How Will Obama's Election Impact Media Regulation?

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How Will Obama's Election Impact Media Regulation?

Thu Nov 06, 2008 @ 12:38AM PST

By Eriq Gardner

ObamaNow that the presidential election is over, we can start handicapping the new Obama administration and its views on regulation of the media.

In a June interview with Broadcasting & Cable, Obama outlined some of his priorities on the topic.

Media ownership: Expect a much more active Department of Justice and FTC in reviewing mergers and media consolidation. This might be the most significant impact of the new Obama administration as far as media regulation goes. "I feel that media consolidation during the Bush administration has had the effect of eliminating a lot of the diversity of information sources available to persons who have to rely on more traditional information sources, such as radio and television broadcasts and newspapers," the president-elect said.

More thoughts after the jump:

Access issues: The Republicans have traditionally had stronger connections with the old telecommunication interest groups. Obama got a great deal of support from Silicon Valley (including a taped testimonial offered by Google CEO Eric Schmidt during the famous 30-minute infomercial) and in the B&C interview, he champions one of the technorati's pet issues — network neutrality. "There are very low entry barriers for the delivery of services over the Internet, and public debate is unfettered by either the network owner or any single dominant voice," he says.

Obscenity: In the interview, Obama dances around any strong stand on regulating indecency on broadcasting. It's probably not atop his agenda, and though he acknowledges a "precedent that government should act to protect kids in a nonintrusive way," few should expect an aggressive, policing FCC — whatever the Supreme Court decides. In fact, his attitude on the subject is probably not too different than his opinion on a law against people wearing sagging pants. Click here for that.

New FCC chair: Obama says FCC commissioners "must have a combination of technical and political expertise and solid relationships in Congress, with industry and with the public-interest community." Snore. The smart money on the new FCC chair may be Julius Genachowski, a top fundraiser and Harvard Law classmate of Obama. Genachowski has worked inside the entertainment industry as chief of business operations at Barry Diller's Interactive Corp. and his wife makes documentary films.

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The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter, Esq. blog focuses on how the entertainment and media industries are impacted and influenced by the law. It is edited by Matthew Belloni with contributions from veteran legal reporter Eriq Gardner and others. Before joining The Hollywood Reporter, Belloni was a lawyer at an entertainment litigation firm in Los Angeles. He writes a column for THR devoted to entertainment law. Gardner is a New York-based writer and legal journalist. Send tips or comments to Matthew.Belloni@thr.com

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