Media Consolidation Receives A Blow [8:40 am]
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.”