Congressman Dave Reichert's testimony at Seattle FCC hearing

Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-08) today submitted the opening remarks for the Federal Communications Commission hearing on Media Ownership being held today in Seattle:

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“Good afternoon. I’d like to welcome the FCC Commissioners and all the attendees at today’s hearing to Seattle, WA. I appreciate the opportunity to share a few words with you and I regret that the Congressional schedule did not allow me to be with you today for this important discussion on media ownership.

“Relaxing restrictions on media ownership is clearly not in the public interest. It seems strange that we must create rules in order to maintain diversity, yet, as Americans, we all know that freedom is not free. Our Founding Fathers had the foresight to create a great foundation of democracy in this country, and I’m proud to contribute my time working to protect those freedoms. American corporations create opportunities for us, creating jobs, fueling the economy and keeping our country competitive in this globalized era. But when it comes to media ownership, allowing these companies to simply take over can have the adverse effect of limiting the information available to local consumers.

“Localism and diversity are the cornerstones of our democratic society. Localism enhances the public’s informed participation in our democracy, and a diverse media market reduces the risk that news will be censored or slanted by a few controlling interests. As the Supreme Court has stated, “the purpose of the First Amendment [of the Constitution] is to preserve an uninhibited marketplace of ideas in which truth will ultimately prevail,” and the right of the public to receive unbiased access to news and ideas should not “abridged by either Congress or by the FCC.” It is essential to the health of our democracy to ensure that this right is protected.

“Today is the sixth and final public forum being conducted by the FCC on media ownership issues, prior to a potential vote later this year on new rules that will govern media consolidation. The rules adopted by the FCC will have a tremendous impact on the news coverage and variety of information available to communities across the United States. It is fitting that this final forum is being held here in Seattle, home to one of the largest remaining family and locally owned newspapers in America, The Seattle Times, which has exemplified commitment to and the power of localism. I thank the Commissioners for holding these forums. It is essential that the concerns of the American public be considered before making any changes to our current laws.”

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey