Comments of NOW President Kim Gandy on legislation introduced today by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) to reject Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations that would expand the ability of media conglomerates to increase their cross-ownership of multiple media outlets in a single community, reducing the diversity of local voices.
At the National Organization for Women, which is the nation’s largest grassroots women’s rights organization, we are extremely concerned about the state of media today, particularly media ownership.
Not a day goes by that women don’t call and write to us to express their frustration at what they see, hear and read in the media. They are outraged by sexist, racist, homophobic comments. They are disturbed by the high level of sexual exploitation and violence. They ask why more women experts aren’t featured on news and political talk shows. They are dismayed at the lack of substantive coverage of women’s issues. And they long for better role models for their daughters and sons.
I believe this condition is a direct result of the lack of diversity in ownership. Women own just five percent of commercial broadcast TV stations and six percent of all full-power radio stations. Whenever the FCC allows big media companies to gobble up more stations, it leaves fewer and fewer outlets for women and people of color to purchase. And often the big companies are buying stations from women and people of color.
It is critical that we not let the FCC further relax its ownership rules. If the media giants grow even larger, women and people of color will suffer as their voices and viewpoints become even further marginalized. I applaud Sen. Dorgan for standing up for the people’s interests — not for making big business even bigger.
NOW is calling on its members and all women’s rights supporters to write to their Senators today, urging them to vote ‘yes’ on the Senate resolution to reject the FCC’s disastrous new rules.