FCC

Net Neutrality Is At Risk. Sign the Petition (4/24/2014)

How the FCC Destroyed Journalism (CJR 3/2014)

By consolidation of all forms of media, sanctioning powerful oligarchs, the FCC has been complicit in creating a media that is an untrustworthy propaganda tool for officialdom. It has assured that right wing criminals like Cheney and other Bush Jr felons are allowed to spout their war mongering messages that drown out everyone else. So we have a de-facto ministry of truth that is about to deliver the internet to the corporate fascists and complete our transition to the surveillance state.
Given that the FCC is an industry captive, there is not much we can do about it.

The FCC ... had fallen as madly in love with industry consolidation, as had the swashbuckling captains of big media. The agency seldom met an industry transaction it didn’t approve. The Commission’s blessing not only conferred legitimacy on a particular transaction; it encouraged the next deal, and the hundreds after that. So Clear Channel grew from a 1970s startup to a 1,200-station behemoth. Sinclair, Tribune, and News Corp. went on buying sprees, too, and the major networks extended their influence by buying some stations and affiliating with others. Gone are hundreds of once-independent broadcast outlets. In their stead is a truncated list of nationwide, homogenized, and de-journalized empires that respond more to quarterly reports than to the information needs of citizens. - Michael J. Copps.

Michael Powell, Colin's son, early on as Chairman of the FCC (strongly endorsed by John McCain) explained to a legal forum that "the night after I was sworn in, I waited for a visit from the angel of the public interest. I waited all night, but she did not come. And, in fact, five months into this job, I still have had no divine awakening and no one has issued me my public-interest crystal ball." True to his word, the FCC does the will of the industry it is supposed to regulate, and nothing for the public. " .

When Michael Powell  was replaced as Chairman of the FCC by Kevin Martin, the Bush administration plotted to further concentrate media;. In return, the media lost interest in the Iraq War.   Kevin Martin, ignored the public and Congressional outcry and decided to loosen media ownership rules anyway. Bush threatened to veto any Congressional action to roll it back. Bear in mind that the first thing to be taken over in any coup is media. On April 25, 2011, Michael began as President & CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).

Merchants of Trivia

Orwell Rolls in His Grave (excellent 105 Minute video documentary. You can view it on-line.)

FCC levies "NYPD" indecency fine (1/27/08)

FCC coverup


John McCain as Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee controlled the FCC's budget.  In a scandal, not much recognized by the press, McCain intervened for Paxon to buy a PBS station in Pittsburgh. (Note 1) The very same Pax (now ION) owns our local, New London, Ct. TV station, which has virtually no community presence.

McCain strongly endorsed Michael Powell, Colin's son, for Chairman of the FCC. Powell explained, shortly after he took office, to a legal forum that "the night after I was sworn in, I waited for a visit from the angel of the public interest. I waited all night, but she did not come. And, in fact, five months into this job, I still have had no divine awakening and no one has issued me my public-interest crystal ball." True to his word, the FCC does the will of the industry it is supposed to regulate, and nothing for the public. (Most all Bush agencies operate like that.)

What you will not hear from broadcasters is this: Republicans have been leaders in the rush to further concentrate media by allowing all media in a given market including newspapers, cable companies, and TV stations to combine. The result of this is untrustworthy news, loss of program diversity, absence of local accountability, loss of jobs, and a right-wing bias. The Republicans on the FCC attempted to hide a study that details the damage, but somehow it leaked to the Senate. Over the strong objections of practically everyone except the broadcasters, Powell and his successor Kevin Martin pushed for further media consolidation. You have to wonder if this is a right wing coup rather like the one that brought Hitler to power.

About six corporations control everything you see on the news, and they have an agenda. In fact, it is the Republican corporate agenda (no environmental protection, minimum consumer protection, perpetual war, media concentration, union busting, cheap labor, dumped pensions, lax workplace safety standards, status quo healthcare, vanishing entitlements, privatization of Social Security, depoliticization of the public and more (at http://www.seconnecticut.com/explanation.htm.)

It is not surprising that McCain gets a free ride from media (See the book: 'Free Ride' by David Brock and Paul Waldman) Congress often does the wrong thing because it is money driven, and McCain has been a leader in the fight to give broadcasters what they want: (Your eyeballs, your money, every detail of what you watch, no privacy protections, control of the internet, the right to send unlimited advertising spam, and political leverage.) See Jeff Chester's book, Digital Destiny. Main stream media does not serve journalistic standards, consumer protection, academic, cultural, entertainment, or much of any public service and that's just the way the industry likes it. Given McCain's strong support of Michael Powell, or Phil Gramm, you should have a good idea how his Presidency will go.

Note 1: The Other side of the Lobbyist Scandal

 

 

* In a USA Today Op Ed in 2003 on the FCC’s media ownership proceeding, then-Chairman Powell accused opponents of “substituting personal ideology for and opinion for the facts.”  According to the Associated Press, however, when a study Powell ordered to prove deregulation did not hurt local news coverage proved the opposite, Powell ordered the study not merely suppressed, but destroyed. “It appears that it was Michael Powell, not the public, who preferred to make decisions based on ‘personal ideology,’” said Harold Feld, Senior Vice President, Media Access Project.

* MAP, Free Press, Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America letter to FCC Chairman Martin:  "We urge you to immediately seek an independent investigation, through the Office of the Inspector General, to determine the circumstances under which the public was denied access to this important, taxpayer-funded research, the parties involved and the processes that may have allowed any record of the report’s existence to be destroyed."

* Do Local Owners Deliver More Localism?

From the Benton Foundation:

LAWYER: FCC ORDERED MEDIA STUDY DESTROYED (9/15/2006)
[SOURCE: Associated Press, AUTHOR: John Dunbar]
Former FCC staffer Adam Candeub, now a law professor at Michigan State University, says
senior managers at the Federal Communications Commission ordered that "every last piece" of a draft study that suggested greater concentration of media ownership would hurt local TV news coverage be destroyed. "The whole project was just stopped, end of discussion,'' he said.
Candeub was a lawyer in the FCC's Media Bureau at the time the report was written and communicated frequently with its authors, he said. The report, written in 2004, came to light during the Senate confirmation hearing for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) received a copy of the report ''indirectly from someone within the FCC who believed the information should be made public,'' according to Boxer spokeswoman Natalie Ravitz. In a letter sent to Martin Wednesday, Boxer said she was ''dismayed that this report, which was done at taxpayer expense more than two years ago, and which concluded that localism is beneficial to the public, was shoved in a drawer.'' The report, written by two economists in the FCC's Media Bureau, analyzed a database of 4,078 individual news stories broadcast in 1998.
The broadcasts were obtained from Danilo Yanich, a professor and researcher at the University of Delaware, and were originally gathered by the Pew Foundation's Project for Excellence in Journalism. The analysis showed local ownership of television stations adds almost five and one-half minutes of total news to broadcasts and more than three minutes of ''on-location'' news. The conclusion is at odds with FCC arguments made when it voted in 2003 to increase the number of television stations a company could own in a single market. It was part of a broader decision liberalizing ownership rules. The authors of the report, Keith Brown and Peter Alexander, both declined to comment.

* Officials Ordered FCC Report Destroyed, Says Ex-Staffer

* Probe Called for in FCC's Quashing of Local News Study

* FCC Lawyer Says TV Study Was Hushed

Do Local Owners Deliver More Localism ? (pdf)

Newton Minow's Vast Wasteland Speech 


FCC Sides with Verizon & Wireless and Votes to Strip Local Communities of Control Over Cable Franchising (12/26/2006)

Anthony Riddle, of the Alliance for Community Media, joins us in the Firehouse to talk about last week's 3-2 vote. The FCC's two Democratic commissioners, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein voted against the measure.

Listen/Watch/Read


Bibliography

Abandoned in the Wasteland: Children, Television, & the First Amendment: Newton Minow

You Say You Want A Revolution: Reed Hundt 

Home Editorial News Books Blogs Links Feedback