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Broadcast Ownership Regulation in a Border Era: An Analysis of how the U.S. Federal Communications Commission is Shaping the Debate on Broadcast Ownership Limits
Unformatted Document Text:  19 and the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics at the Universite Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. One of the remaining two items, a book titled The Theory of Industrial Organization, is classified in the Library of Congress system as “Industry.” The final item is an article titled “Consumer Sovereignty and the Economics of TV Programming” from the journal Studies in Public Communication. This journal is catalogued under the Library of Congress system as “Communication—mass media.” Therefore, with the possible exception of this final item, study number six relies entirely on economics and management literature to approach the topic of media concentration and commercial advertising. This is hardly surprising since the study’s lead author’s affiliation is given as the Department of Economics, U.S. Naval Academy. It is also undoubtedly the case that the topic should be approached using an economic perspective. The question we wish to raise here, however, is whether this should be the only perspective used. Similar analyses could be made of the remaining studies not discussed here. By relying so heavily on economic analysis has the FCC done precisely what Gomery warned against at the Roundtable on Media Ownership Policies? I argue that we need to question a pure free market approach which assumes that efficient operation represents the paramount—and often sole goal—for any media enterprise, even ones so vital to democracy and quality of life as mass communication and mass entertainment. Studying the economics of mass communication as a homogeneous good or service assumes away the important roles played by the media in society and public life. We need abandon this far too narrow perspective which sees no reasons for any government intervention. (Gomery, 2001, October 29, 2001, np) By selecting this “narrow perspective” has the FCC virtually guaranteed what the conclusions of all this analysis will be? Based on this narrow perspective the new factual foundation for the

Authors: Blevins, Jeffrey. and Brown, Duncan.
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19
and the Center for Operations Research and Econometrics at the Universite Catholique de
Louvain in Belgium. One of the remaining two items, a book titled The Theory of Industrial
Organization, is classified in the Library of Congress system as “Industry.” The final item is an
article titled “Consumer Sovereignty and the Economics of TV Programming” from the journal
Studies in Public Communication. This journal is catalogued under the Library of Congress
system as “Communication—mass media.”
Therefore, with the possible exception of this final item, study number six relies entirely
on economics and management literature to approach the topic of media concentration and
commercial advertising. This is hardly surprising since the study’s lead author’s affiliation is
given as the Department of Economics, U.S. Naval Academy. It is also undoubtedly the case
that the topic should be approached using an economic perspective. The question we wish to
raise here, however, is whether this should be the only perspective used. Similar analyses could
be made of the remaining studies not discussed here.
By relying so heavily on economic analysis has the FCC done precisely what Gomery
warned against at the Roundtable on Media Ownership Policies?
I argue that we need to question a pure free market
approach which assumes that efficient operation represents the
paramount—and often sole goal—for any media enterprise, even
ones so vital to democracy and quality of life as mass
communication and mass entertainment. Studying the economics
of mass communication as a homogeneous good or service
assumes away the important roles played by the media in society
and public life. We need abandon this far too narrow perspective
which sees no reasons for any government intervention. (Gomery,
2001, October 29, 2001, np)
By selecting this “narrow perspective” has the FCC virtually guaranteed what the conclusions of
all this analysis will be? Based on this narrow perspective the new factual foundation for the


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