SENATE SINKS MEDIA CROSS-OWNERSHIP RULES, 55-40
American Reporter Staff
WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 16, 2003, 11:37am EST -- By a wide margin, the United States Senate this morning used a new and rarely-used parliamentary device called a Resolution of Disapproval to kill implementation of so-called cross-ownership rules that would have allowed media conglomerates to own more than one tv station and newspaper in the same market. The ruling was a stinging and ignominious defeat for FCC Chairman Michael K. Powell, who had proposed the rules in the face of broad public opposition that ran 99 to 1 against his proposal.
The rules were broadly opposed by conservatives such as former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms and the National Rifle Assn. and liberals like the ACLU and People for the American Way. who mounted broad telephone, email and letter-writing campaigns against it.
U.S. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota noted the new rules would have treated the five PBS stations that all broadcast on the same signal in Sioux Falls, S.D., the nation's 112th largest market, as a more diversified market than the 10 separate commercial stations in Detroit, the 10th largest broadcast market.
Numerous Republicans joined the Democrats in opposing the bill, which failed by a roll call vote of 55-40. The Senate rule permitting a Resolution of Disapproval was used successfully only once, when it was first created seven years ago, and is designed to allow the Senate to definitively stop implementation of rules adopoted by Federal regulatory agencies.