Republican FCC Chairman Michael Powell would just as soon hear the public's thoughts on media ownership via e-mail. This way, there are no nasty personal confrontations or emotional sound bites in a highly visible public setting. Michael Copps, a Democratic political rival, thinks the stakes are far too high to trust the Internet alone.
In the oh so polite combat of the FCC, Powell issued a short statement after Copps called for two additional hearings to illuminate the chairman's pet issue. Noting that 13,000 comments had come to the FCC so far, Powell said, "this record clearly demonstrates that in the digital age, you don't need a 19th century whistle stop tour to hear from America."
Copps, who favors multiple public hearings to tap into expertise on media ownership in individual markets, responded to Powell's statement. "To imagine that we can sit around and count on the Internet or new tools or technology without lifting a finger ourselves is to not live up to the outreach responsibility that I think we have."
Media corporations who seek to consolidate media outlets under far fewer owners support Powell, who wants to change the rules by spring. He is receiving growing opposition from consumer groups, entertainment industry guilds and activists who see such changes resulting in fewer media voices, less creativity and few jobs in the creative community.
For more information visit www.fcc.gov.