FCC Votes for Media, Not Public Interest

Newsweek dismissed the relevance of rule changes approved at the FCC this week, calling it "Groundhog Day," i.e. "the more things change, the more they stay the same." Their argument is that media was once consolidated (remember the days of three TV networks?), so what if media becomes consolidated again? Newsweek argues that "big media companies will likely get some help from the FCC." Some help? If their bias wasn't blatant enough, Newsweek goes on to contend that consolidation opponents were unable to get support for their cause, totally ignorning comments made by Trent Lott, the NRA and others.

Protestors haven't been able to find enough evidence of abuses to marshal political opposition. If the big media companies are so threatening, why is AOL Time Warner doing such a bad job of making all its media properties work together? If concentrated ownership is so powerful, how did [Rupert] Murdoch come out of nowhere to challenge ABC, NBC and CBS? Media analyst Tom Wolzien is skeptical that the FCC ruling will lead to mass consolidation. 'I don't see any transformative deals happening from this.' These are just the new, old days of big media.

The question still remains: How did big media serve the public interest in the past and how will big media serve the public interest if they are allowed to get even bigger? The answer is that the Bush administration and the FCC couldn't care less about the public interest. Their concerns lie elsewhere, as the San Francisco Examiner pointed out:
FCC ignores public
Despite overwhelming opposition in public testimony
and letters,calls,e-mails and faxes,the Federal
Communications Commission on Monday voted 3-2
to allow greater media consolidation.
The move comes as local news and opinion have been
under economic assault that forces to put a chill of commu-
nity politics,among other ill effects.Groups as diverse as
the NRA and the ACLU had opposed the new rules,as did
media mogul Ted Turner,who said that growing consolida-
tion jeopardizes the future of independent businessmen.
The Senate should push ahead with a bi-partisan effort
to roll back the FCC 's action,comprehensible only in a
society that favors corporate interests over people.
That 's not America.

Unfortunately it is Bush's America. We just live in it.