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Common Cause Outlines Media Reform Battle Plan

Focuses on Political Ad Disclosure, Mergers and Getting a More Deregulatory Chairman 2/28/2013 5:22 AM Eastern
 

Common Cause has outlined its battle plan on the media consolidation front.

The group tapped former FCC chairman Michael Copps, a longtime consolidation critic, to head up its Media and Democracy Reform Initiative.

Common Cause is particularly concerned about the impact of media concentration on political speech and the impact of money on elections.

The initiative will leverage 35 state chapters and funding from "several foundations" to spotlight media reform.

In an email to supporters, Todd O'Boyle, program director of the initiative, outlined a three-pronged strategy.

The group will fight government approval of media consolidation that if feels "squelch independent and local voices"; will push the FCC to compel "real" disclosures of political ad sponsorship as a way to redress what it sees as the grievance of the Citizens United decision; and will call for a new FCC chairman to back up then-Senator Obama's opposition to media mergers, policies they say the current chairman "has not always lived up to."

Specifically, the anti-consolidation campaign against will include trying to derail the current FCC proposal to allow for some TV station/newspaper cross-ownerships.

On the new chairman front -- chairman Julius Genachowski has not said when he is leaving -- Common Cause points out that then Senator Barack Obama was publicly opposed to then-FCC chairman Kevin Martin's 2007 cross-ownership proposal, which the current proposal mirrors.

And Common Cause says better disclosure of the source of political dollars in the wake of Citizens United is possible through FCC rules already on the books that require the naming of the "true identity" of the sponsors of political ads.

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