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.

Blog Posts

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Press Releases

  • Verizon-AOL Merger Makes No Sense

    May 12, 2015
    WASHINGTON — Verizon Communications plans to buy AOL for $4.4 billion, according to a report in Tuesday's Wall Street Journal. The deal is the telecom giant's latest bid to expand its business to include mobile video and advertising services. If finalized, Verizon would also take control of AOL's online news sites, including Engadget, The Huffington Post and TechCrunch.
  • Comcast-Time Warner Cable: The Deal Is Dead

    April 24, 2015
    WASHINGTON -- Comcast abandoned its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable on Friday morning. The move followed media reports of considerable skepticism about the benefits of the merger by staff at the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission, the two agencies charged with reviewing the deal.
  • FCC Poised to Move Against Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger

    April 23, 2015

    WASHINGTON -- According to reports in the Wall Street Journal and Politico, Federal Communications Commission staff may be prepared to recommend that Comcast’s proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable be designated for a hearing. Such a move would put the merger request in the hands of an administrative law judge, who would conduct a thorough inquiry into the public-interest benefits of the proposed merger, if any.

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News from Around the Web

  • DISH, Cogent Specify Demands for Concessions in AT&T-DIRECTV Merger

    Reuters
    May 14, 2015

    WASHINGTON — DISH Network Corp, Cogent Communications Holdings Inc and advocacy groups are asking U.S. regulators to restrict AT&T Inc's power over online video and other content as part of its proposed purchase of DirecTV.
    The group of critics of the pending $48.5 billion acquisition met with a large team of officials at the Federal Communications Commission, including the top merger reviewers, on May 8 and laid out the most detailed yet demands for potential conditions to the deal, disclosed in a filing on Wednesday.

  • The AOL-Verizon Merger and Net Neutrality

    Center for Responsive Politics
    May 13, 2015

    In the run-up to the FCC decision on Net Neutrality earlier this year, Verizon flexed its lobbying muscle in opposition to rules that would regulate the Internet as a public utility. The company has few peers when it comes to lobbying in the capital, but a network of smaller companies and interests backed the regs publicly and behind the scenes — including AOL. This week, though, Verizon agreed to acquire AOL in a deal reportedly worth $4.4 billion.

  • AOL's Video a Key Lure for Verizon in $4.4 Billion Acquisition

    Los Angeles Times
    May 13, 2015

    Nearly everybody, it seems, carries a smartphone. As a result, everything's going mobile.

    So why, then, would Verizon, already the nation's largest wireless carrier and a giant in mobile communications, want to pay $4.4 billion to buy an old-line Internet company with a dowdy reputation like AOL?

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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