Democracy will be heard in Seattle

[Seattle Times editorial]

The undemocratic tactics of the Federal Communications Commission chairman to blunt public input at a Seattle media-ownership hearing will not work.

The FCC and the media conglomerates' aggressive takeover of an independent press and media have stirred the public's interest, and spurred a media-reform movement growing in voice and influence. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin could have given two weeks' notice for the last of six media-ownership hearings that will be at Seattle's Town Hall Friday. Instead, the hearing was announced late last Friday afternoon, giving four business-days' notice.

The short time frame is a blatant attempt to mute the public voice. The timing also makes it more difficult for the FCC to put together a strong list of panelists to testify about the good and bad of American media.

This is not the first time Martin has tried to run around the public. The FCC gave five business-days' notice for a localism hearing on Halloween. The Halloween hearing notice was also given at the end of the workday. The hearing was then held at the FCC after a regularly scheduled meeting.

The surreptitious planning did not work. The FCC's chamber was packed, and a rally was held outside. Expect the same here.

Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein held an unofficial hearing in Seattle last year. More than 400 people packed an auditorium at the Seattle Downtown Library.

Martin's disrespect for the public — which he is charged with protecting from corporations seeking more power — will ensure that Town Hall is packed with a crowd ready to be heard.

article originally published at .

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