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Politics and Economy:
Media Consolidation on NOW
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Over the past several years, NOW has consistently reported on the topic of media ownership. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was created in 1934 with jurisdiction over radio, interstate telephone communication, and later television. But the FCC has always struggled with a fundamental lack of clarity about its proper functions. In its mission to serve the public interest, should the FCC crack down on indecency on the airwaves? Should it use its power to rescind the licenses of wayward stations? The FCC continues to face such questions. Get background information on some of the FCC's more recent decisions below: UPDATES: Since the FCC voted on the rule changes there have been developments in the courts and in Congress.
  • October 8, 2003: NBC said it would purchase the entertainment arm of Vivendi Universal for $3.8 billion.
  • September 3, 2003: a federal appeals court in Philadelphia issued an order blocking the rule changes from taking effect. (Read the ruling.)
  • September 4, 2003: The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a spending bill that contained a provision that would effectively block the ownership rule changes.
  • July 23, 2003: The House voted 400-21 to approve a spending bill that included a provision to block the FCC decision to allow major television networks to own up to 45% of the country's viewers. The Bush administration has voiced opposition to the attempt to rescind the FCC ruling.

Stay tuned in to Congress to find out what's in store for the future of media deregulation.

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NOW's Coverage
Family in front of TV
Battle Over the Rules: Bill Moyers checks in on the battle over the 2003 ownership rules. What was the debate about? Get details.
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History of Media Regulation: View a timeline of media regulation. Plus, resources for further research.
Viacom Logo
Media Ownership Facts And Figures: Find out who owns the media in your town. Plus find out some of what the "Big Six" own?
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Inside the FCC: Bill Moyers talks about the media ownership with FCC Commissioner Michael Copps. NOW's correspondent Rick Karr talks with FCC Chairman Michael Powell and FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein.
Barry Diller
Meet A Media Powerhouse: He changed the face of American media. Barry Diller talks with Bill Moyers about media consolidation. Read the full transcript.
On the Air sign
Media Ownership and Media Content: Taking a look at media merger's effect on radio, and your cable bill. Plus, who's covering what?

American Media History: Bill Moyers Journal on media conglomeration. A brief look at American media and American politics.

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