WASHINGTON, DC: As the Federal Communications Commission divides along partisan lines to mull disinterred Republican proposals to relax media ownership rules, some one hundred protesters gathered outside the body's headquarters (pictured) in Washington.
According to the Washington Post, there was more than a touch of street theater about the gathering, with some activists dressed as cheerleaders, 'FCC' emblazoned across their chests, chanting "Two, four, six, eight, who do we consolidate?"
The chant was an ironic reference to Republican-led determination in the declining days of the Bush administration to revise the current media ownership rules - a move rejected by a federal court in 2005.
The rules limit how many radio and TV stations major media companies can own in a city and how many radio stations nationally. Current regulations also prevent any one company from owning both a newspaper and a TV station in the same city.
At the behest of White House placeman, FCC chairman Kevin J Martin, the commission has resuscitated the issue despite its judicial rejection two years ago.
The protestors listened to an anti-consolidation speech from Jesse Jackson - a Democratic nominee in 1984 and 1988 and a prominent leader of the American Christian left - as well as two (Democrat) FCC commissioners who have worked within the agency to limit media conglomerate growth.
Consumer and political resistance to relaxation of the rules has been fuelled by the rise and rise of US-based multinational media behemoths such as Clan Murdoch's News Corporation, the Walt Disney Company and Sumner M Redstone's CBS.
Data sourced from WashingtonPost.com; additional content by WARC staff