Yesterday, the FCC released its long-awaited report on the state of America’s media marketplace, entitled “The Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age.” Though there had been some fear that the report would be hijacked by groups like Free Press (which urged invasive government involvement in the marketplace in order to save it and journalism), as Mercatus Center’s Adam Thierer tells us:
My first reaction after scanning the FCC’s final report is one of relief. For those of us who care about the First Amendment, media freedom, and free-market experimentation with new media business models, it feels like we’ve dodged a major bullet. The report does not recommend sweeping regulatory actions that might have seen Washington inserting itself into the affairs of the press or bailing out dying business models.
Not all were happy, of course. As could be expected, Free Press saw the report as a squandered opportunity by the FCC, stating:
The biggest take away from the agency’s report is that there is still a crisis in quality, local news. However, oddly, the FCC report seems to embrace policies that would make this problem even worse. We are especially disappointed that the Commission is abandoning enhanced disclosure that requires broadcasters to report how much – or how little – local news and programming they air. In essence, this hides the problem this report was intended to help resolve by making it harder to find evidence of the problem.
Also, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps exclaimed his disappointment with the report, noting:
It will come as a surprise to few here this morning that this just-released Staff Report and its accompanying recommendations are not the bold response for which I hoped and dared to dream… Instead, the overarching conclusion of the Staff Report seems to be that America’s media landscape is mostly vibrant and there is no overall crisis of news or information. But there is a crisis when, as this Report tells us, more than one-third of our commercial broadcasters offer little to no news whatsoever to their communities of license.
More to come as we look deeper into the comprehensive, 475-page report…