The FCC Just Voted To Ruin Local News

While it’s true that the internet has changed the way people consume their news, most online coverage is focused on national and international issues to appeal to a wide audience. That’s why local news – newspapers and TV stations – are so important, so they fill in the gaps on what’s going on in your immediate communities.

Unfortunately, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) just took a big step toward ruining the quality of local reporting. As the Verge reports, the FCC voted to get rid of a rule that forbids companies from owning both a TV station and a newspaper in the same market, as well as a stipulation that the same company couldn’t own more than one TV station unless that market had at least eight competing stations.

In the past, these rules have ensured that metropolises maintain a diversity of viewpoints in their news, and that one parent company can’t dominate the news narrative for an entire area. Without them, media giants can gobble up all the smaller outlets and control the kind of content people see.

If there’s an obvious winner in this decision, it’s Sinclair, the rightwing broadcasting entity that is actively buying up local news outlets around the country and requiring its news teams to air conservative opinion pieces to sway viewers.

Sinclair is currently attempting to purchase Tribune Media for nearly $4 billion in order to put its news in 72 percent of American households via local markets. By repealing these rules, the FCC just made it easier for this deal to go through without Sinclair having to sell stations in overlapping markets.

Although FCC Chairman Ajit Pai celebrated his commission for getting rid of “stale” regulations, not everyone was on board. The vote was actually 3-2, with the two Democrats dissenting. “I am hard pressed to see any commitment to diversity, localism or competition in that result,” said Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel.

Sadly, this isn’t even the first major attack on local news in the past several weeks. Just a month ago, the FCC (again, just the Republican members) also decided that local broadcasters no longer needed to have an actual studio in the market for which they air. In other words, that “local” news doesn’t need to be locally produced anymore.

Many local papers and stations are struggling to stay afloat financially, so giving potential buyers a chance to pick up multiple outlets in the same market could save some from vanishing. At the same, is the FCC really “saving” local media by allowing faraway media conglomerates to take control and form monopolies?

Photo credit: Thinkstock

51 comments

Brandy S
Brandy S20 days ago

This must be one of the reasons the Republicans were voted into power.

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Paulo R
Paulo R23 days ago

ty

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Paulo R
Paulo R23 days ago

ty

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Just Human
Just Human24 days ago

Now manipulating the public is that much easier. People have to get facts from many sources and synthesize that information into informed opinions. Unfortunately, Americans love to parrot the first thing they hear that their gut agrees with. THINK!

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Sheila D
Sheila D24 days ago

Thanks for sharing. Seems like the brainwashing from the rabid Right is expanding. Not good.

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Amanda M
Amanda M24 days ago

thanks for sharing

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Amanda M
Amanda M24 days ago

thanks for sharing

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pam w
pam w24 days ago

This must be overturned!

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Winn A
Winn A24 days ago

Noted

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Janis K
Janis K24 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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