That, and other news, in today’s Political Panorama.
Big media giants are suddenly back in the fray — perhaps as a campaign issue.
According to a report in the New York Times, FCC chairman Kevin Martin wants to relax media ownership rules that forbid a media company from owning a newspaper and a TV and radio station in the same city. This is just what Rupert Murdoch has in New York and the Tribune Co. in Los Angeles (soon to be Sam Zell).
Apparently Martin has the support of a majority of the five commissioners. But some Democrats already are digging in their heels. In his presidential campaign, former Sen. John Edwards already has attacked media consolidation.
“This is a big deal because we have way too much concentration of media ownership in the United States,” Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota.
“If the chairman intends to do something by the end of the year,” Dorgan added, his voice rising, “then there will be a firestorm of protest and I’m going to be carrying the wood.”
Media execs have said that the current rules are outdated.
It will be interesting to see how other Democratic contenders fall on this issue should it go further, given that many of their supporters come from the ranks of executives at media conglomerates. Sen. Hillary Clinton has the backing of News Corp. COO Peter Chernin along with other company execs, and Murdoch made a contribution to her campaign last spring.
“Tonight” Light: Barack Obama riffed with Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show” last night, with a warning not to consider Hillary Clinton the inevitable nominee. “Hillary is not he first politician in Washington to declare ‘Mission Accomplished’ a little too soon,” Obama said. He said of reports that he and Vice President Dick Cheney are related, “I don’t want to be invited to the family hunting party.”
Miller Movie?: “Nothing But the Truth,” now filming in Memphis, is the tale of a reporter who goes to jail for refusing to give up her source on a CIA story. But it is not the Judy Miller story. According to the Washington Post, Miller was not pleased about the project, directed by Rod Lurie and starring Kate Beckinsdale. Her lawyer, Floyd Abrams, has a cameo.