Watching the young, bespectacled Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin testify to a Senate committee yesterday was like watching an educational video on the art of brazen intellectual dishonesty. As Martin sat there with a straight face arguing on behalf of greater media consolidation he exposed himself to be nothing more than a tool of Big Media.
As with everything else we've come to expect from the Bush administration, Martin's "argument" is pure Orwell: We must allow giant media corporations to gobble up local radio stations and newspapers, which diminishes localism in news and entertainment content, in order to promote localism in news and entertainment content.
Chairman Martin and the two other Republican corporate puppets on the commission want to destroy localism in order to save it.
Martin knows that there is so much money at stake that he is making his own future quite fat and prosperous by stubbornly taking this stand against the public interest. If Martin succeeds in ramming through this ill-conceived change in media ownership rules over the objection of just about every other thinking homo sapien on the planet he's sure to have a lucrative sinecure set up for him as a million dollar a year "vice president" of any number of media corporations that stand to benefit.
When the FCC was set up in the 1930s it was thought to be a given that the commission was to promote the public interest and welfare above the corporate interest. As with everything else from this administration, the FCC has it ass backwards.
The Democratic Party's agenda will be smothered in the cradle without meaningful reform targeting the concentration of the corporate media. The Democrats, along with forward-thinking Republicans, must stop Martin and the FCC from pursuing the course of accelerating the obscene consolidation of media corporations that has gone on unabated for thirty years.
Backed by Big Media bucks, Chairman Martin thinks he's Chairman Mao. He should be run out of town on a rail!
And now, even with Bush's approval ratings in the gutter and Republican rule largely discredited, the FCC under Martin, along with his gang of free market ideologues, want to make our currently horrific media environment even worse by allowing more corporate consolidation.
The citizens of this nation, along with the Congress, have had enough of media consolidation. Largely due to the heroic efforts of media activists the American people understand that Clear Channel has already destroyed radio, and they can see the folly in allowing the Australian Rupert Murdoch, a modern day Joseph Goebbels, add The Wall Street Journal to his Fox News empire.
Everyone knows that there is no "public interest" in media consolidation and that Martin and the Republicans on the FCC want to force this damaging public policy down our throats because it will serve the bottom-line profit margin and right-wing propaganda goals of Big Media.
After we stop Martin from his Long March to December 18th when he hopes to pass the new de-regulation regimen, we can focus on taking the next step toward saving democratic discourse in this country.
There are at least five steps that might begin the process of breaking up the corporate media's doctrinal system to allow for some greatly needed breathing space for our public square:
1). Enforce anti-trust laws to break up the media oligopolies;
2). Greatly expand the public broadcasting system, (especially news);
3). Publicly finance all political campaigns;
4). Implement a total ban on all political commercials on television;
5). Restore the FCC's fairness doctrine on the public airwaves.