Fighting Media Consolidation

Who owns the media has a huge impact on the stories that get covered in our communities.

Today absentee corporations own more and more of our media. Focused only on the bottom line, they are cutting journalists, gutting newsrooms and replacing meaningful debate with celebrity gossip and junk news. And many of these corporations are dodging the Federal Communications Commission’s ownership rules to snap up more outlets and create media monopolies in markets throughout the country.

The more independent outlets a community has, the more different viewpoints will be presented on the air. But what happens when there’s no one left to compete? When one company owns everything in your town, it can cut staff and not worry about getting scooped by a competitor. The fewer reporters there are on the streets, the less journalism there is on the news. The fewer DJs there are at your local radio station, the more automated computers and pre-programmed playlists take over.

The FCC is supposed to preserve a competitive media landscape and ensure that broadcasters are good stewards of the public airwaves. The agency sets limits on how much of your local media one company can own. These limits are supposed to encourage stations to compete with one another to provide quality journalism. But powerful media companies have the FCC's ear, and over the years it has become easier for these companies to snatch up more of our local airwaves.

Our ownership chart reveals exactly who owns what. It’s time to change what’s wrong with this picture. We need the FCC to serve communities, not corporations.

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Press Releases

  • Free Press Files Petition to Deny AT&T-DIRECTV Merger

    September 17, 2014
    WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, Free Press filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission to deny AT&T's proposed merger with DIRECTV, stating that the deal harms the public interest.
  • Free Press Files Petition to Deny Comcast Takeover of Time Warner Cable

    August 25, 2014
    WASHINGTON -- Free Press today filed a “petition to deny” the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The petition, submitted to the Federal Communications Commission, presents a definitive account of how the merger fails both the public interest and the antitrust tests required for regulatory approval.
  • 65 Groups Urge the FCC to Reject the Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger

    August 25, 2014
    Sixty-five organizations representing consumers, content producers, and social justice and democracy-reform advocates called on the Federal Communications Commission today to reject the proposed merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable.  The FCC is currently reviewing the deal to determine whether it serves the public interest.
     
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News from Around the Web

  • Growling by Comcast May Bring Tighter Leash

    New York Times
    September 29, 2014

    Comcast has a long corporate tradition of smiling and wearing beige no matter what kind of criticisms are hurled at it. That public posture is in keeping with the low-key approach favored by Brian L. Roberts, the company’s chief executive, as he seeks to take over the world. It’s worked very well so far.

    But in a filing submitted to the Federal Communications Commission last week in defense of its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable, the company lashed out uncharacteristically at its critics.

  • With Perspective From Both Sides of His Desk, FCC Chairman Ponders Net Neutrality

    New York Times
    September 28, 2014

    WASHINGTON — As a lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries, Tom Wheeler played a role in shaping almost every major telecommunications policy and innovation over the last three decades.

    None of them, though, have generated as much public interest as Net Neutrality, the policy most likely to define his time as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

  • Under New Owners, WJLA-TV Takes a Slight Turn to the Right

    Washington Post
    September 23, 2014

    There’s a new owner and a new approach to the news at WJLA-TV, Washington’s ABC affiliate. Under the direction of its ambitious corporate parent, the station’s news operations have taken a subtle but noticeable turn to the right.

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  • Covert Consolidation

    When you turn on the nightly news, you expect to find competing viewpoints and different perspectives from one station to the next. But in communities across the country, stations that were once fierce competitors have cut staff and merged their newsrooms, in many cases airing the same content on multiple stations in the same market. You can try to change the channel, but all you'll see is the exact same newscast.

  • Rupert Murdoch Scandal

    There are many reasons the scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. has riveted public attention around the world. It's a story that features all of the classic elements: crimes, betrayal, abuse of power and even a cover-up.

  • Money, Media and Elections

    The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision launched a new era of big-money politics. The wealthiest 1 percent now has even more power to pick and choose our nation’s leaders. And they’re spending the bulk of this money on televised political ads designed to mislead voters. (Click here to see Free Press' infographic depicting this dysfunctional dynamic.)

People + Policy

= Positive Change for the Public Good

people + policy = Positive Change for the Public Good