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Kerry Opposes Media Consolidation

Aug 5, 2004  •  Post A Comment

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said Thursday that if elected, he’ll oppose further consolidation of the media industry.

“I’m against the ongoing push for media consolidation,” Sen. Kerry said. “It’s contrary to the stronger interests of the country.”

In remarks at Unity 2004, a conference for minority journalists in Washington, Sen. Kerry also vowed to staff the Federal Communications Commission with officials who share his thinking on the issue. “I will pursue a policy that tries to have as diverse and broad an ownership as possible,” he said. “It’s critical to who we are as a free people. It’s critical to our democracy.”

Sen. Kerry also said he was unhappy that the major broadcast TV networks had offered only limited coverage of the Democratic National Convention-and he used their decision to limit live coverage as an example of why the consolidation of power in the media industry is bad for the public.

“I thought [Illinois state Sen.] Barack Obama gave a brilliant speech,” he said. “America missed it. My wife gave, I thought, a superb speech.

“These were moments that I think America ought to share. If we’re going to be a strong democracy and it’s all driven by money, we’re in trouble. I’m going to make sure we have diversity.”

He added, “I understand the world has changed with cable and Internet and the number of outlets that we have. But notwithstanding that, the concentration of power still remains, I think, a very significant issue.”

In his formal remarks, Sen. Kerry said only 4.2 percent of radio stations and 1.5 percent of TV stations are currently owned by minorities. “As president, I will expand opportunities for people of color in the media by appointing FCC commissioners committed to enforcing equal employment and ensuring that small and minority-owned broadcasters are not consolidated into extinction,” he said.