Friday, October 19, 2007

All Together Now

The FCC is considering a plan to end a decades-old ban on local media monopolies.

The head of the Federal Communications Commission has circulated an ambitious plan to relax the decades-old media ownership rules, including repealing a rule that forbids a company to own both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city.

Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the commission, wants to repeal the rule in the next two months — a plan that, if successful, would be a big victory for some executives of media conglomerates.


The deregulatory proposal is likely to put the agency once again at the center of a debate between the media companies, which view the restrictions as anachronistic, and civil rights, labor, religious and other groups that maintain the government has let media conglomerates grow too large.

This is yet another example that explodes the myth of the “liberal media.” If there was some vast left-wing conspiracy to infiltrate the minds of the people in cities all over the country, it’s highly unlikely that it would be done at the hands of executives of media conglomerates like Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, General Electric, Westinghouse, and the Walt Disney Company. These corporations are not known for their leftist leanings, and the idea that giving one company the reins over an unlimited number of media outlets is good for journalism — or even local business — is most assuredly not a liberal plot.

Large corporations pay lip service to what they consider “small town” values and priorities. It’s no mistake that Wal-Mart now bills itself as “your neighborhood Wal-Mart” — as long as your neighborhood is a sprawling industrial park of big-box stores, fast-food joints, and parking lots the size of Rhode Island. This is all bullshit and they know it; they’re out to make a profit and don’t really care about “your neighborhood.” The same goes for the media mentality; they don’t care about the local content as much as they care about getting the commercials out to as wide an audience as possible, and consolidating the newspapers, radio, TV and whatever else they come up with is just one more way of doing that. And they also know that traditionally it’s been the Republicans who have supported the conglomerate mentality, often at the detriment of the independent media outlets.

Ironically, the GOP bills itself as the champions of small business and says it’s protecting the “little guy” from the evils of big government…all the while selling out to the big corporations.

At any rate, if you’d like to contact the FCC and let them know your thoughts on this plan to grant media monopolies, drop them a note.

(H/T to Melissa and BlondeSense.)