Bill Moyers: FCC May Give Murdoch a Very Merry Christmas - Two of the Last Big Newspapers in America
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Suspending the current rules would only make this awful situation worse, which is one of the reasons why Vermont’s independent Senator Bernie Sanders and several of his Senate colleagues sent a letter last week to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “Congress tasked you with a mandate to promote localism and diversity in America’s broadcast system,” they wrote. “While the current ownership rules have not completely achieved these goals, they nonetheless remain a bulwark against mass consolidation and stand to preserve local voices.”
This is not the first time the Federal Communications Commission has tried to change the rules. In 2003 and again five years ago, while George W. Bush was still in the White House, a Republican-dominated FCC made a similar attempt to sneak them past but the suspension was rejected by both the Senate and a Federal appeals court. Public comments — three million of them — ran ninety-nine percent against the attempt to make the media behemoths even bigger and more avaricious than ever. Among the opponents: freshman Senator Barack Obama and Senators Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton.
Under Genachowski, the FCC has from time to time upheld its mandate to protect the public interest — the recent decision to increase the number of low power community FM stations, for example, or the ruling that gave the public on-line access to who’s buying political ads on TV and radio, and how much they’re spending. But this time, it seems as if Chairman Genachowski may be trying to rush the rules change through on a technicality without sufficient time for public comments or even an open hearing.
Make your voices heard — write or call Genachowski and the other commissioners – you can find their names, e-mail addresses and phone numbers at the website fcc.gov, or on the “Take Action” page at our website, BillMoyers.com. Write your senators and representatives, too, tell them the FCC must delay this decision and give the public a chance to have its opposition known. We’ve done it before.
Just ask the FCC this basic question: What part of “no” don’t you understand?
Preview: Bernie Sanders on Why Big Media Shouldn't Get Bigger
Watch the full interview this weekend on Moyers & Company. Click here to find show times and channels in your area.
In 1983, 50 corporations controlled a majority of American media. Now that number is six. And Big Media may get even bigger, thanks to the FCC’s consideration of ending a rule preventing companies from owning a newspaper and radio and TV stations in the same city. On this week’s Moyers & Company, Senator Bernie Sanders, one of several Senators who have written FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski asking him to suspend the plan, joins Bill to discuss why Big Media is a threat to democracy and what citizens can do to fight back. Watch and share two preview clips below.
In the first clip, Sanders explains how letting Big Media have its way would limit discussion of “the real issues that impact ordinary people.” Sanders also expresses his dismay that such a move would come from an Obama appointee. “Why the Obama Administration is doing something that the Bush Administration failed to do is beyond my understanding,” Sanders tells Bill. “And we’re gonna do everything we can to prevent it from happening.”
In this second clip, Senator Sanders shares his belief that, unlike previous attempts, the FCC is trying to suspend the rule more secretly and without much public input. Sanders also talks about the effect of this action on minority- and women-owned media in particular.