IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Does Media Ownership Affect Media Stands? The Case of the Telecommunications Act of 1996


  • James H. Snider
  • Bejamin I. Page


Democratic theory suggests that media should act in the interests of ordinary citizens. If a highly influential segment of the media presents information in a way that systematically favors its interests over other interests, democracy may be weakened. Media organizations, reacting to concern about such "bias," often insist that they follow a "norm of objectivity," separating their business interests from their news operations. Media scholars tend to confirm that such a norm of objectivity pervades newsrooms. On February 1, 1996, Congress passed the Telecommunications Act of 1996, one provision of which gave existing TV broadcasters free usage of spectrum valued at between $11 and $70 billion. Opponents called this a "giveaway" and one of the largest "corporate welfare" programs in United States history. In the months preceding and following passage of the Act, TV broadcasters actively lobbied against their opponents. The research here suggests that the separation of "church and state" was crossed; media owners' economic interests affected their news coverage. Generalizations from this case should be made with caution because of the extraordinarily high stakes involved for media owners.

Suggested Citation

  • James H. Snider & Bejamin I. Page, "undated". "Does Media Ownership Affect Media Stands? The Case of the Telecommunications Act of 1996," IPR working papers 97-12, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:nwuipr:97-12

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:nwuipr:97-12. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.