Action: One Week to Stop Big Media
by Populista, Tue Dec 11, 2007 at 12:13:29 PM EST
The FCC wants to give Big Media a big handout on December 18 -- but we can stop them. There is only about one year left of the Bush Administration and they are rushing to give big rewards to there giant corporate friends. One of those big corporate friends is Big Media. And Kevin Martin, the chair of the FCC that deals with media policy wants to give another hugely unpopular giveaway to Big Media. Thankfully the democracy fighters at Free Press have assembled a massive coalition that is fighting back. It's called Stop Big Media and they've been doing great work. And now that there is only a week left until the ruling I decided to write a action diary because this is one of the most important issues out there for progressives and all who believe in fairness.
So what is Bush crony Kevin Martin and his Republican parisan buddies on the FCC trying to do?
The current FCC Chairman, Kevin Martin, wants to change the rules to let Big Media get even bigger.
On June 21, 2006, Martin issued a draft proposal -- called a Further Notice of Proposed Rule Making, or FNPRM -- that kick-started Big Media's latest effort to weaken the rules protecting local voices, vibrant competition and diverse viewpoints.
In November 2007, Martin proposed lifting the longstanding ban on "newspaper-broadcast cross ownership," which prevents companies from owning a television or radio station and the major daily newspaper in the same area.
Martin claims that eliminating the cross-ownership ban -- a vital safeguard that has protected media diversity, competition and localism for more than 30 years -- is meant to ensure the viability of American newspapers. But the proposed rules are nothing more than a massive giveaway to Big Media.
Martin is doing the same old Republican game, pretending it isn't what it is. But here are 10 facts that Martin doesn't want you to know.
FACT #1: Martin's `modest' proposal is corporate welfare for Big Media. Martin's plan would unleash a buying spree in the top 20 markets, making it easier for companies like Belo, News Corp. and Tribune Co. to push out independent, local owners.
FACT #2: Loopholes open the door to cross-ownership in any market. Under Martin's loose standards, cross-ownership waivers could be approved in hundreds of smaller cities and towns.
FACT #3: Loopholes allow newspapers to own TV stations of any size. The same technicalities could permit top-rated stations in any market to combine with major newspapers.
FACT #4: FCC history shows weak standards won't protect the public. The current rules forbid cross-ownership, but the FCC hasn't denied any temporary waiver request in years.
FACT #5: Cross-ownership doesn't create more local news. The latest studies -- using the FCC's own data -- show that markets with cross-ownership produce less total local news, as one dominant company crowds out the competition.
FACT #6: Cross-ownership won't solve newspapers' financial woes. Claims that the newspaper industry is about to "wither and die" are greatly exaggerated, and no evidence shows that cross-ownership would make things better.
FACT # 7: The Internet is an opportunity, not a death sentence. Mergers and consolidation are not the answer to the financial problems of the traditional media.
FACT #8: Martin's plan would harm minority media owners. Nearly half of the nation's minority-owned TV stations are lower-rated outlets in the top 20 markets, making them a target for Big Media takeovers.
FACT # 9: A broken and corrupt process creates bad policies. The FCC's lack of transparency, flawed research and secret timetable have tossed aside basic fairness and accountability in the rush to change media ownership rules.
FACT # 10: The public doesn't want more media consolidation. Martin's actions ignore the millions of Americans -- and 99 percent of the comments in the FCC docket -- who oppose letting a few media giants swallow up more local media.
For more details on each fact, check out the full document here.
Big isn't always bad. But 6 multinational corporations own 90 percent of our media already. That's why everyone hates the media, that's why newspaper circulation is dropping, why ratings are dropping. Not because the giants corporations don't own enough already but because they do and that lets them give away with the crap they call "news". You probably get the picture by now, if you want to learn more check out StopBigMedia.com. Once you're done you should be mad as hell. So take action! Here's how we can help out.
Tell Congress to Stop Big Media:
Senators Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Trent Lott (R-Miss.) have introduced groundbreaking bipartisan legislation that would hold the FCC accountable and put the people ahead of Big Media. The Media Ownership Act of 2007. This legislation will ensure that the Federal Communications Commission addresses the dismal state of female and minority ownership before changing any rules to unleash more media concentration.
I know it's hard to support something that Trent Lott introduced but try to forget about that. He'll be gone soon anyways. StopBigMedia has set up a easy page to help you speak out now. So go there are write you're senators. Take action!
Tell the FCC to Stop Big Media:
They have also set up a page that makes it easy to file your comments with the FCC. You can use the text provided or write your own comments about how greater media consolidation will affect your community. Take action!
They have made a great and innovative program were you can add you're photo to a wall of other people standing against Big Media. It has over 2,000 photos already and it was only launched a few days ago. So add you're photo. Take action!
The most important part is making sure you're voice is amplified so spread this to you're friends. Not just you're political friends. Spread this to everyone. Take action!
Now do all that and I have something fun after you've done that.
You taken action yet?
Good. Now the fun part. Play Whack-A-Murdoch! My best score is 460. What's yours?
Big Media helped us get into Iraq. Big Media moves the political discussion to the right. Big Media directly works against the progressive movement and people-powered politics. We can't let them get more power. To elect a people-powered progressive president and change this country we need to change the system. That means election reform, public financing, lobbying reform and much more. But one of the most important ways we can change the system is media reform. I don't think we'll ever truely have another progressive era unless we have real, smart independent media. With Big Media I don't see it happening. Companies that own Big Media like GE also have holdings in energy, so why would they let there media holdings expose the corruption and damage the energy industry is doing? They have defense contracts so why would they give a voice to someone who wants to end the military-industrial complex? Why would they want to let netroots canidates have a voice when people-powered media and politics threatens there pathetic existence? I could go on and on but I think you get it by now. Big Media could get bigger and that is the last thing we should want.