Please create an account to participate in the Slashdot moderation system

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Communications Government Media Television United States

FCC Repeals Decades-Old Rules Blocking Broadcast Media Mergers (variety.com) 146

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Washington Post (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source): Federal regulators rolled back decades-old rules on Thursday, making it far easier for media outlets to be bought and sold -- potentially leading to more newspapers, radio stations and television broadcasters being owned by a handful of companies. The regulations, eliminated in a 3-to-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission, were first put in place in the 1970s to ensure that a diversity of voices and opinions could be heard on the air or in print. But now those rules represent a threat to small outlets that are struggling to survive in a vastly different media world, according to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. One long-standing rule repealed Thursday prevented one company in a given media market from owning both a daily newspaper and a TV station. Another rule blocked TV stations in the same market from merging with each other if the combination would leave fewer than eight independently owned stations. The agency also took aim at rules restricting the number of TV and radio stations that any media company could simultaneously own in a single market. A major beneficiary of the deregulatory moves, analysts say, is Sinclair, a conservative broadcasting company that is seeking to buy up Tribune Media for $3.9 billion.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

FCC Repeals Decades-Old Rules Blocking Broadcast Media Mergers

Comments Filter:
  • by Snotnose ( 212196 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @07:07PM (#55566701)
    Tax plan? We're fucked long term even if we luck out short term. Net neutrality? We're fucked. Bringing back coal? We're fucked. This? We're fucked.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      1996 called. Bill Clinton wants his Telecommunications Act act back. It let 6 corporations own 90% of all media by 2012. You know, before Trump was ever elected.

      But don't let facts get in the way of your soapbox.

      • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @07:56PM (#55566935) Homepage
        This is a very confused response. First, just because a similar bad thing has happened in the past, that doesn't mean that other bad things aren't bad, or even worse. Heck, the difference between 90% and 99% is a pretty big and important one. Second, the post you were replying to didn't just mention this specific thing but also the tax plan, repeal of net neutrality, and Trump's attempts to put coal over the environment. Third, the 1996 Telecommunications Act was written when the Republicans controlled both the House and Senate. While the Clinton Whitehouse did have some input, at the end of the day, they didn't write it, simply signed a bill that had passed with strong majorities.
        • >"While the Clinton Whitehouse did have some input, at the end of the day, they didn't write it, simply signed a bill that had passed with strong majorities."

          Do some investigation first, please.

          1) It didn't pass with strong majorities in either the Senate nor the House.
          2) Clinton could have vetoed it and there is no way it could have been over-ridden (at least not based on party).

          • Is Wikipedia wrong here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telecommunications_Act_of_1996 [wikipedia.org] where they list it as passing 91-5 in the Senate and 414-16 in the House? If those aren't strong majorities, what possibly are?
            • Damnit, I made a HUGE error. I was investigating the makeup of the Congress (D/R) and got that mixed up with the voting on the bill. I apologize for the error and thank you for politely pointing it out. I do wish there was a way to edit.

              So the numbers tell a different story (one that further supports what I was trying to say)- that it passed with large Democrat support in both houses AND the Executive.

              • Thanks for being so reasonable about this; we all make silly mistakes on occasion. And yes, it did have large Democratic support; my comment was primarily about the claim that "Bill Clinton" had something to do with it. It is true that it also had a lot of Democratic support, so one can't blame the bad effects on the Republicans alone. Although if we're going down this route then I'm also going to have to express that there are a lot of provisions of the 1996 act (some introduced by Republicans and some by
      • Hmm, if only the President was responsible for passing laws... who was in charge of Congress in 1996? I wonder... [wikipedia.org]

      • moral & political relativism, right there.

      • The 1996 act was an act of congress, introduced by a Republican, voted for almost unanimously by Republicans.

      • by jareth-0205 ( 525594 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @05:11AM (#55568363) Homepage

        1996 called. Bill Clinton wants his Telecommunications Act act back. It let 6 corporations own 90% of all media by 2012. You know, before Trump was ever elected.

        But don't let facts get in the way of your soapbox.

        Textbook example of whataboutism. Can we focus on the thing that is being done right now, please? Rather than distract with something from 20 years ago?

      • When it was wrong then, why is it OK today? I am sick of the Trump fans pointing out that others messed up as well and therefore it is OK for Trump & Co to do the same. With that insane logic anything can be excused.
        • It's not. If I understand the GP correctly, he's saying SIX telecommunication operators is terrible, but ONE would be awesome.

          (Not only is it terrible whataboutism but I don't have much of a problem with six anyway...)

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2017 @08:20PM (#55567065)

      Tax plan? We're fucked long term even if we luck out short term. Net neutrality? We're fucked. Bringing back coal? We're fucked. This? We're fucked.

      Maybe Jon Stewart had this kind of thing in mind when he dubbed Mr. Trump Fuck Face Von Clown Stick.

      They all freaked when Clinton uttered the world deplorables, but as near as I can tell this is what a lot of the people that elect these type of people are. (I do not excuse being uninformed, or mislead by Russia. Citizenship has duties. Getting correct information, no matter how hard it is to do so, is one of them. Believing it because Alex Jones or Facebook show it is not an excuse.) My favorite excuse from the more informed is that Trump is okay since he is doing some things on some peoples bucket list, which is probably mostly stacking the bench with judges they approve of.

      People blamed Obama for the debt going to all hell, but he was just recovering from a recession and the Bush tax cuts. Yes he compromised and made most of them permanent, save for the highest tier (i think that is correct), but then I'm not sure he could have done anything else, but someone can correct me if Obama still had majorities in the house and senate at that time.

      Now they are playing the same game, thinking the dems won't let the middle class tax cuts lapse, and they won't be able to undo the corporate changes, but as mentioned before, all they need is a president and a simple majority to play the same game in reverse.

      What is worse is the key to this current tax cut mess, which corporations like sinclair are going to love and likely use to grow even bigger, without limit, is throwing another dagger into health care. Not requiring people to buy health care doesn't in itself save a single dime, but the indirect effects are huge. Why is that, well the indirect effect millions lose health care, and everyone else's rates go up, again.

      Guess what happens when millions lose health care? A lot of those eventually result in deaths that were preventable. In other words, to pad the corps and rich friends pockets, they are more than willing to see a lot of Americans die or suffer, but fortunately, most of their sources of news can now be owned by the right people, so they can reassure us that it is for the best.

      • most of their sources of news can now be owned by the right people, so they can reassure us that it is for the best.

        Hmm... Trump-o-vision? TrumpTV, TrumpNews, World of Trump, TrumpFilms, TrumpFlix?

        As fun as it is to come up with Trump-esque crass names for things, it seems unlikely Trump would control any amount of the mega-corp that'll soon be running all of your media. But that's not to say your next president won't. By then, the rest of us will just call it your 'state broadcaster'.

    • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @08:55PM (#55567227) Journal

      Net neutrality? We're fucked. Bringing back coal? We're fucked.

      Yes, but at least we have the great success of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

    • The people who voted for Trump hate consumers...means themselves. None of this comes as a surprise. Just like Hitler, Trump was very upfront and honest about which crap he plans to pull off. Now he can do it thanks to the idiots at the polls and the club of gropers and child molesters in Congress. As Adenauer once said, every country has the government it deserves. The path to hell started with putting these inept Tea Party morons into office and clinging to ultranationalistic ideas.
    • by Chas ( 5144 )

      Nope. Actually, this is simply going to exacerbate the existing lack of confidence most people have for broadcast news, causing these propaganda outlets to fail even faster.

      I for one, think it's long LONG overdue.

      And hey, do you know how many people out there go their entire lives without the plethora of sexual over-service that we're getting? ;)

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @07:08PM (#55566711)
    as soon as Trump got elected. For everyone that voted against him, I'm sorry. For everyone that voted for him, enjoy your media consolidation turning into propaganda. Sure, you'll ignore it, but people around you will get pulled in. And they'll vote for things way, way worse than this.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      They won't ignore it, they're in it already, gullibly believing every idiotic conspiracy theory or distraction. At this point they need the validation this will provide. There will be even more brainwashed idiots parroting the big lie of the day. This is just completing the feedback loop.

    • >"We knew this was coming as soon as Trump got elected."

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      "The 1996 Act's stated objective was to open up markets to competition by removing regulatory barriers to entry: The conference report refers to the bill âoeto provide for a pro-competitive, de-regulatory national policy framework designed to accelerate rapidly private sector deployment of advanced information technologies and services to all Americans by opening all telecommunications markets to competition

      • So this "Media Concentration" happened AFTER Clinton Signed and ONLY after restrictions on local sales were lifted.
        Wow, all Pro-Business, and THEY screwed the pooch with monopolies
        Well color me shocked.
    • by bongey ( 974911 )
      MSM is already propaganda , more than 90% of journalists are Democrats and the "journalists" of Pravda all belonged to one single party. With the majority of journalists toeing the party line , that is propaganda.
      • more than 90% of journalists are Democrats

        That's because knowing how to read and write is a prerequisite for being a journalist.

        To be fair, the left-right distribution among freshman journalism students is more equal, but a lot of those on the right wash out when they get to the book-learnin' stage.

        • Do you really believe that almost everyone who disagrees with your (degenerate, anti-working-class) political opinions is an uneducated dunce?

          • Do you really believe that almost everyone who disagrees with your (degenerate, anti-working-class) political opinions is an uneducated dunce?

            Only the ones who would believe that my political opinions are "degenerate" or "anti-working-class".

    • Because CNN handing questions to one party's candidate is certainly NOT an indication of propaganda and outright, blatant partisanship, amirite?
    • As an outsider who occasionally sees various US media, I would say you're already drowning in propaganda.
      The most recent example that comes to mind for me is an NFL game I watched last week, which featured some sort of weird parade of soldiers in uniform before the game (I didn't quite catch why they were there, but it looked like they were selling heroism).
      At half-time another soldier (Master Sargent someone or other which sounds heroic as well) was given tickets to the Super-Bowl, along with his photog
  • by forkfail ( 228161 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @07:08PM (#55566713)

    ... who actually misses broadcast TV, usenet, bbs's, and horrible, personal HTML 1.1 web pages instead of this centralized mess that we seem hell bent on creating?

    • Apart from broadcast TV, you mean the short period of time where only nerds used computers?

      I 'member! /memberberries

  • Deregulation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ClickOnThis ( 137803 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @07:09PM (#55566717) Journal

    It's worth exercising a bit of reflection before deregulating. You're taking the bumpers off the bumper-cars. Somebody could get hurt. Remember the mortgage crisis?

    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Thursday November 16, 2017 @08:35PM (#55567139) Journal

      You have a good point - any major policy change should be made only after careful reflection and should probably be phased in gradually so you can nip it in the bud if problems come up.

      That said, you probably couldn't have come up with a worse "example" for the way you were trying to take that. Here's a brief summary of the mortgage crisis:

      Congress tried to force bank's to make loans to people who couldn't afford them via regulation.

      Banks have employees who can do arithmetic, so they refused to put themselves out of business by systematically making loans that frequently wouldn't be paid back.

      Congress, through more regulation, arranged for it to be PROFITABLE for banks to make money-spinner loans.

      Bank's did the arithmetic and saw that indeed creating money-losing deals was now artificially profitable, so they did it - a lot.

      The easy availability of mortgage money to people who previously didn't qualify meant that more people were in the market to buy houses.

      The inrush of buyers temporarily increased housing prices (supply and demand).

      Rising prices attracted speculators, which are buyers, further increasing prices.

      When the rush of unqualified buyers was over and supply caught up to demand, prices fell. (The bubble is noticeably leaking)

      People moving couldn't sell their house for as much as they owed, triggering foreclosures. (Pop)

      Foreclosures further increased supply, depressing prices.

      Rumors of reactionary legistlation, and actual legistlation, causes bank's to tighten lending standards.

      Money dries up, and the velocity of money drops.

      It all began with more regulation pretending that social desires would magically override arithmetic.

      In the end, what was a popped bubble had a credit crunch added to it by emotionally-driven, reactionary regulation. The bank's didn't suddenly all decide to start making a bunch of bad loans to people who couldn't afford it because they all suddenly felt like going out of business. They started making bad loans because Congress-critters thought they could score political points by forcing bank's to do stupid, then realized bank's would only do so if Congress made it artificially profitable.

      You gave an example of very poorly thought out policy change, but a case of MORE really dumb regulation, not less.

      • by mpapet ( 761907 ) on Friday November 17, 2017 @02:37AM (#55568087) Homepage

        Parent blames "Congress" when in fact, the financial regulators were deregulating banking. Congress did their part. Guess who was driving the deregulation? Banks.

        Parent also has a rudimentary understanding of the problem that's fundamentally wrong in so many ways no one would read the wall of text..

      • Congress, through more regulation, arranged for it to be PROFITABLE for banks to make money-spinner loans.

        Which legislation was this?

      • Congress tried to force bank's to make loans to people who couldn't afford them via regulation.

        Congress has never done that. That was a lie perpetuated by certain right wing elements after the 2008 crash, by pretending that making it illegal to discriminate by skin color is the same thing as making it illegal to discriminate by income.

        It's also inherently an argument that's racist for that reason: it implies that blacks can't pay back loans, regardless of income. That kind of blatant race baiting is why

        • So what you're saying is that all black people, and only black people, live in slums? Perhaps do you mean to say that black people don't pay their bills, so mortgages in black neighborhoods won't be paid?

          The banks are required to lend mortgage money (basically, buy houses) in NEIGHBORHOODS where property values are falling and there is a high rate of default (people not paying their mortgage).

          For a while, they were allowed credit for small business loans in areas that were failing (ie most of Detroit), but

          • To be very, very clear, since you're apparently living in the 1960s, it's not about "can't discriminate", it's "must discriminate". They are not allowed to ignore race and neighborhood, to not even ask that information. The banks are required to keep track of which neighborhoods are high risk make a certain amount of mortgage loans in those neighborhoods. If it starts coming in a little low toward the end of the reporting period employees are told "we must sell and close $4 million in mortgages in bad ne

    • No need to go the analogy route, just take a look at what happened to the local FM radio market. I don't think anyone can argue that the entire thing hasn't gone to shit since the FCC allowed those radio stations to consolidate.

      And yes, I understand there is Satellite radio (which is super expensive) and internet radio (which cell carriers are throttling/capping because they want to get paid from both the consumer and the internet radio providers at the same time).

      So at this point, if you spend a lot of tim

  • will be party flavor controlled and all the indie ones will be labeled fake news and conspiracy sites.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Diversity of voices is important, but when >60% of the country gets its "news" from social media (and that percentage is growing), who owns the local TV station or newspaper becomes irrelevant.

    • Where do you think that social media news comes from? Hint: It's not made by Facebook or Twitter.

    • Diversity of voices is important, but when >60% of the country gets its "news" from social media (and that percentage is growing), who owns the local TV station or newspaper becomes irrelevant.

      But people are getting their "news" from social media (which apparently includes internet-only news reporting operations) BECAUSE the broadcast news operations are ALREADY untrusted.

      This, in turn is because the EXISTING regulatory regime produced exactly the non-competitive, single-point-of-view, broadcast media ol

      • This, in turn is because the EXISTING regulatory regime produced exactly the non-competitive, single-point-of-view, broadcast media oligopoly that this regulation was SUPPOSED to prevent. Since it didn't work, why bother with it?

        Seems a bit like saying "If my diet of single cheeseburgers isn't helping me lose weight, why don't I just start eating double quarter pounders?"

        But people are getting their "news" from social media (which apparently includes internet-only news reporting operations) BECAUSE the broadcast news operations are ALREADY untrusted.

        I worry about the type of people who do still get their news from broadcast TV. Seems to me that it's mainly moderate boomers. Judging from my father in law, once boomers start sitting in front of Fox News propaganda for hours on end, they veer more and more into Trump territory. Local news isn't great, but it's not Fox.

        IF Sinclair buys up broadcast news, they'

  • Fascism progresses (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 16, 2017 @07:49PM (#55566897)

    In Germany they called the result of this Gleichschaltung: all media effectively delivering the same content (propaganda).

    These days the fascists uniforms are suits...

  • "[The regulations] were first put in place in the 1970s to ensure that a diversity of voices and opinions could be heard on the air or in print."

    Something like 2,000 newspapers endorsed Hillary Clinton and like 3 endorsed Trump. Clearly the regulations did not lead to any diversity of opinion whatsoever.

    I'm all for diversity of opinion and free thought, but whatever we had wasn't doing it. Maybe time to scrap it and come up with something better.

    • Maybe time to scrap it and come up with something better.

      Maybe just scrapping it IS something better.

      Regulating the broadcast media to "promote" divergent viewpoints got us the current monolith. NOT regulating the Internet got us an explosion of divergent views.

      Robert LeFevre described government as "a disease masquerading as its own cure". Maybe regulation IS the problem.

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by Cyberax ( 705495 )
      How to tell that a conservative is lying? His lips are moving! Here’s the list of papers endorsing Trump: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wik... [wikipedia.org]
    • Clearly the regulations did not lead to any diversity of opinion whatsoever

      I would expect, if the facts are obvious, newspapers to tend to report the same thing. In politics that's not frequent because frequently the facts aren't obvious, but it was fairly clear well before Trump was elected that he would be awful.

      Remember even many conservative publications were against Trump. This wasn't a conservative vs liberal thing, it was readily apparent.

      I don't want "diversity of opinion" when it comes to act

  • So now all the local over-the-air media companies can combine while your local monopoly cable company or telco will be able to only give you *fast* access to their chosen monopolists.

    Welcome to FREEDOM! Freedom from choice in local over-the-air media. Where every channel is Clear Channel. And freedom from the choice of a neutral open Internet where access is the same no matter what site you are using. Where instead all your propaganda is provided by the highest bidder.

    Welcome to the Cable Televisation of t

  • There are (or were) rules preventing one entity from owning more than a certain number of TV stations across the entire US. Has that rule gone away with these changes as well or is there still an overall restriction? (and if so, what is the number currently set at)

  • I bet this isn't what people have in mind when they think NWO. Their paranoia is focused on the wrong things (Psst, that's exactly how the NWO-people want you - focus on those Illuminati sticking chips in your neck, *thumbs up*)

  • I stopped paying attention to broadcast TV and print newspapers years ago, just as many others have. We don't need to worry about monopolies in broadcast media because nobody is watching anyway. They're all walking dead and just don't know it yet.

  • Ajit Pai is obviously another puppet of corporate oligarchy control.
    He has no real clue when it comes to doing a greater good for the peoples.
    Dear Ajit, PLEASE step down. You are destroying man's ability to remain free human beings.

If A = B and B = C, then A = C, except where void or prohibited by law. -- Roy Santoro

Working...