Supreme Court Reaffirms Diversity
Shoptalk - June 24, 2003

Today the Supreme Court reaffirmed the enormous value of diversity in America's educational institutions.

Like diversity in education, diversity in mass media ownership and employment contribute profoundly to the quality of our civic discourse and to the strength of our democratic institutions.

The Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) equal employment opportunity (EEO) rules require nondiscrimination in hiring. In recent years, the FCC cut back its EEO outreach requirements because the FCC was not certain whether it could even require broadcasters to specifically seek out qualified minority job applicants.

Today's Supreme Court decisions show that narrowly tailored race-conscious recruitment to promote diversity would be desirable and should be constitutionally permissible. We call on the FCC to reopen its EEO proceeding and act quickly to strengthen its rules to the extent constitutionally permissible.

Without a doubt, minority media owners provide unique viewpoints that all Americans need to hear. Yet 71 years after the founding of the FCC, minorities hold only 1.3% of the asset value of the broadcast industry.

The Supreme Court may have presented the FCC with an historic opportunity to promote diversity. We shall ask the FCC, and the Advisory Committee on Diversity it plans to create, to review today?s Supreme Court rulings, and determine whether and how it could revise its June 2 media ownership decisions in order to aggressively promote minority ownership.