FCC testimony on media ownership: Monica Hill

That’s our kind of CEO, right? I am Monica Hill, a long-time political journalist. Some say that our U.S. mainstream media is the lapdog of big business. Actually, it is big business. How else can we possibly describe Time-Warner, Fox, Disney, and the few others that run everything? I thought it was six but tonight I learn from some speakers it’s now five. These Jurassic-sized monopolies dominate the politics and the culture surging out of all of our televisions and radios and newspapers. They cannot be allowed to get even bigger. Here’s the scary annuli analogy: the company that retails the most movies and is therefore in a position to dictate what movies are produced is, guess what? Wal-Mart right?

Independent alternative media is what we need more of. For many years I have been a journalist with a freedom Socialist newspaper published here in Seattle, sold across the country, and in several other English- and Spanish-Speaking countries. Were it not for alternative papers like this, here and abroad, Americans would know nothing of the countless lies surrounding U.S. wars and war crimes… or the obscene profits of major oil and Halliburton like companies. Our most recent issue – just as an example – is a call to arms against how “big brothers’” front pages got information on the Habeas Corpus battle. And information that isn’t available anyplace else on the battle in Darfur.

Imagine numerous alternative papers… some of them upfront socialist critics of rapacious capitalists. Imagine more low-power FM radio stations in local communities reporting on organizing around police brutality… organizing around anti-war demonstrations, better schools, immigrants’ rights, abortion clinic, defense… Imagine anti-big-business electoral candidates in the main TV debates. Here in Seattle, the green party candidate, although I did not support, nevertheless was not allowed to participate in the election campaign for U.S. senate because he didn’t have a million bucks. There was a Republican candidate, a Democratic candidate, and a Libertarian candidate. And you had to have a million bucks to participate in it.

Imagine the news not being written by the police and blood- and gore-mongers and public relations firms. Testimony here in Seattle tonight and in other public hearings across the country leaves no doubt that the public wants less monopoly – not more – and we urge Commissioners Copps and Adelstein to aggressively represent the demands to the rest of the FCC, which you no doubt will do. And if a march on Washington would help… you let us know.

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