How the FCC Destroyed Journalism (CJR 3/2014)
By consolidation of all forms of media, sanctioning powerful oligarchs,
the FCC has been complicit in creating a media that is an untrustworthy
propaganda tool for officialdom. It has assured that right wing
criminals like Cheney and other Bush Jr felons are allowed to spout
their war mongering messages that drown out everyone else. So we have a
de-facto ministry of truth that is about to deliver the internet to the
corporate fascists and complete our transition to the surveillance
The FCC ... had fallen as madly in love with industry consolidation, as had the swashbuckling captains of big media. The agency seldom met an industry transaction it didn’t approve. The Commission’s blessing not only conferred legitimacy on a particular transaction; it encouraged the next deal, and the hundreds after that. So Clear Channel grew from a 1970s startup to a 1,200-station behemoth. Sinclair, Tribune, and News Corp. went on buying sprees, too, and the major networks extended their influence by buying some stations and affiliating with others. Gone are hundreds of once-independent broadcast outlets. In their stead is a truncated list of nationwide, homogenized, and de-journalized empires that respond more to quarterly reports than to the information needs of citizens. - Michael J. Copps.
Michael Powell, Colin's son, early on as Chairman of the FCC (strongly endorsed by John McCain) explained to a legal forum that "the night after I was sworn in, I waited for a visit from the angel of the public interest. I waited all night, but she did not come. And, in fact, five months into this job, I still have had no divine awakening and no one has issued me my public-interest crystal ball." True to his word, the FCC does the will of the industry it is supposed to regulate, and nothing for the public. " .
When Michael Powell was replaced as Chairman of the
FCC by Kevin Martin, the Bush administration plotted to further
concentrate media;. In return, the media lost
interest in the Iraq
Kevin Martin, ignored the public and
Congressional outcry and decided to loosen media ownership rules
anyway. Bush threatened to veto any Congressional action to roll it
back. Bear in mind that the first thing to be taken over in any
coup is media. On April 25, 2011, Michael began as President & CEO
of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA).
Orwell Rolls in His Grave (excellent 105 Minute video documentary. You can view it on-line.)
FCC levies "NYPD" indecency fine (1/27/08)
John McCain as Chair of the Senate Commerce Committee controlled the FCC's budget. In a scandal, not much recognized by the press, McCain intervened for Paxon to buy a PBS station in Pittsburgh. (Note 1) The very same Pax (now ION) owns our local, New London, Ct. TV station, which has virtually no community presence.
McCain strongly endorsed Michael Powell, Colin's son, for Chairman of the FCC. Powell explained, shortly after he took office, to a legal forum that "the night after I was sworn in, I waited for a visit from the angel of the public interest. I waited all night, but she did not come. And, in fact, five months into this job, I still have had no divine awakening and no one has issued me my public-interest crystal ball." True to his word, the FCC does the will of the industry it is supposed to regulate, and nothing for the public. (Most all Bush agencies operate like that.)
What you will not hear from broadcasters is this: Republicans have been leaders in the rush to further concentrate media by allowing all media in a given market including newspapers, cable companies, and TV stations to combine. The result of this is untrustworthy news, loss of program diversity, absence of local accountability, loss of jobs, and a right-wing bias. The Republicans on the FCC attempted to hide a study that details the damage, but somehow it leaked to the Senate. Over the strong objections of practically everyone except the broadcasters, Powell and his successor Kevin Martin pushed for further media consolidation. You have to wonder if this is a right wing coup rather like the one that brought Hitler to power.
About six corporations control everything you see on the news, and they have an agenda. In fact, it is the Republican corporate agenda (no environmental protection, minimum consumer protection, perpetual war, media concentration, union busting, cheap labor, dumped pensions, lax workplace safety standards, status quo healthcare, vanishing entitlements, privatization of Social Security, depoliticization of the public and more (at explanation.htm.)
It is not surprising that McCain gets a free ride from media (See the book: 'Free Ride' by David Brock and Paul Waldman) Congress often does the wrong thing because it is money driven, and McCain has been a leader in the fight to give broadcasters what they want: (Your eyeballs, your money, every detail of what you watch, no privacy protections, control of the internet, the right to send unlimited advertising spam, and political leverage.) See Jeff Chester's book, Digital Destiny. Main stream media does not serve journalistic standards, consumer protection, academic, cultural, entertainment, or much of any public service and that's just the way the industry likes it. Given McCain's strong support of Michael Powell, or Phil Gramm, you should have a good idea how his Presidency will go.
* In a USA Today Op Ed in 2003 on the
FCC’s media ownership proceeding, then-Chairman Powell
accused opponents of “substituting personal ideology for and
opinion for the facts.” According to the Associated
Press, however, when a study Powell ordered to prove deregulation
did not hurt local news coverage proved the opposite, Powell
ordered the study not merely suppressed, but destroyed. “It
appears that it was Michael Powell, not the public, who preferred
to make decisions based on ‘personal ideology,’”
said Harold Feld, Senior Vice President, Media Access Project.
From the Benton Foundation:
ORDERED MEDIA STUDY
FCC Sides with Verizon & Wireless and Votes to Strip
Communities of Control Over Cable Franchising (12/26/2006)