Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), a persistent critic of News Corp. and media consolidation, said Thursday he will not seek re-election in 2014.
The 89-year-old Senator confirmed his plans to the Newark, N.J.-based Star-Ledger, but will make a formal announcement tomorrow in Paterson, N.J.
"I am not announcing the end of anything. I am announcing the beginning of a two-year mission to pass new gun safety laws, protect children from toxic chemicals and create more opportunities for working families in New Jersey,” Lautenberg told The Star-Ledger. “While I may not be seeking re-election, there is plenty of work to do before the end of this term and I'm going to keep fighting as hard as ever for the people of New Jersey in the U.S. Senate.”
As a member of the commerce committee, Lautenberg has been outspoken in his attacks of News Corp., which owns WWOR-TV, licensed in Secaucus, N.J. He's been advocating for the FCC to deny News Corp. the station license for years.
Last December, Lautenberg asked Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski to rethink his proposal to loosen media ownership rules because he felt WWOR-TV wasn't providing enough local news to New Jerseyans. (News Corp. owns the station under an FCC waiver of the cross-ownrship rules prohibiting a company from owning stations and newspapers in a single market.)
When the News Corp. hacking scandal broke in 2011, Lautenberg called for the FCC to investigate whether the illegal activities in Britain extended to the U.S.