Rep. Hinchey Goes To Bat For Media Reform

Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), has long been a leader in the fight for media reform. He is a founder of the Future of American Media caucus in the House, and he is a sponsor of the Media Ownership Reform Act of 2005 (MORA). In an article for The Hill last week, he reiterated the need for media ownership reform.

“How and from where Americans receive their news on these and other issues are of critical importance. Yet this country’s media ownership rules have limited our sources of information, resulting in inadequate and biased news reporting…”

If enacted, MORA will be a significant step forward in establishing a more diverse and informative media environment. Among its provisions:

  • Reduces the number of radio stations one company can own in a given market and caps national ownership at 5 percent of stations.
  • Reinstates national television-station ownership limits, preventing one company from owning broadcast stations that reach more than 25 percent of American households. Current law allows for 39 percent national audience reach.
  • Reestablishes the Fairness Doctrine that the Reagan administration abolished in 1987

These measures are necessary and sensible. But they are only a beginning. Ultimately, the corporate media monopolies must be broken up the same way telecom, oil, and railroad monopolies were. The stark imbalance of power that monopolies wield, and their cozy fraternization with their political benefactors, make it impossible to settle for anything less than total divestment.

Contact your representatives and tell them you want them to sign on to MORA. This may be the most valuable political act you make this year.