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Thursday, June 24

Repeal Media Rules

Remember when news really was fair and balanced? Remember when there really were journalists who asked tough questions? Remember a time when we didn't have to rely on reading a whole book or waiting until a documentary came out to find out what was really going on. Luckily we have the internet now. (But seriously, for you young whipper-snappers, there were journalists who were really committed to disseminating the truth! And they did it on national TV, on the evening news and in mainstream newspapers too.)

The reason everything is so screwed up now is because of corporatism and deregulation. There used to be regulations that wouldn't allow one company to own both a newspaper and a tv station or radio station in the same market. This was a good thing. In order for a Democracy to survive, we need to regulate certain industries so that one company doesn't take over a whole market. Without regulation, then the big guys come in and put the little guys right out of business and fascism seeps right in. Less regulation means regular people don't stand a chance. In 1985 there were 50 companies that owned media outlets. Now there are 6. With further deregulation that number could sink further. These are big conglomerates that have allegiance to stockholders not you.

That's why the news sucks so much. That's why most of America was led to believe that the war in Iraq was just. That's why most of America believed that Saddam had something to do with 9/11. Right now the media is just interested in serving the interests of those who will benefit them financially or politically.

Check out the Big Media Ownership Chart at Media Channel. It's a big chart. If you have a dial up modem, it may take a while to load. This one is smaller: Who Controls the Media Chart but it leaves out the newest one, Vivendi-Universal. This is a good website for more information about what happened to the media since the Reagan years: Take Back The Media

The FCC has rules that make it really easy for large media conglomerates to expand. The New York Times says the President and speaker of the house naturally want to preserve these rules and that is probably because these corporations are donors to their campaigns. These corporations also report whatever the White House tells them to report.

Well here is the sort of good news from the Times article. It seems that the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia is blocking those bad rules adopted by the FCC. "By a voice vote, the Senate approved a provision to repeal the rules and restore tougher restrictions. Supporters of the effort said that the Senate's decision provided them with a backstop in case the appeals court did not rule in their favor. But the legislation still faces formidable political obstacles ..."

Senator Byron Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota and Senator Olympia J. Snowe, Republican of Maine are co-sponsors of a bill to roll back the rules. This is something we should all be following in the news (if it gets covered). We should contact our Senators and urge them to ROLL BACK THE FCC RULES. Fascist governments have media like ours.

"Last June, the F.C.C. performed one of the most complete cave-ins to corporate interests against the public interest in the history of the country. When the number of people and corporations who control what 293 million Americans see and hear in the media shrinks to just a relative handful, democracy suffers,'' said Senator Dorgan.

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