U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Ver) has urged President George W. Bush to appoint a new Federal Communications Commission chairman who will value diversity in broadcasting and stand on guard against further media consolidation.
In a letter co-signed by Democratic Congressmembers Maurice Hinchey of New York and Diane E. Watson of California,
Sanders said in choosing someone to replace Michael Powell, who has announced his plans to resign as FCC chairman, the President should select someone "who will understand the damaging
impact media conglomeration has had on the free exchange of ideas so fundamental to our democracy.
"This includes putting broadcasters’ public interest obligations ahead of any profit-driven efforts
at deregulation, respecting and promoting independent programming and consumer choices in
television, radio, and internet access, and encouraging more diversity in ownership and content," Sanders and his colleagues wrote.
"The Supreme Court has long declared that 'the widest possible dissemination of information from
diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public, that a free press is a
condition of a free society.'" they noted in their letter. "It is our hope that your choice for the next FCC Chairman will work to restore and uphold such principles of a free press."