Claiming that Fox Broadcasting represents “the worst traditions of American broadcasting,” the NAACP is urging the FCC not to grant Fox a public interest waiver of rules barring foreigners from owning U.S. TV stations.
The NAACP’s petition came in response to the FCC’s recent finding that Rupert Murdoch’s U.S. TV stations have exceeded the 25% foreign ownership limit for nearly a decade. Rather than exact tough penalties against Murdoch & Co., however, the FCC voted to give Fox the chance to escape punishment by proving its TV stations have served the public interest.
Fox has argued that the waiver is warranted because its programming has been “unique” and that its TV stations helped form the nucleus of a fourth network.
But in comments filed at the FCC this week, the NAACP argued vociferously for the agency to deny Fox the public interest waiver.
The NAACP repeated its long-held view that if foreigners are allowed to buy U.S. TV stations, blacks and other potential minority buyers will be shut out of the market. “The (FCC) should not force American minorities to the back of the line and allow wealthy foreigners – simply because they have money – to jump to the front of the line. As Americans, we simply need to put our own people first.”
The NAACP asked the FCC to deny the waiver outright. Lacking that, the FCC should hold oral arguments to allow both sides to debate the issue, the group asked.
Meanwhile, Fox drew support this week for the waiver from the National Football League, the Fox affiliates organization, the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America.