

U.S. Backs Off Relaxing Rules for Big Media

Media companies hoping to expand their television station holdings and to own both TV stations and newspapers in the same markets suffered a setback yesterday when the Bush administration decided to abandon its challenge to a ruling that blocked the relaxation of ownership rules.

The Justice Department will not ask the Supreme Court to consider a decision last year by a federal appeals court in Philadelphia that sharply criticized the move toward deregulation and ordered the Federal Communications Commission to reconsider its action. The decision is a final slap to Michael K. Powell, the departing chairman of the F.C.C., who had advocated the changes. […]

[…] Jonathan S. Adelstein and Michael J. Copps, the commission’s two Democrats, who opposed the changes to the rules, applauded the administration’s decision, which they suggested was a sharp rebuke of the agency under Mr. Powell.

“This is a recognition of the failure of the commission to adequately justify its rules and is a recognition of its failure to protect the public interest,” Mr. Adelstein said. “This is an historic decision for the media democracy movement.”

See also the Washington Post’s FCC Drops Bid to Relax Media Rules [pdf]