Better late than never?

Two aspects of media coverage of the telecom debate I've never understood.

Why is it that media reporting on these crucial issues usually waits until the issue is settled? Why can't we get even a brief overview of five different industry positions and how the industry wish list might affect consumers?

Case in point: The Stephen Wildstrom column in the July 6 Business Week. Wildstrom does offer a cursory, "on the the one hand the tech industry says . ." paragraph before swallowing the telco premise that getting high end video over the internet will only happen if we allow duopoly providers the right to strike preferential deals with content providers -- a surefire recipe for maintaining the dominance of wealthy, multimedia corporations.

Would it be so hard to create a set of bullet points for each of the five industry groups currently lobbying for advantage in Washington?

  • Cable
  • Telco
  • Broadcast
  • Internet/technology
  • Music/movie content players

Each of these groups has an agenda, each has an industry association with scads of fulltime lobbyists and PR eager to explain their story (and dish dirt on the others). Why can't ordinary citizens get barely a glimpse of the stakes here?

And note the date. Wildstrom didn't bother to bring this to BW readers attention until after HR 5252 passed the House and the Senate bill was marked up by the Commerce Committee on June 28. Didn't I learn something in journalism class that we have the First Amendment because we need reporters to help citizens participate in democratic self-government?

What's the point of commenting on a game after the fourth quarter starts?

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