THE BLOG
04/17/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

What's the Use of Having Power If You Don't Abuse It? #3

In my opinion, the American over the air Broadcasting Companies are in the business of making as much money for their shareholders and themselves as they possibly can.

These people should be the deliverers of news and information pertaining to what the Feds are in fact doing to our country and the world.

The Disney Company and ABC along with News Corp Fox, General Electric NBC, and Viacom CBS will seldom or ever cross the Administration or their "Regulators, the FCC."

Republicans and Democrats share the blame in that they are sadly not in the "what's good for America business," but rather in the "what's in it for me business."

It is now and it has always been thus.

This is about Robert Iger and the arrogant Walt Disney Company.

Now a definition, a comment, a question or two, as well as a story or two in no particular order:

He "speaketh" with a forked tongue. (To make false promises or to speak in a way which is not honest.)

Often people in complex situations inadvertently "speaketh" with a forked tongue because they have been told what to say. Are these people any less culpable because they did not know that they were lying?

It was over thirty years ago that I caught my then boss in a monstrous lie and I confronted him aggressively. After he meekly defended himself I realized that lying was so ingrained in his persona that he was unaware that he was doing it. In other words: "I knew that he was lying because his lips were moving."

I had a "well after the fact" occasion to read a statement that Screen Gems had made to the FCC in order to get TV station licenses for the Company. Many of our representations were just not true. I wonder how many companies that applied for licenses actually did tell the truth.

When I asked the President about it he replied that we had no choice other then to lie in order to get what we wanted.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was retained in 1985 by The Walt Disney Company to do an evaluation of its film library. The assets were indeed very valuable as well as very under exploited.

And now I will move along to the present and comment about what The Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger told Wall Street recently.

I believe that he was telling the truth when he said that his company was prepared to fight for increased fees for its broadcast and cable networks. He also said that Disney might increase its fees for ESPN.

He went on to say that "We run some of the best stations in the country ...We think it's time to recognize the value they provide to distributors and their importance to the local community and to our viewers in those communities. We believe it would be appropriate to seek cash for retransmission consent and we believe the same would be the case for our affiliates. I won't say how much or describe the discussions we are having with the distribution community, but clearly there is a trend we are observing that we fully intend to participate in."

Needless to say that his Broadcast properties "exist" because of their use of the publicly owned frequencies along with all other Broadcasters.

He went on to say "... We know the value of these stations and the importance of these stations in their local markets. We know that there are stations - in some cases our affiliates - that have been compensated for retransmission consent and we feel should be compensated as well... It clearly would not be our preference to see our signal taken down, and we will do whatever we possibly can through negotiation to avoid that, we also believe we have an obligation to derive value from great investment we've made in these programs, whether they are local in nature or national in nature. We have every intention to do just that."

And now a partial rendition of my complaint. Regulatory intent has been thwarted by the political process for more then thirty years. The really "big guys" told the Congress and the FCC and then proceeded to act in their own self interest.

Understand that what Iger spoke about was not a rearrangement of the division of money paid into the marketplace from all sources but rather Disney and others being able to put their hands indirectly into the pockets of the American consumers.

At some point Iger should be made aware of Disney's OBLIGATION in Broadcast to serve in "...the public interest, convenience, and necessity."

As you look realize that the majority of Disney's wealth and power was and is derived from the Government grant of Broadcast licenses in radio and television many years ago.

Walt Kelly and "POGO" first used the quote "We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us" in 1970. It is 40 years later and nothing much has changed.

Here is what the Walt Disney Company owns as of a year and a half ago:

Film
Walt Disney Pictures
Touchstone Pictures
Hollywood Pictures
Miramax Films
Pixar

Broadcast Television
ABC Network
Owned and Operated Television Stations
WLS - Chicago
WJRT - Flint
KFSN - Fresno
KTRK - Houston
KABC - Los Angeles
WABC - New York City
WPVI - Philadelphia
WTVD - Raleigh - Durham
KGO - San Francisco
WTVG - Toledo

Cable Television
ESPN (80%)
ESPN2 (80%)
ESPN Classic (80%)
ESPNU (80%)
ESPNEWS (80%)
ABC Family
Disney Channel
Toon Disney
SOAPnet
Lifetime Network (partial)
Lifetime Movie Network (partial)
Lifetime Real Women (partial)
A&E (partial)
A&E International (partial)
Jetix Europe (partial)
Jetix Latin America
The History Channel (partial)
Lifetime Real Women (partial)

Radio
ABC Radio
WDWD - Atlanta
WMVP - Chicago
WLS - Chicago
KESN - Dallas
KMKI - Dallas-Forth Worth
KRDY - San Antonio
WCOG - Greensboro, NC
WRDZ - Indianapolis
KABC - Los Angeles
KLOS - Los Angeles
KDIS - Los Angeles
KSPN - Los Angeles
KDIZ - Minneapolis - St. Paul
WKSH - Milwaukee, WI
WEVD - New York City
KDZR - Portland, OR
KWDZ - Salt Lake City
KIID - Sacramento
KMKY - Oakland
KQAM - Wichita
KKDZ - Seattle
WSDZ - St. Louis
WWMK - Cleveland
KMIK - Phoenix
KDDZ - Denver
WWMI - Tampa
KMIC - Houston
WMYM - Miami
WBWL - Jacksonville
WBYU - New Orleans
KDIS - Little Rock
WWJZ - Philadelphia
WWJZ - Philadelphia
WMKI - Boston
WDZK - Hartford
WDDZ - Providence
WDZY - Richmond
WGFY - Charlotte
WDYZ - Orlando
WMNE - West Palm Beach
WEAE - Pittsburgh
WDRD - Louisville
WDDY - Albany, NY
KPHN - Kansas City
WQUA - Mobile
WBML - Jacksonville
WFDF - Detroit
WFRO - Fremont, OH
WDMV - Damascus, MD
WHKT - Norfolk Radio Disney
ESPN Radio (syndicated programming)

Music
Walt Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Lyric Street Records

Publishing
Book Publishing Imprints
Hyperion
Miramax Books
ESPN Books
Theia
ABC Daytime Press
Hyperion eBooks
Hyperion East
Disney Publishing Worldwide
Cal Publishing Inc.
CrossGen
Hyperion Books for Children
Jump at the Sun
Volo
Michael di Caupa Books
Disney Global Children's Books
Disney Press
Disney Editions
Disney Libri
Global Retail
Global Continuity

Magazine
Automotive Industries
Biography (with GE and Hearst)
Discover
Disney Adventures
Disney Magazine
ECN News
ESPN Magazine (distributed by Hearst)
Family Fun
Institutional Investor
JCK
Kodin
Top Famille - French family magazine
US Weekly (50%)
Video Business
Quality
Wondertime Magazine

Parks and Resorts
Walt Disney Imagineering
Disneyland Resort
Walt Disney World Resort
Tokyo Disney Resort
Disneyland Resort Paris
Hong Kong Disneyland
Disney Vacation Club
Disney Cruise Line

Other
Disney Theatrical Productions
Disney Live Family Entertainment
Disney on Ice
The Disney Store
Club Penguins
ESPN Zone
Disney Toys
Disney Apparel, Accessories and Footwear
Disney Food, Health and Beauty
Disney Home Furnishings and Decor
Disney Stationery
Disney Consumer Economics
The Baby Einstein Company
Muppets Holding Company
Disney Interactive Studios
Walt Disney Internet Group

And lest we forget, in addition, the "tentacles" of Disney reach throughout the world.