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Talk is cheap on media ownership

Talking about new rules to protect media localism, particularly when those rules creep into the area of content regulation, is merely an effort to divert attention from badly reasoned and badly written ownership rules that wont stand up in court. More importantly, these rules will not stand in the court of public opinion.

Chairman Powell's suggestion that the millions of cards and letters he received on this issue expressed concern for localism and not media concentration is simply wrong and is refuted both by public opinion polls as well as the comments and testimony presented to the FCC.

The FCC's suggestion that it will further study the issue of media concentration, without staying its June 2 rules, is an insult to those of us who suggested, in the record, that the Commission had not done its homework. The appropriate time for study is before rules are issued, not afterwards.

Chairman Powell has recently expressed the opinion that congressional action to overturn the rules is merely negativism. He has challenged them instead to offer a positive policy position. In fact, with respect to the national cap, Congress is mandating the reinstitution of a 35 percent cap--a statement of the express will of Congress. With respect to the cross-ownership ban, Congress has made a specific statement of policy--they want the ban.

We are certain that the Chairman's actions today will not stop the political firestorm that the FCC rules have created.

Mark Cooper
Washington, D.C.