This Girl's Voice

Wednesday, May 14, 2003  

••ACTION ALERT: Showdown At The FCC -- Only 19 days left for you to do something!••


If ever there was a more potent issue and a more crucial time to organize day-in day-out massive rallies in the streets of America's cities by those very same peace activists who did such a brilliant job at drawing the news media's attention and in turn, the American public's attention to the hundreds of thousands of united Americans against the U.S.-led war on Iraq, then the up-coming June 2 FCC vote to relax regulations on U.S. media ownership is IT -- and the time to act is NOW.

Listen up.

My American friends, first things first: go and read Paul Krugman's bang on Op Ed in yesterday's NY Times.

Krugman correctly warns that this Monday's proposal by Republican Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, son of Sec. of State Colin Powell, and the chief architect of the plan to overhaul and relax the regulations on media ownership is not only a dangerous proposal, but it also leaves open the potential for the U.S. government's ability to reward media companies that do what it wants.

Krugman writes:

The plan's defects aside -- it will further reduce the diversity of news available to most people -- what struck me was the horse-trading involved. One media group wrote to Mr. Powell, dropping its opposition to part of his plan "in return for favorable commission action" on another matter. That was indiscreet, but you'd have to be very naïve not to imagine that there are a lot of implicit quid pro quos out there.

And the implicit trading surely extends to news content.. Imagine a TV news executive considering whether to run a major story that might damage the Bush administration -- say, a follow-up on Senator Bob Graham's charge that a Congressional report on Sept. 11 has been kept classified because it would raise embarrassing questions about the administration's performance. Surely it would occur to that executive that the administration could punish any network running that story.[Emphasis Added]

Meanwhile, both the formal rules and the codes of ethics that formerly prevented blatant partisanship are gone or ignored. Neil Cavuto of Fox News is an anchor, not a commentator. Yet after Baghdad's fall he told "those who opposed the liberation of Iraq" -- a large minority -- that "you were sickening then; you are sickening now." Fair and balanced.

And this article at Tom Paine explains into whose hands media concentration and control will fall, and which political party (take a guess) stands to gain:

The Bush administration will soon hand the nation's biggest media conglomerates a new give-away that will concentrate media ownership in fewer hands. On June 2, the Federal Communications Commission, run by Michael Powell (son of Colin), plans to end long-standing federal checks and balances on corporate media power.

Companies behind the measure include the powerhouses of corporate media power: Rupert Murdoch's News Corp/Fox, General Electric/NBC, Viacom/CBS, Disney/ABC, Tribune Corp and Clear Channel. Once the rules are swept away, expect to see more mergers and buy-outs of radio and TV stations, major papers and even TV networks. It will then soon be possible for a single conglomerate to control most of a community's major media outlets, including cable systems and broadband Internet service providers. [Emphasis Added]. There will be fewer owners nationally of all major media outlets of communications.

Right-wing powerhouses are also likely to grow more powerful soon, unless opposed. Rupert Murdoch's Fox is planning to take over the country's most power satellite service, Direct TV.

He will be able to not only control access to millions of households, he will use it as a "Death Star" to further expand his broadcast and cable TV empires. Meanwhile, liberals -- let alone progressives -- have no ownership influence over any major media outlet.
[Emphasis Added]

The FCC is about to decide the fate of all its existing media ownership regulations in your country.

If you think it's bad now, just wait and see what the de-regulation loving, power-mongering bullshitting bullies a.k.a. the CheneyRovebushGovernment has in store for you by June 2, courtesy of Michael K. Powell, as he helps deliver for the Bush Administration and The Republican Pretty Hate Machine one of the most sweeping regulatory actions in FCC history; an action that has the potential to radically reshape your nation's media landscape, with likely adverse consequences in media markets both big and small throughout the country.

My dear American neighbours to the south, organize a rally; or two, or twenty.
Do something. Now.
Go here.
I mean it.

**ALSO: The very least you can do is to email the MoveOn.org folks and urge them to consider organizing protest rallies immediately -- i just did.

And forward this post to all your friends or link to me while you're at it.

posted by voxpopgirl | 5/14/2003