When the Third Circuit of the US Court of Appeals threw out the FCC’s revision of the rules governing media ownership, it said that the FCC needed way better empirical evidence to base its ownership formulas on. The FCC’s own studies were widely criticized as inadequate, and media watchers have been waiting to see what kind of research the new Commission’s new chairman, Kevin Martin, would order up.
Now we know.
Out of the blue, ten studies — and ten contractors — were announced. No one knows how the researchers were selected, and no one knows what the research designs for the studies are (though everyone knows that how you frame the questions has a whole lot to do with the kind of answers you find). When the Federal government contracts for stuff, it’s supposed to issue RFP’s (requests for proposals); the process is supposed to be transparent. Apparently transparency doesn’t apply to the FCC.