FCC testimony on media ownership: Margaret Swartzman

I’m Margaret Swartzman. I’m a concerned citizen of Seattle and I speak not only for myself but for my family and my neighbors. To me, the free and the public airwaves are the foundation of democracy because it allows dialogue. We’re very lucky here in Seattle to have radio stations like KBCS that have public programs that allow the community to have voice and access to producing their own programs, and it’s wonderful because it allows people like me to hear voices from different members of the community.

That knowledge allows me to be, perhaps, more open-minded. I think democracy needs to have dialogue, and too often what we are getting through the airwaves is not dialogue or information, but news as entertainment, news as propaganda. I remember as a child going across the country from Ohio to Wyoming every summer and hearing -- as I left one community and after the bandwidth of that community had reached its limit, entering a new community and hearing a new voice which gave me a great appreciation for the diversity of America.

I feel that the present commissioners besides yourselves are acting kind of like the overseer in a plantation and they have shackled us, the public -- the community that makes up American democracy -- and they’ve handed the chains over to the plantation owner of corporate America. Please resist them.

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