Here we go; more centralization, consolidation, and corruption as America barrels its way toward serfdom. The best part of this saga is that Obama was one of the most vocal Senators against such rule changes when George W. Bush was in office, but not a peep from him now. Bernie Sanders (Vermont Senator) and Michael Copps (FCC commissioner from 2001 to 2011) wrote an excellent Op Ed in Politico. Here are excerpts:
A cornerstone of American democracy is a free and open press providing diverse viewpoints. As Thomas Jefferson said in 1823, “The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted to be freely expressed.” In America today, however, a trend toward corporate media consolidation is drowning diverse opinions and eliminating local control. In 1983, 90 percent of the American media was owned by 50 companies. Today, 90 percent is controlled by just six corporations: General Electric, News Corp., Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS.
The Federal Communications Commission may be on the verge of making a bad situation worse. It is considering a rule change that would clear the way for even more media consolidation. All Americans should be deeply concerned.
The failed 2007 bid to change the rules came after a similar 2003 effort to weaken the limits on cross-ownership that prevented a handful of media conglomerates from completely dominating ownership of the news outlets in our communities. Those proposals met with 3 million public comments, 99 percent of which opposed the FCC’s proposal.
Now the FCC is at it again. The commission’s latest proposal would allow more media consolidation by eliminating a ban on cross-ownership in the top 20 media markets. The FCC changes would allow one corporation to own a major newspaper, two television stations and up to eight radio stations, and to provide Internet service all in one market. That would mean fewer voices, less local control and more corporate media consolidation.
The FCC in 2007, under then-Chairman Kevin Martin, held numerous public hearings outside Washington to solicit public input on its proposal. These hearings were well-attended by the public and the FCC commissioners. In contrast, the current FCC has held not one public hearing on ownership outside Washington.
See how they operate. When there is public debate, the people will often make their voices heard. So what do they do now? Just avoid public debate entirely. This is similar to the bait and switch tactic that just occurred with the 2013 NDAA, which I covered yesterday in my post The Section Preventing Indefinite Detention of Americans without Trial Removed from Final NDAA Bill.
Full Politico article here.