FCC Vote More of the Same From Bush Team

Yesterday's FCC vote, which went 3-2 strictly along party lines, aims to further weaken media restrictions and may have been a crushing defeat for our democracy. Or it simply may underscore the widening ideological divide between Bush's wing of the Republican Party and the rest of America. While the president is still riding high on post-war popularity, there is a growing realization that his administration represents the interests of corporations and the wealthy, at the expense of everyone else, as evidenced by the FCC vote, Bush's tax cuts and environmental policy.

The president's second round of tax cuts are increasingly coming under fire for being geared towards the wealthiest Americans while ballooning his administration's already record deficits. Watching the debates leading up to the votes in the Senate and Congress, who would have thought that Goldwater's GOP would become the "borrow and spend" party, while the Democrats would carry the torch for fiscal responsibility?

Fiscally conservative Republicans like George Voinovich, Lincoln Chaffee and Olympia Stowe weren't able to keep the cuts from passing in the Senate, thanks to a few right-leaning Democrats voting the wrong way. It's now come to light that the child tax cut provision was rewritten at the last minute to exclude the poorest American families, earning between $10,500 and $26,625 per year. So much for compassionate conservatism.

The FCC decision was yet another example of the Bush administration choosing to act on behalf of corporations while ignoring strong public opposition to its stated goals. This is not an isolated incident. Most Americans opposed the invasion of Iraq without UN support, but Bush sent troops in anyway and we went along with it while he handed out contracts to his buddies at Halliburton and Bechtel. Most Americans want greater, not less environmental protection, but Bush continues to decimate 30 years of environmental protection (dating back to Nixon's signing into law the EPA), to the benefit of his friends in the timber, oil and mining industries.

While Michael Powell's FCC team advocated media deregulation in favor of "competition," the Democrats, as well as the National Rifle Association and Trent Lott among others in the Republican camp, spoke about maintaining current restrictions in support of democracy and the "public interest." Isn't the public interest what the FCC is supposed to serve? Apparently not in Bush's presidency.

FCC Commissioner Michael Copps spoke for most Democrats when he said that the decision:

"empowers America's new media elite with unacceptable levels of influence over the media on which our society and our democracy so heavily depend."

The Bush administration continues to weaken our democracy by giving more and more influence to the corporations which support his efforts - the FCC vote is just more of the same.