Those opposed to the relaxation of a longstanding FCC rule against cross-ownership of television stations and newspapers in the same market fought hard, but ultimately, the outcome was never in doubt. The FCC voted 3-2 today to relax the rule and allow companies that own a newspaper in one of the 20 biggest media markets in the U.S. to purchase a television station as well, as long as it isn't one of the four-highest rated in the market.
FCC head Kevin Martin joined his two fellow Republicans in voting for the new rule. Martin has said that the change is necessary to help newspapers struggling in the Internet age, but Democratic commissioner Michael Copps vehemently disagreed, as he has continuously during a fight that had dragged on for months. "In the final analysis," the New York Times quotes Copps as saying, "the real winners today are businesses that are in many cases quite healthy, and the real losers are going to be all of us who depend on the news media to learn what's happening in our communities and to keep an eye on local government. ... Powerful companies are using political muscle to sneak through rule changes that let them profit at the expense of the public interest."