Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

Rochester Turning finds this disturbing nugget on the 2008 Presidential race:Clearchannel just recently went up for auction. Mitt Romney's Bain Capital bought it along with Thomas H Lee Partners, but I'm not sure who owns them. The rumor on the Street was that there might be regulatory problems because the firms own positions in other media companies, but I'm not sure which ones. Article is here and Wikipedia for Bain Capital is here. To prepare for their 2008 runs, most potential candidates stock up on staff, a Leadership PAC, and support from party leaders, advocacy organizations, and grassroots groups. Mitt Romney buys a media empire. I can't argue with what will probably be an effective strategy, but I can fear for American Democracy. Maybe Romney did this in order to match Giuliani's defacto news organization, Bloomberg. Maybe he did it to try and counter Rupert Murdoch's hold over the Bush administration via Tony Snow.

For a long time, many progressives have dismissed much established media as corporate and pro-right wing. However, with the difference between rulers of vast media empires and Republican Presidential candidates quickly disappearing, hopefully that will be a problem that the entire country will start to notice as well. While it may not be possible with Bush in the White House, we have to end media consolidtion and reinstate the fairness doctrine ASAP. Rochester Turning describes just how bad the situation is in the Flower City (that's Rochester, for you non-Upstaters):One of the most distressing political topics of the day is the state of our media. Did you know that of the four major television channels here, one is owned by Sinclair (FOX 31 WUHF, which comes in as Channel 7 on cable) and another (ABC 13 WHAM) is owned by Clear Channel? Sinclair, you may recall, was set to run an anti-John Kerry documentary a few days before the 2004 election until a sponsor boycott forced them to do otherwise, while Clear Channel reportedly led campaigns against the Dixie Chicks following their comments about George Bush a few years ago. Clear Channel also owns seven local radio stations I am sure that cities around the country are facing similar problems--posibly even worse. News Corps, Sinclair, Clear Channel, Bloomberg--tough times ahead for the So Called Liberal Media.

Tags: Media, Mitt Romney, President 2008 (all tags)

Comments

25 Comments

Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

Actually here in Des Moines MediaCom was running a PSA that said that since Sinclair wants more money or something for the local Fox station that they might lose it at the end of the month.

So I called them and basically said not to give in to those bastards at Sinclair.

Then they ran a PSA about who Net Neutrality was bad for the consumer.

So I called them right back and basically said to stop being lying bastards about Net Neutrality.

So I'm sending mixed messages I guess.

by MNPundit 2006-11-16 08:52AM | 0 recs
Mediacom sucks

Yeah their anti-net-neutrality ads are terrible, in every sense of the word.

by delmoi 2006-11-16 05:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

I can understand the ending of media consolidation, but the fairness doctrine is bad legislation and by definition puts government above freedom of speech.

by Classical Liberal 2006-11-16 08:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

That sounds like Publican Talking Points. Elaborate please?

by lightyearsfromhome 2006-11-16 09:17AM | 0 recs
The Fairness Doctrine supports

...the "marketplace of ideas" referred to in Supreme Court decisions for freedom of speech.

by Eric Jaffa 2006-11-16 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

I am not scared one bit about Mitt Romney. He is trying to run hard right after governing the state of Massachusetts. No matter how hard he tries, I don't think the Republican primary voters can stomach that. Plus, his religion may be a hinderance especially for the Christian Conservatives. He didn't do a good job as head of the Republican Governors Association having poured a lot of money into the Iowa race and ignoring many others. His real name is Willard  Mitt Romney ... will people actually vote for a "Willard?"

by gomer 2006-11-16 08:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

With a name like "Willard", I definitely smell a rat.

by Ranger31 2006-11-16 09:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

We voted for a Millard (Fillmore)...

Near enough...

by Screwy Hoolie 2006-11-16 12:59PM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

Why don't our wealthy liberal business people support the liberal media like Air America Radio or another potential liberal media entity?  This would certainly be a wonderful project for George Soros and would help us build our much needed liberal message machine. We keep complaining about the right wing echo machine.  Let's get one ourselves and add it to the bloggosphere that helped us so much in this election. Imagine what we could have done and what we could do in the future if our message were articulated on the airwaves.

by eddiesrose 2006-11-16 09:11AM | 0 recs
I don't know why the rich aren't...

...giving more help to "Air America Radio."

Ordinary people can help AAR by signing up with Air America Premium:
http://www.airamerica.com/premium/

by Eric Jaffa 2006-11-16 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

Mitt The Shit, as I have been saying (I'm a Massachuttsan) is simply Bush Jr., but with more smarts (no surprise, huh?). He is ultra-slick. And seriously knows how to stick a knife in the back.

Now that he is the don of one of the biggest imperial media families, we are more deeply screwed than ever. Time to pull out all the big guns for NET NEUTRALITY!

by blues 2006-11-16 09:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

First of all, Mitt Romney no longer has any interest in Bain Capital. Romney gave up his 100% interest in the firm several years ago. He couldn't possibly have run for Gov. of MA if he had retained his interest unless he wanted serious questions raised about his integrity. Secondly, Thomas H. Lee, the founding partner of Thomas H. Lee LLC is a major donor to Democrats, for what it's worth. Finally, the May brothers, who have been running Clear Channel, and are big contributors to the Republican party, are also part of the buyout consortium. Bottom line: there is no story here.

by grayslady 2006-11-16 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

How could there be a story? Osama owns the holding company anyway.

by blues 2006-11-16 09:47AM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

wait, did he divest his share of Bain capital, or did he place his investment holdings in a "blind" trust?  We all know just how blind those are (Senator Frist).

Also, just because a bigwig donates a lot of money to Democrats doesn't mean he's an ally.  The Corporatist DLC proves that.  He may be want to use clear channel to push Hillary v Romney, and win no matter what.

by JJCPA 2006-11-16 09:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

Romney fully divested himself of his shares. I'm not suggesting that Lee will try to influence the broadcasting, especially since the venture capital companies, Lee and Bain, will not be putting in their own management team, as they often do in a buyout. Since the Mays are part of the purchase group I anticipate no change in Clear Channel's policies.

by grayslady 2006-11-16 10:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

The Thomas H Lee Company is very, very blue. They are the partners in this, along with Texas Pacific Group, which has a lot of blue contributors. (As does Bain. They have been operating out of Boston, MA and have been about 60-40 Repub to Dem contributions.)

Look at some of Thomas H Lee's contributions. (Via www.fec.gov )

LEE, THOMAS H
BOSTON, MA 02109
THOMAS H LEE COMPANY

DSCC/NON-FED UNINCORP ASSOC
10/02/2002 10000.00 22020813535
10/09/2002 10000.00 22020813551
10/31/2002 25000.00 22020892355

DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE
12/31/2003 25000.00 24020023546

DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE
07/13/2005 26700.00 25020350959

DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE
06/20/2006 4700.00 26020541033

DEMOCRATIC SENATORIAL CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE
06/20/2001 8333.00 21020090265

by TayTay 2006-11-16 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

So you're saying that Clear Channel won't be doing any news stories about the Big Dig and tunnels collapsing on motorists?

by BriVT 2006-11-16 10:10AM | 0 recs
Concert Venues

What he also just bought was entry into a shit load of concert venues and the muscle to influence musicians.  If you don't think that's serious, go read Alex's post mortem of Philly GOTV.

by Mike Connery 2006-11-16 10:12AM | 0 recs
Mitt just a threat of the possible

Whether Mitt is really involved or not, this episode is another reminder of why media consolidation is bad for the majority in the country. If Mitt was behind buying Clear Channel, we'd at least know to suspect what he would do with it. Since he's probably not, we have to guess about the intentions of whoever is actually buying it. Either way, the problem is the size of this media enterprise, the death of local media caused by media consolidation, and the unfair advantage anyone who owns big media has to influence public discourse.

The threat and the problem we face is the same whether it is Mitt or someone else.

by thief 2006-11-16 10:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

Worked for Silvio Berlusconi.

Makes sense, though - not every GOPer can count on Fox supporting them in the primary. So, get a media company bought for ya. Free speech, if you can afford it.

by jkdism 2006-11-16 11:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel
Illuminati media one and all.
Population 300 million US
6 Billion world.
Guess who "wins".
by Lasthorseman 2006-11-16 12:44PM | 0 recs
Liberal news network

As many liberal billionaires as there I wish someone would start a liberal cable news network. With hundreds of cable networks that appeal to obscure interests you would think there would be a large potential for a liberal or at least moderate network.

by robliberal 2006-11-16 01:47PM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

"we have to end media consolidtion and reinstate the fairness doctrine ASAP."

Yep.  

by markg8 2006-11-16 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

And that's on top of the other news today, about Clear Channel killing their progressive station (which carries Air America) in favor of an all-sports station.

They know progressive radio is hurting them and are doing what they can to kill them.  And liberals with money, as far as I can tell, are doing precious little to support AAR, which is a terrible, terrible mistake.

We should be buying radio stations instead of just sitting on the sidelines and watching them suck up all our air.

by Avedon 2006-11-16 03:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Mitt Romney Buys Clear Channel

I am definitely NOT into Ron Paul as a presidential candidate or Lew Rockwell, whoever/whatever that is, but it's worth noting, as far as the prospect of solidarity among citizens subjected to an artificially dichotomized political system goes, that the Lew Rockwell folks caught this too:

"it takes a special breed to use investors' money to buy entire networks that can operate as passive wings of a presidential campaign."
http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/ar chives/017694.html

by crowings 2007-12-14 01:44PM | 0 recs

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