bpreecs's blog

Alas, Copps is wrong

Michael Copps is a hero. The FCC commissioner almost singlehandedly stopped a massive corporate media takeover in 2003. He pioneered the use unofficial FCC hearings to galvanize public opinion about the dangers of consolidated media power.

So it grieves me to have to say this, but in response to the commissioner’s recent NY Time op-ed arguing for broadcast license renewal as tool to foster media reform, I need to say it.

Michael Copps is wrong.

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Getting Murdoch right

As the media and business world focuses on the possibility that Rupert Murdoch might add the Wall Street Journal to his stable of media properties, it's gratifying that at least some of the commentary get the basics right: Murdoch is not a threat to democracy because he uses his media properties to advance a conservative political agenda. Murdoch is a threat to democracy because he promotes goverment leaders who advance his business interests.

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Moyers nails media negligence

Bill Moyers special on "Buying the War" explains in painful detail how our nation's leading media outlets failed to serve the public interest with even minimally sceptical coverage of administration's claims about the need to invade Iraq.

If you missed it, it's now online.

For me the highlight was the comment by Dan Rather:

  • There's also the fear that, you know, particularly in (broadcast TV) networks, they've become huge, international conglomerates. They have big needs, legislative needs, regulatory needs in Washington. Nobody has to send you a memo to tell you that that's the case.
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    Sonics, newspapers, & the Internet

    Big media news day in Seattle. Our two daily newspapers settled a four-year battle over their joint business arrangements and the Legislature rejected a $300 million tax subsidy for our NBA and WNBA basketball franchises.

    The two stories are related in ways that may not be readily apparent.

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    Benjamin Barber speaks in Seattle April 17

    An event that NW media activists might put on their calendars:

    Benjamin Barber, author the the new book Consumed, How Markets Corrupt Children, Infantilize Adults, and Swallow Citizens Whole, speaks at Town Hall in Seattle Tuesday, April 17 at 7 p.m.

    The best review I've seen of Barber's book is at the WA Post here.

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    Fire Imus? Why bother

    The furor over Don Imus continues to build. Many liberals, progressives, or media reformers want to see CBS Radio fire Imus. (Note: originally posted shortly before we got our wish.)

    Why would that matter?

    Is there some sense that Imus would be replaced by a sensitive, kind-hearted voice of reason? No, Mr. Rogers is still dead and Imus would be replaced by someone who'd eventually sound a lot like Imus.

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    NY Times faces Wall St attack?

    A recent Wall Street Journal article (which may be available free here) details a battle between the family that controls the New York Times and a large Wall Street investor.

    The struggle is symptomatic of the larger question about whether independent journalism organizations can continue to survive if not thrive in a fast-changing, brutally competitive world.

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    Sex study misses key context

    The report from the American Psychological Association on "The Sexualization of Girls" has been getting a lot of well-deserved attention. See here or here.

    The report says that "sexualized images of girls and young women in advertising, merchandising, and media is harming girls' self-image and healthy development." No kidding.

    What the report doesn't address, at least in at any length, is why this happens. The short answer: What we call 'popular culture' is an industry. And this industry, thanks to the efforts of C.C. Dill (see previous posts and yes, I know I'm a little obsessive) has pretty much unrestricted control over the most powerful communication tools in human history.

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    Does Sen. Dill deserve obscurity?

    I once got an email from Joel Connelly, who was astonished to learn that C.C. Dill was the architect of everything he hated about TV and politics. Dill was mostly known for being the "Father of Grand Coulee Dam," and Connelly said he'd interviewed Dill a few years before he died and the subject of broadcasting never came up.

    It's not surprising that Connelly wasn't aware that Dill's legacy to future generations included Swift Boat attack ads, Thighmaster infomercials, and mult-million dollar Super Bowl spots. Marshall McLuhan described it this way: we don't know who discovered water, but we're pretty sure it wasn't a fish.

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    Nelson surveys telecomm regs for senators

    A few days ago, I attended a public hearing in Olympia about a bill to survey broadband usage in WA state. As a bonus, I got to hear a presentation by former WA Commissioner Sharon Nelson, who's now the board chair of Consumers Union.

    Nelson, an attorney and law school professor, gave the Senate Water, Energy, and Telecomm committee a concise, but comprehensive summary of 100 years of telecomm regulation. The only thing she left out was the key role Washington state played.

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    The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey