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FCC Cover-up: Powell Buried Study to Protect Big Media

We have just learned that former FCC Chairman Michael Powell buried evidence that showed media consolidation is harmful to local news reporting.

Powell suppressed a 2004 study to protect his friends in the corporate media lobby. It revealed that locally owned stations produced more local news than those owned by media giants — such as ABC/Disney, Fox Television, Viacom and Sinclair Broadcast Group.

No More FCC Cover-ups:
Act Now To Stop Big Media

Free Press received the secret study after it was leaked to Congress. News of the cover-up comes at a time when Powell’s successor, Chairman Kevin Martin, seeks to hand over control of more local news outlets to massive media conglomerates.

Powell commissioned the study in hopes it would show that consolidated ownership didn’t negatively impact local communities. The Associated Press reported this afternoon that upon seeing the results, Powell ordered that “every last piece” of the study be destroyed.

Had the report seen the light of day, the FCC and their Big Media allies could no longer deny that locally owned media do a better job of covering local news.

Tell the FCC to Stop Big Media’s Control of Local News

While Powell has left the FCC, his legacy is being carried forward by Kevin Martin. The new chairman has made it clear that he intends to side with Big Media interests in the current rewrite of FCC ownership rules.

Martin has asked the public to comment on his plans to let conglomerates buy up more local news outlets. Tell Martin that enough is enough:

Take Action to Stop Big Media

The only way to stop Big Media is through public involvement in making the rules. Act now to rollback media consolidation and defend local control of the media.


Josh Silver
Executive Director
Free Press

1. Read today’s Associated Press story about the destroyed study.

2. Read the study that Michael Powell didn’t want you to see: “Do Local Owners Do More Localism?” It shows locally owned stations produced five-and-a-half minutes more local news in a half-hour newscast than their consolidated competitors — meaning 33 more hours of local news per year. It also found that Network owned and operated stations (belonging to ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox) aired significantly less local news.

3. To learn more, visit StopBigMedia.com, a broad-based coalition of consumer, public interest, media reform, organized labor and other groups that have joined together to fight runaway media consolidation.

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