FCC testimony on media ownership: Kenneth Moninski

I'm Ken Moninski. I'm in the process of acquiring a small business, so I guess that makes me a rapacious capitalist. I’m not sure what the democratized media is going to look like. I have heard a lot of comments, I have read editorials, but nobody has really given me a clear picture of what it should be. Is it going to be taxpayer-funded? Is the government going to control it? Who is going to be the arbiter of content? What happens to all the large big media companies that own media now, are they forced to divest? I don’t know.

But I have a couple of items that I just wanted to raise as we consider these issues. First of all, I have always believed that it’s a false premise to equate the government’s legitimate role of protecting the public interest with the notion that to do so requires its agencies to choose between winners and losers by administrative fiat. The federal government has established policies in the past that have balanced public needs with the ability of private enterprise to start up, grow, and prosper, through a slight relaxation of regulatory burden or outright deregulation of entire industries. In many cases this balance has ultimately benefited consumers, through the introduction of new technologies and innovations to existing business models.

The second point is that the media industry has historically been and most likely will continue to be an oligopoly, a market place with few competitors. There are limited broadcast licenses, large capital outlays required for print facilities, and high operational costs for news divisions. So the question is not whether the so-called monopoly exists, it’s whom the monopolists are going to be and who is going to decide who they are. So I hope that you choose the new regulations wisely to benefit us all and bring a diverse democratic media to us that does not make winners and losers out of all of us but serves the general public interest. Thank you very much.

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