FCC Studies of the Television Marketplace under George W. Bush: Flawed Measurements and Invalid Conclusions


  • William M. Kunz


FCC, television marketplace, cable, media, broadcast


Multiple Congressional acts require the Federal Communications Commission to review its ownership rules or measure the degree of competition in the television marketplace in various intervals. The FCC under the Bush Administration did not adhere to the most basic element of those mandates and issued reports long after the required time period on numerous occasions. There was a more substantive flaw in the FCC studies of the broadcast and cable marketplace from 2001 until 2009 as the Commission relied on incomplete data and utilized inadequate definitions in its analysis. This essay evaluates FCC reports on ownership in prime time television and the video programming marketplace issued during the Bush Administration and critiques those measurements against ones built upon more accurate data and more appropriate definitions. The conclusion reached is that the FCC consistently underreported on the level of concentration and conglomeration in the broadcast and cable industries during the Bush Administration.