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Media Cross-Ownership Is Equal to Censorship

August 08, 2004

"Tribune Asks Court to Allow Cross-Ownership" (July 22) was a brief account of Tribune Co.'s whiny pitch in support of looser media ownership rules.

Tribune would like to own a major newspaper -- like its Los Angeles Times -- and a major television station in the same city or market. The company doesn't mention that fewer voices owning and controlling the media is the equivalent of censorship in the 21st century. Fewer owners mean fewer viewpoints, less local input, less diversity.

That said, there were a few things Tribune also forgot to include:

First, the Federal Communications Commission held one of five localism hearings in California on July 22. The agency asked what, if any, were the effects of media ownership on communities. Participants were overwhelmingly in favor of more local, more diverse and more independent media.

Second, Tribune already owns KTLA Channel 5, one of the largest TV stations in Los Angeles. You might ask then: What is Tribune complaining about if it already has what it wants?

Unfortunately, the courts, the public and Congress have all chastised the FCC for allowing cross-ownership, so things are not looking good for Tribune.

Jennette Gayer

Consumer advocate

California Public Interest

Research Group

Los Angeles

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