Blogging Religiously

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UCC: Rupert Murdoch too loud in NY

Posted by: Gary Stern - Posted in Uncategorized on Jun 15, 2007

The United Church of Christ is going after Rupert Murdoch. It’s a real David vs. Goliath affair, some might say.

A few weeks ago, the liberal, mainline Protestant denomination filed petitions with the FCC to deny license renewals for two Murdoch-owned TV stations in New York — WNYW-TV and WWOR-TV.

The UCC, along with Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, says that Murdoch should not have both stations and the New York Post.

“Fox’s common ownership of The New York Post, WNYW-TV and WWOR-TV harms me by sharply reducing the number of independent voices available to me,” wrote the Rev. Sherry M. Taylor, from UCC’s Central Atlantic Conference in New Jersey, in the petition. “Unless the licenses are denied, my right to access diverse programming will continue to be harmed.”

The UCC has a long history of fighting for the “public interest” in the media world. In 1964, the denomination helped establish a legal precedent that TV stations must serve the interests of their communities.

“Everett Parker”: of White Plains served as director of the UCC’s national communications office from 1954 to 1983. In this role, he had a huge influence on the broadcasting world. In fact, the trade publication Broadcasting Magazine named him one of the most influential people in broadcasting near the time of his retirement.

The 1.2-million-member UCC, by the way, is having its 50th anniversary celebration in Hartford, starting next Friday. Barack Obama, a UCCer, is scheduled to address more than 10,000 people on Saturday.