Tuesday, February 24, 2009


F.C.C. Agrees to Talk to Sharpton

About News Corp. Waiver

The Reverend Al Sharpton said the F.C.C. has agreed to meet him in Washington tomorrow at 11 a.m. to discuss his call to review the waivers granted to Rupert Murdoch that allow him to own more than one television station and newspaper in the same city.

The meeting comes on the heels of a Sharpton-led rally against a cartoon that ran in the Murdoch-owned New York Post depicting Barack Obama as a dead chimpanzee.

Murdoch ran a personal apology for the cartoon in the Post today.

Sharpton made the announcement he would meet with federal officials during a rally he held on the steps of City Hall this morning, where more than 100 activists and elected officials vented frustration with Murdoch’s empire.

At the event, I asked Sharpton about the First Amendment right to criticize public officials. “What we’ve said is the only way to protece First Amendment is not to give all of the media ownership in the city to one person. Because, have you seen Fox News do a special on this cartoon? No, cause he owns it. Have you seen a Wall Street Journal article on this? No, cause he owns it. So, you cannot say you’re going to give a waiver to one person to own everything and then say they have the First Amendment right to use the dominating of a market to slur people.”

UPDATE: As Jeff Bercovici points out, the Journal did, in fact, run an article on the cartoon.

Azi Paybarah can be reached via email at azi.paybarah@politickerny.com.

Related topics: Rupert Murdoch, Al Sharpton
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