“In 1983 – 90% of American media was owned by 50 different companies. Today that 90% of media is now owned and controlled by 6 giant media conglomerates; they are General Electric, News Corp, Disney, Viacom, Disney and CBS.”
~Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
If you are against the consolidation of the industrial media complex – sign Senator Bernie Sander’s petition HERE.
On November 30th – Senator Sanders and 8 other Democratic Senators sent a letter to the FCC Chairman – Julius Genachowski – to protest relaxing rules that would allow for the further consolidation of American media; you can read that HERE. According to Broadcasting & Cable HERE - Chairman Genachowski’s proposal which was shared privately but not publicly “loosens the newspaper/TV cross-ownership ban in the top 20 markets and gets rid of the ban on radio/TV cross-ownership and radio/newspaper cross-ownership.” The proposal purports to allow a media company to own one daily newspaper, two TV stations and up to eight radio stations in the same market all at the same time.
And all of this while News Corp Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch is looking to buy the L.A. Times and Chicago Tribune (source). Murdoch continues to gobble up global media companies and News Corp is spreading like a cancer. Even though Murdoch is the guy I love to hate … he’s not the only media plutocrat that you should be worried about. News organizations are either sensationalized to ensure higher ratings regardless of what is in the public interest, but also – the interests of corporations tend to intersect with the interest in news organizations reporting the truth … .and usually the truth loses. It is simply not in the interest of the general public as news sources continue to dwindle.
The simple answer to all of this is to stop media consolidation from continuing to occur.
The Washington Post has this response from Chairman Genachowski’s office HERE:
The chairman’s office defends the proposal, which is being shown privately to the agency’s other four commissioners. Genachowski’s proposal would make it nearly impossible for a top TV station to buy a major newspaper, they said. In other words, the proposal wouldn’t allow a mega media merger like News Corp. and the Tribune Company .
“In fact, the order would strengthen the current rule by creating an express presumption against a waiver of the cross-ownership ban to allow such a combination,” said Bill Lake, the FCC’s Media Bureau chief. “In addition, the proposed order preserves the existing TV duopoly rule, which forbids ownership of more than one of the top four TV stations in any market.”
Genachowski has said, however, that the ban is outdated in a shifting media environment, where consumers get news from multiple formats. Some minority advocates also say they would like to see more mergers in local markets, where struggling news outlets can combine resources.
Earlier this year – the Supreme Court wouldn’t even consider a case challenging the FCC’s authority to dictate rules for media consolidation; Reuters shares on that HERE:
The justices refused to hear appeals by Media General Inc, by broadcast and newspaper groups and by a broadcasting trade group arguing that the Supreme Court should reconsider past precedents that broadcast “scarcity” justified the ownership restrictions under the Constitution’s First Amendment.
At issue before the Supreme Court was the FCC’s loosening of some of its rules in 2008. Media owners challenged the rules on the grounds the FCC failed to go far enough to lift ownership caps.
A number of broadcast and newspaper groups separately appealed to the Supreme Court. They included the Tribune Co, News Corp’s Fox television, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Clear Channel Communications Inc and the Newspaper Association of America.
They argued that the so-called “scarcity doctrine” involving the broadcast industry dating back to a 1969 Supreme Court decision should be overruled, invalidating the FCC’s media ownership rules.
The appellants said continued restriction on cross-ownership in the same market is unconstitutional because it singled out newspapers among all forms of mass communication for unequal treatment.
Mother Jones put together this great chart showing just how significant the media consolidation has been since 1982 HERE:
Bernie Sanders went on Bill Moyers to talk about the threats of media consolidation.
FreePress put together a list of companies owned and controlled by a handful of media companies HERE.
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