Former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, leader of the Media and Democracy Reform Initiative at Common Cause, spoke broadly about media policy and the need for media reform in the age of increasing media consolidation. The evening featured a discussion of how consolidation threatens the vibrancy of our informational infrastructure. Copps focused on media ownership and the importance of cross-ownership restrictions – which the FCC is currently trying to relax, but which Copps argued are essential for a robust media with diverse viewpoints – as well as the challenges to maintaining a free and open internet. Copps drew on his 10 years of experience as Commissioner at the FCC to explain Common Cause’s ongoing campaigns to restore the greatness of the American media and revitalize our democracy.
The Honorable Michael J. Copps Former Commissioner, U.S. Federal Communications Commission (2001-2011); Senior Advisor for Media and Democracy Reform Initiative, Common Cause
Michael J. Copps served as a member of the Federal Communications Commission from 2001 to 2011. His tenure was marked by a consistent embrace of the public interest. He has been a strong voice in opposition of consolidation in the telecommunications sector, and notably dissented in the Comcast-NBC Universal merger. He has been a consistent proponent for localism in programming and diversity in media ownership. Though retired from the Commission, he has maintained his commitment to an inclusive, informative media landscape and now leads the Media and Democracy Reform Initiative at Common Cause. He also sits on the boards of Free Press and Public Knowledge. Prior to his time at the FCC, he served as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development at the Department of Commerce during the Clinton Administration and Chief of Staff to Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC) from the early 1970s to 1983.
In Conversation with Andrew Lund Director of the Integrated Media Arts MFA Program at Hunter College
Andrew Lund is a filmmaker, entertainment lawyer and Associate Professor and Director of the Integrated Media Arts MFA Program at Hunter College. His recent films Brief Reunion and My Last Day Without You won awards at the 2011 UFVA conference and 2011 Brooklyn International Film Festival, respectively. Andrew is the Executive Producer of nine feature films and has directed five short films. Andrew founded and curates CinemaTalksand created the Short Film Repository.
- Video (via Democracy Now): Ex-FCC Commissioner Michael Copps on Media Consolidation, Broadband Expansion, Threats to Journalism
In a wide-ranging discussion, he examines the FCC’s key accomplishments and failures of the past decade. Copps argues broadband is “the most opportunity-creating technology perhaps in the history of humankind,” and laments that the United States still lacks a national broadband infrastructure. He says the FCC has yet to address a lack of diversity in media ownership, noting that “owning a station has a lot to do with the kind of programing that’s going to be on that station.” Regarding the future of journalism, Copps calls on the FCC to make access to quality journalism a “national priority,” saying, “the future of our democracy hinges upon having an informed electorate.”
- Common Cause
Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.
Today, Common Cause is one of the most active, effective, and respected nonprofit organizations working for political change in America. Common Cause strives to strengthen our democracy by empowering our members, supporters and the general public to take action on critical policy issues.
Now with nearly 400,000 members and supporters and 35 state organizations, Common Cause remains committed to honest, open and accountable government, as well as encouraging citizen participation in democracy.
In 2000, the organization created the Common Cause Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity, as its public education and research affiliate.