On Wednesday the Communications Workers of America will lead a press conference at The National Press Club in Washington to critique the 12 studies the FCC issued in early November that tipped its hand on the ramifications of media ownership consolidation. Most of the reports showed that consolidation had little or no effect on consumer service or program diversity. Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Analysis, will present his critique of the studies.
He won’t be alone. Linda Foley president of the Newspaper Guild, Tom Carpenter of the Federation of Television and Radio Artists and Mona Mangan executive director of Writers Guild of America East, will be present. According to CWA director Candice Johnson, these organizations fear that media consolidation will result in fewer creative and infrastructure jobs, just as the AAAA is concerned that the move will clamp down on agency-owner fee negotiations.
“A lot of these organizations are going directly against the wishes of companies that they work for,” Johnson said. “We have been on top of this issue from day one, and we’re very concerned that content and diversity of opinion will be adversely effected.”
The report issued Wednesday will be called “Democracy Unhinged: More Media Concentration Means Less Public Discourse.” Johnson said she has not yet been in touch with the AAAA or any other media trade groups. However, she expects the hearings scheduled to start with the FCC in January will allow several groups to meet on the issue.
“We are very far from saying this subject is a done deal,” Johnson said. “We’re going to challenge other media to cover this story, because they haven’t. Local news especially has been steering away from it and it stands to affect them greatly. This is the real deal.”