The United States needs an independent print, (newspaper,) media. One that does not rely on a big corporate infrastructure to determine what content should or should not be carried.
This is not about who selects, produces, and owns entertainment content shown on ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS, but rather the unwillingness of these GIGANTIC media companies to provide America with more news and documentary programs that just might have exposed those who led us into the horrid wars we are in, and are trying to encourage another one with Iran, and who have surreptitiously violated our constitution.
Congress should not allow these guys to own newspapers in the markets that they serve with television content. Those fabulous Republican FCC Commissioners will do their best to give the "really big bad guys" whatever they want.
The Washington Posts coverage of the Watergate disaster would have been stopped if pressure was brought to bear by the administration on one of today's "mega-media" conglomerates. Who among us thinks that today's administration would not punish a broadcast network for reporting bad things about the war, or "minor" constitutional violations?
And now a personal story about the "very the powerful" pushing the less powerful around.
It was well over thirty years ago that I rejoined Screen Gems following the FCC decision to strip the broadcast networks of their distribution business. I was with CBS Enterprises, the company that sold rights to broadcast in syndication the programs that CBS owned, as well as the content produced and owned by CBS News.
Having been inculcated in the FCC rule concerning what the broadcast networks could do in Canada, I was having discussions with the Columbia Pictures lawyers in Washington in order to get the CBS Network to stop doing what they were doing in Canada that violated the rules. Our lawyers agreed to anonymously and informally discuss the CBS transgressions with the CBS Washington attorneys. I thought that by doing this surreptitiously, the people at CBS would not trace the complaint back to me.
I realize now, but was too unconscious at the time to understand that "my fingerprints" were all over the issue.
It took less then a week for my boss to receive a phone call from a very senior CBS executive telling him "keep Horowitz away from what we are doing in Canada." My boss, knowing that CBS was only one of three of our customers who ordered content from us, threatened to have me killed if I ever again messed with one of his customers, even if they were violating the FCC rules or "ANYTHING!"
That brings me to my point, something that mostly takes me a long time to get around to.
America needs as much independent Radio and Television ownership as it possibly can have, and certainly not less then it already has.
More ownership diversity means more opinions, and you can come closer to the truth when information comes from as many sources as possible. Wanting the public not to know what is true appears to be "the mantra" of all governments.
The real bad guys know that if they were able to limit the sources of news and opinion that they could do whatever they wanted to do.
Domestic wiretapping in our country was revealed, not by ABC, CBS, NBC, or Fox, but rather The New York Times.
Suppose GE owned the Times, do you think that it would have been easy for them to release the story" Perhaps you do, but I don't.
The more INDEPENDENT opinions we have, the closer we can get to the truth. The argument continues to be made that we have enough sources and diversity of information already, and after all we do have the internet. PLEASE DO NOT BUY INTO THIS!
If CBS. NBC, Fox and ABC would report tonight on their network news that "the sky is falling," 20 odd million American homes would hear it at the same time.
The Bush administration has arranged to have the media in our country the way they want it to be. If they arrange to have the major newspapers in our country controlled by the same people who own and control the broadcast media, it will not be a good thing for our country.
As Nixon and his people could not control the Washington Post during Watergate, and the New York Times could report on so many things that the Bush administration wants to keep secret, that would continue to be a good thing for America,
I have looked upon the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the "spectrum" equivalent of the Antitrust Division of the Justice Department. They should enhance or strengthen the notion of competition, diversity, and localism and not do as they have done in the past, which has been to act on behalf of the major media companies. The FCC has, in my experience, invariably follows a politically motivated agenda in their rulings.
How sad for our country.
Where is Chicken Little when we need him?