Thursday, August 02, 2007

July 24, 2001

Dissenting Statement of Commissioner Gloria Tristani

Re: Transfer of Control of Broadcast Licenses Held by Subsidiaries of Chris-Craft Industries, Inc., to Fox Television Stations, Inc.

I dissent from today’s decision to permit Fox to acquire ten television stations from Chris-Craft. The transfer of these television station licenses violates the Communications Act and raises seriousconcerns regarding the ongoing concentration in the ownership of television stations and other media. Thisdecision also shows the lengths the Commission will go to avoid standing in the way of media mergers...

In the context of license transfers, the Commission has required merger applicants to pass a four-part test.91In the application before us, however, the Commission discusses only two of those four factors,the facts of which are not in dispute:(a) Does the transaction violate the Communications Act? Answer: Yes, it allows a single company to own television stations that will reach more than 35% of the national audience, inviolation of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. (b) Does the transaction violate the Commission’s rules? Answer: Yes, in three ways. Thetransaction violates the FCC’s newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership proscription, the nationaltelevision ownership cap, and the local television ownership limits. Even using the Order’s own incomplete version of the public interest test, the transaction clearly should notbe approved. The decision finds that the newly-merged Fox/Chris-Craft will violate the CommunicationsAct and the FCC’s rules, and the decision identifies no offsetting benefits. Yet the majority deems this transaction to be in the public interest and proceeds to grant waivers of our most significant televisionownership rules so that Fox can close its transaction. - FCC : WT Docket No. 99-168

By now most have heard about NewsCorps' acquisition of The Wall Street Journal, unless the latest infrastructure disaster has cast too long a shadow on the news cycle. Goal: to fully realize the centralized management of information itself. Media consolidation is the real issue, but is swept aside by the "liberal vs. conservative bias" debate, a red herring for accelerating processes of noetic singularization. In 2001, NewsCorps acquired Chris-Craft Industries, and the FCC waived rules that would have forced Murdoch to sell one of his other New York media holdings. Just days before, NewsCorps sold Fox Family Worldwide to the Walt Disney Company, another giant worthy of annihilation:

Disney will buy the cable network for $3 billion, plus the assumption of $2.3 billion worth of debts.The network reaches nearly 81 million cable and satellite subscribers in the U.S. Disney CEO Michael Eisner told reporters the purchase would increase the reach of Disney's family-oriented programming. "These assets are a perfect fit for our company," he said. "We paid appropriately for a rare asset." The network will be renamed ABC Family after the Disney-owned broadcast network. - Media Watch

Someone interviewed on today's Democracy Now report raised the question: "what's next"?


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