Television broadcasters are suing to block an attempt by the Federal Communications Commission to crack down on media consolidation.
The lawsuit by the National Association of Broadcasters claims that the agency’s new policy is “arbitrary and capricious” and an abuse of power. The suit, filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, also claims that the FCC failed to follow proper rule-making procedure.
Under the FCC Media Bureau’s policy, which was first issued in March, the agency will scrutinize any deals between TV stations that share a single advertising staff or other resources — such as news helicopters. Later in the month, the FCC enacted broader rules against “joint sales agreements.”
Democratic FCC officials argue that major TV companies around the country are colluding to undermine the agency’s media-ownership caps.
The FCC bars any company from owning more than one of the top four TV stations in a market. By selling ads for multiple stations, companies have been able to dodge the FCC’s ownership cap while effectively controlling several stations, according to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.
The goal of the TV ownership cap is to ensure that viewers have access to a diverse range of views in the media and that no single corporation is able to dominate the flow of information.
Republicans and broadcasters warn that the FCC’s actions will force small TV stations off the air. They argue that sharing resources helps stations save costs and focus more on covering news important to their local communities.
CORRECTION: This post has been updated to reflect that the lawsuit is over the Media Bureau’s policy guidance as opposed to the new rules on joint sales deals.
What We're Following See More »
Hillary Clinton now leads Donald Trump by a mere two points in a four-way race, according to the latest Morning Consult weekly poll. Clinton leads 39%-37%, with Gary Johnson at 8% and Jill Stein at 3%. In a two-way race, Clinton leads by three, 43%-40%.
Donald Trump is hosting Rudy Giuliani, Laura Ingraham, and Roger Ailes "at his New Jersey golf course for Sunday chats" about debating strategy. "Over bacon cheeseburgers, hot dogs and glasses of Coca-Cola, they test out zingers and chew over ways to refine the Republican nominee’s pitch. Trump’s aides have put together briefing books, not that the candidate is devoting much time to reading them." Ingraham may be cast as the Hillary Clinton stand-in, although Trump's confidence is such that he may not hold any such dress rehearsals. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell reports that one such confab was held yesterday.
Donald Trump's personal physician, Harold Bornstein, said he wrote a letter declaring Trump would be the healthiest president in history in just five minutes while a limo sent by the candidate waited outside his Manhattan office." However, he said "he stands by his glowing assessment of the 70-year-old's physical state."
Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”