Big Media’s monopolistic cravings lead to more corruption at the FCC

September 19, 2006 | By | 1 Reply More

If this Common Dreams report on FCC corruption doesn’t make you angry, no media issue will:

Last week, Sen. Barbara Boxer rocked the re-confirmation hearings for Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin when she released a suppressed FCC study from 2004 – leaked to her by an FCC whistleblower – that indicated locally owned television stations did far more local news programming than TV stations owned by big conglomerates. A former FCC lawyer acknowledged that agency officials ordered the report and all supporting material be destroyed.

Martin, who was on the FCC in 2004 but not yet its Chairman, said he had no idea the report had been done in the first place and knew nothing about its disappearance. Then-FCC Chairman Michael Powell also claims he knew nothing about it, and, in classic Bush-era fashion, he took no responsibility for what transpired under his command.

In their minds, this was some sort of clerical error — and the sooner everyone forgot about it, the better. The FCC could go back to its time-honored job of doling out tens of billions of dollars in monopoly privileges to massive media and communication firms in relative anonymity.

That PR approach collapsed this week on Monday, Sept. 18, when another repressed FCC study was leaked to Senator Boxer by an FCC whistleblower. This study demonstrated that independent radio ownership plummeted after the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, even though the number of commercial radio stations actually increased. As with the first study, by all accounts it was grade-A empirical research of the highest quality. Apparently that was the problem.

As Common Dreams reports, the FCC is currently busy “reviewing its local media ownership rules and is prepared to vote on relaxing or eliminating them as soon as the end of the year.”

To put this in perspective, FIVE corporations now control most of the U.S. media (this includes all newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, music, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies).  In the view of the Bush-controlled FCC, that is not enough concentration of power.  According to the Bush-controlled FCC, big corporations should be able to increase their media holdings in order to further monopolize the media of entire cities.  Maybe we won’t be well-informed, but at least the big media corporations will make lots of money peddling their tripe.  This should be front page news, right?  It won’t happen, though.  Not when big media already has far too much control over the information that reaches us.

Remember when people used to joke about Pravda, the official newspaper of the Soviet Union in its heyday? That is certainly the direction in which we are heading here in the U.S.A.  Monopolistic media, where political dissent is simply in bad taste these days.  If you don’t believe this, ask yourself why this issue of FCC corruption is not being covered by mainstream media outlets.  Aren’t Americans entitled to know that the FCC is seeking to allow big media corporations to increase their power when those running the FCC are hiding and destroying well-documented reports concluding that this would be a horrible idea? 

A coalition of 40 consumer, labor, civil rights and public interest groups have formed a coalition, http://www.stopbigmedia.com/, to rally opposition to the corrupt FCC procedures on media ownership. If you’d like to weigh in on this critical issue, click here.

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Category: Communication, Corruption, Media, Politics

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. hogiemo says:

    Gee, the Bushies hide the truth to serve the coporate desparadoes. I am shocked! Surprised! Dismayed!

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