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Media Diversity, the FCC and Regulation by Litigation
Consumers Union (CU) and the Consumer Federal of America (CFA) are in court opposing the FCC's recent media ownership rules. In a recent press release, a CU official stated that "the FCC must devise ownership rules based on clear and consistent facts about market realities, not selective, inconsistent concepts that don't pass the laugh test."

CU sites a recent poll by the Pew Research Center to bolster its argument that the FCC's Media Diversity Index is fatally flawed. Specifically, CU states that, "[c]omparing the Pew results to the weights used by the FCC Diversity Index shows that the index is far off the and the Internet are being given importance that is between two and three times what the Pew survey data indicates they deserve."

If the CU/CFA's real complaint is that the FCC "used unrealistic measures in calculating its ‘Diversity Index' for media ownership limits" then, instead of going to court and engaging in regulation by litigation, the consumer watchdog groups should have filed a Data Quality complaint with the FCC. However, the purpose of such complaints is to correct inaccurate, biased or otherwise flawed data disseminated by agencies, not to change policies arrived at through appropriate administrative proceedings. Of course, courts are also not supposed to be venues for changing lawful policy decisions.

Winston is only modestly concerned with the public receiving their news from a limited diversity of news sources. He is far more concerned that much of the public appears to receive, or at least understand, little news at all.
  • Click for Consumers Union Press Release.
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