FCC commissioner Michael Copps, who has come out as an unapologetic voice against media consolidation, spoke at USC’s Walter Cronkite Award ceremony for broadcast journalism this week–where he basically said that while the award recipients present were doing solid work, they were in the minority. According to Copps, media consolidation has put good broadcast journalists out of work, and switched the emphasis from hard-hitting local reporting to eyeball-catching fluff.
Broadcasting and Cable was at the event to catch Copps’ speech:
[Copps] laid some of the blame on past and present FCCs. The past, Republican-led commissions for “blessing just about every media merger transaction that came their way, but wiping the slate virtually clean of the public interest guidelines and responsibilities of licensees.” As he has before, he also took aim at the current Democratic-led FCC for not converting the Obama victory into progressive change.
“A window opened, and many of us thought real media reform was just around the corner,” he said of the change in administration, which he had spoken of at the time as a chance for real change. “Alas, it’s been 27 months now-and we’re still waiting. Still waiting for media reform-or even a down-payment on media reform. Waiting for a public-interest licensing system with some guidelines to encourage news, diversity and localism across all our markets. Waiting for something credible to replace the slam-dunk license renewal system we have now wherein a broadcaster sends us basically a post-card every eight years and gets a license back with virtually no questions asked. Waiting for the sun to shine on who is bank-rolling all those political ads we saw in the last election cycle-post Citizens United. Those ads totaled more than $2 billion.”