Monday, January 24, 2005

Media reformers cheer Powell’s departure

January 21, 2005

Josh Silver, (413) 585-1533 x21
Craig Aaron, (202) 265-1490

Media reformers cheer Powell’s departure

Free Press asks President Bush to appoint a new FCC chairman who will represent the public interest, not media moguls

The Wall Street Journal reported Friday morning that Michael Powell is resigning after four years as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. Robert W. McChesney, founder and president of the nonpartisan media reform group Free Press, made the following statement:

"Michael Powell will not be missed by those of us concerned about creating a more democratic media system. His tenure was marked by some of the lowest moments in the history of the FCC — most notably the disastrous decision in June 2003 to further loosen media ownership rules. Powell’s record has been one of avoiding the public he was meant to serve. He had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the few public hearings he attended, yet he made countless appearances before industry groups and trade associations.

“However, Powell’s departure presents an opportunity for President Bush to reach out to the millions of Americans who have pleaded with Congress and the FCC to stop further media consolidation, enforce public interest obligations, increase the diversity of voices in the media, and create policies that will encourage universal, low-cost access to the Internet. President Bush should choose a new chairman who will represent the public, not just the largest media moguls.”