Disney’s Eisner “discovers” media ownership issue

May 9, 2003

The debate over media ownership issues has no doubt generated a lot of smoke and mirrors from all sides. But Walt Disney Company Chairman Michael Eisner’s letter to the FCC last week appears to take the cake.

Eisner asked the FCC for a three-month extension of the rulemaking process so that the public can become better informed of what’s at stake. "I heard about this public comment opportunity through word of mouth, " Eisner wrote. “The major networks have done very little to inform the public of this extremely important issue.”

As the presumably astute man who presides over the media conglomerate that owns the ABC network, it might come as a shocking surprise that Eisner is not only out of the loop on the media ownership debate, but hasn’t noticed that his own network has barely mentioned it in its news coverage.

“The lack of coverage of this issue by the major media companies has at least the appearance of a conflict of interest,” Eisner wrote. “This inaction on the part of the major media companies threatens to undermine the legitimacy of the FCC’s regulatory process. This leaves the FCC exposed to litigation that would have to be defended at the expense of the taxpayer.”

For more information on media ownership rules visit www.fcc.gov.

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