Not again! FCC speeding toward consolidation?

The Federal Communications Commission has scheduled a sixth hearing in its ongoing media cross-ownership proceedings, giving five days notice to the general public, and thus corroborating fears that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has the votes (a 3-2 republican majority) to let mass media consolidate further by amending or repealing the current rules meant to discourage daily newspapers from owning television stations in their same metropolitan area. (My prior encapsulation of the argument made by mass media that they must get more massive to compete with Web 2.0 argument is here.)

 The hearing will occur on Halloween which should put to rest any suspicion that the FCC majority lacks a sense of humor.  FCC critics, who found no humor in the choice, blasted the five-day notice as being insufficient. So did the two minority FCC commissioners who suggested that the majority is rushing to give mass media a Christmas present by letting them satisfy their urge to merge.

The General Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, recently issued a report critical of the FCC for giving big companies an early peek at its plans and giving the public last minute notice.

Thankfully, however, this latest FCC action shows that the commission has taken tha GAO’s criticism to heart. While a five-day notice doesn’t leave enough time for the average citizen to get a special deal on a plane ticket (you could try saying that you’re flying back to watch your Uncle Sam finally and forever bury your old Auntie Fairness Doctrine) there is plenty of time for the hippie element that no doubt opposes this consolidation to assemble small teams of rabble rousers, load them into Volkswagen vans and carpool across the nation (probably having sex enroute so it’s all good).

One other thing. I did not see any media coverage of this yet. I may have missed it or the foxes may be guarding other hen houses at the moment. If you do see some coverage, please leave a link in comments. Oh, and if you are one of the folks in the van racing back East, please obey all speed laws and use protection. Safety first, people!