by Inlander Staff
More on the Story -- In this week's special report on radio, we mention that the Federal Communications Commission is set to vote in early June on sweeping new changes to the rules governing how much media one company can own. After our story was sent to press, we discovered that significant portions of the FCC's plans have been made public in the past couple days. These changes need to pass the five-member commission, but many believe the votes are already in place. Then the plans go to Congress, where they will be debated and possibly passed on to the president to be signed into law.

The plan as reported in the national media would allow a company to own TV stations in markets that add up to more than the previously set cap of 35 percent of the nation's viewing audience. Both Viacom and the News Corporation, led by Aussie mogul Rupert Murdoch, could reach such ownership levels if they go on a media-buying spree, as many predict they will.

One of the commission's two Democrats, Michael Copps, wondered how more concentration of media ownership would be a good use of the nation's airwaves, telling the New York Times on Tuesday, "It's hard to imagine how the proposals foster the goals of the rules, which are diversity of voices, localism and competition."

Short Attention Spans -- Now that the bullets have stopped flying in Iraq, do you think the media will cut back on its coverage? There are still plenty of big stories out there, from whether our promise to create democracy will be hard to keep to whether there really were any WMDs to worry about, as our intelligence establishment claimed. Well, if Gulf War I is any indication, get ready for a quick return to the good old days of stories about cute pets and random mayhem from inside the United States.

Media analyst Andrew Tyndall studied the amount of network TV news coverage of Iraq in January 1991, when the war was launched, and found 1,177 minutes devoted to it. Six months later, in August 1991, only 48 minutes were devoted to the same subject. Another sign that you'll start hearing a lot less about Iraq is the fact that as of last week, two-thirds of the embedded reporters who covered the war have returned home.

File under "Witty Put-Down" -- Here's one to add to your own personal arsenal of zippy bon mots -- and it's a multicultural one, too, so you'll score even more satisfaction. In the Arab world, one of the lowest insults you can hurl at someone is to call them a qirada khusran -- a defeated monkey.

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Publication date: 05/15/03

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