As if media consolidation wasn’t bad enough already, Thursday the Supreme Court made it possible for even more consolidation to take place.
The question before the Court was not on the validity of ownership rules or their effects on the public’s access to information, but on the application of the rules that are in place right now. Thus Justice Brett Kavanaugh noted:
Writing for the unanimous court, Kavanaugh said that the FCC reasonably reviewed the ownership rules to find that repealing or modifying them “was not likely to harm minority and female ownership.”
Kavanaugh added: “The FCC reasoned that the historical justifications for those ownership rules no longer apply in today’s media market, and that permitting efficient combinations among radio stations, television stations and newspapers would benefit consumers.”
Thus we open another can of worms that will lead to more media consolidation and a public with much less choice in information outlets.
Democracy depends on a variety of voices to work. More consolidation will be yet another blow to our democracy that is taking blows on so many fronts such as voting rights and education.
The FCC is currently equally divided, but the party in power will have a majority once the Biden Administration nominates a head and they re confirmed by the Senate. At that time the FCC can issue new rules.
Until then, the looser consolidation rules will be in place. No doubt companies like Sinclair Broadcasting will be out there vacuuming up properties before the FCC can stop them.