FCC Commissioner: TV News Is 'In Its Hour of Grave Peril'

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WASHINGTON - MARCH 25:  Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps testifies before the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Communications, Technology, and the Internet Subcommittee hearing March 25, 2010 in Washington, DC. Copps and the other FCC commissioners testified about their new National Broadband Plan.

Michael Copps also points the finger at his own agency for allowing it to happen.

Federal Communications Commissioner Michael Copps warns that television news is "in its hour of grave peril" and accuses the media of not serving the public, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The media is not "producing the body of news and information that democracy needs to conduct its civic dialogue," Copps said in a BBC interview, quoted by the Times. "We are going to be pretty close to denying our citizens the essential news and information that they need to have in order to make intelligent decisions about the future direction of their country."

But Copps doesn't stop there. He names media consolidation -- and his own agency -- as participants in media's downfall, in a separate speech he is to deliver Thursday at Columbia University's School of Journalism.

"The place where I work -- the Federal Communications Commission -- blessed it all, encouraged the consolidation mania, and went beyond even that to eviscerate just about every public interest responsibility that generations of reformers had fought for and won in radio and TV."

He points to a study by the USC Annenberg School of Communication & Journalism's Norman Lear Center that shows that the average 30-minute local news broadcast has less than 30 seconds set aside for local government news.

"If it bleeds it leads, but if it's democracy's lifeblood, let it hemorrhage," Copps says.