Corporate Power/Consolidation

Adelstein raps consolidation at IPA conference

by Reyhan Harmanci, San Francisco Chronicle

The Independent Press Association Conference, as most conferences do, handed out name tags. And because those attending the Argonaut Hotel conference over the weekend came from various magazines, their tags

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King County says no to public, yes to Comcast

Summary:

On Monday Dec. 13, the King County Council voted 9-3 to extend the county's cable franchise agreement with Comcast for five years, under terms extremely favorable to the company. The proposal, quietly announced days earlier, came as a surprise to community media and technology activists who had urged the Council last winter to delay extending Comcast's lucrative franchise in order to develop a proposal which better addresses the public's needs. Some concerns were expressed in an open letter signed last spring by over 250 local citizens representing community groups, unions, small businesses, public technology experts and community media supporters.

The franchise extension not only ignores all citizen recommendations, it actually represents steps backward from the County's current agreement with Comcast. The proposal dramatically withdraws support from community access and government television, and from the institutional broadband network linking County schools, libraries and public services. It institutionalizes Comcast's refusal to allow small local ISPs open access to its network, and voluntarily gives up some $21 million worth of unused public bandwidth in exchange for a paltry one-time payoff of $1.2 million.

Read our complete response.

[ Citizen petition to the County Council ]
[ First RTM op-ed (Dec. 03), Second RTM op-ed (Jan. 04) ]
[ Primer on local cable organizing (pdf) and links to more info

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New film outs Fox

Summary:

You've heard the buzz - now see the film. Outfoxed, the new documentary by director Robert Greenwald (Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War) examines how media empires, led by Rupert Murdoch's Fox News, have been running a "race to the bottom" in television news. The film provides an in-depth look at Fox News and the dangers of ever-enlarging corporations taking control of the public's right to know.
See the film on Fri. July 23 at a Seattle screening presented by Reclaim the Media and Wallingford
Neighbors for Peace, or on June 18 at one of many
house parties.

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Cantwell moves to protect educational stations

Senator Maria Cantwell today announced proposed legislation which would protect a handful of educational radio stations from the danger of having their frequencies snatched by larger commercial or public radio stations. Cantwell spoke before an audience of teenagers at Mercer Island High School, where

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Media Politics: Dollars and Censorship

There is no doubt that most of us who are looking forward to seeing Michael Moore's latest film Fahrenheit 911 this summer or fall will have little difficulty doing so, at least those of use living in medium-sized or large metropolitan areas. Of course, that's no thanks to the Disney executives who in early May announced that they were instructing subsidiary Miramax not to follow through on its commitment to distribute Moore's film. By the time you're reading this, Fahrenheit 911 will have been royally feted at Cannes and will probably be safely in the arms of another commercial US distributor more than happy to line its pockets with the lucre likely to be created by the film's pre-election release.

Read more. Jonathan Lawson (Jonathan Lawson/)

Murdoch: big three will run world's media

By Jane Schulze and Geoff Elliott, The Australian

RUPERT Murdoch believes that in three years the world will have three large media companies - and News Corporation will be one of them.

Speaking after releasing News's half-year results on Wednesday night, the chairman and chief executive of The

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Most US consumers get local news from papers

WASHINGTON, Jan 29 (Reuters) - More Americans rely on newspapers as their source for local news than any other outlet, according to a study released on Thursday by two consumer groups that criticizing new media ownership rules for being based on poor data.

About 61 percent of those surveyed said newspapers

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Union Report calls Clear Channel 'Poster Child' for Consolidation Misery

Summary:

A new report commissioned by national media unions finds that the business and social practices of communications giant Clear Channel have had a profoundly negative impact on working people and their communities. The report provides data and analysis on many aspects of the company's practices, including its deceptive use of voicetracking technology, its "vanilla-izing" of programming, and its history of adversarial labor relations and scofflaw attitudes towards regulation. The report also charts the company's use of its dominance in the radio, entertainment and billboard advertising industries to harm artists and consumers, and to trumpet its own political ideology while censoring opposing viewpoints.

The presentation of the report coincided with an FCC Localism hearing in Clear Channel's hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Unions funding the report included, among others, AFTRA, IATSE, CWA and IBEW - all unions which represent groups of Clear Channel radio employees. According to the report, there is union representation at only 35 of the company's 1239 US stations.

[ The Clear Picture on Clear Channel - full report (pdf) ]

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Comcast: 'We're rolling in cash'

[from PR Newswire}
Comcast Corporation Expects $2 Billion in Free Cash Flow in 2004, Previews Operating Cash Flow Guidance

Board of Directors Approves $1 Billion Share Repurchase Program

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) today announced

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First battle won over Comcast cable deal!

Hello fans of media and democracy,

As Robin Oppenheimer's letter testifies below, we have WON the first stage in the long road to victory to obtain increased community media and financial resources for King County.

THANKS TO YOUR SUPPORT, we were able to persuade all of the King County Council

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