FCC testimony on media ownership: Mark Taylor-Canfield

My name is Mark Taylor Canfield. I am an independent journalist here in Seattle. I file stories for the Pacifica Radio Networks, Free Speech Radio News, and also local community radio station KBCS. I am […] for several local magazines and web sites. I am also a member of the board of directors for a media literacy group called Weapons of Mass Distraction; hence, the TV heads that you have seen wandering around here today. I am a founding member of a non-profit government watchdog group called Committee for Government Accountability.

It is pretty obvious to me why so many folks have come here today. It is also pretty obvious to me why we don’t see any corporate media coverage of these events. Because the corporate media is not interested in what their audience’s opinion is. They are interested in only one thing and this is the bottom-line profit. It is also pretty obvious why people are here today; they are here to testify before you because they are very alarmed and very upset about the further corporate media consolidation going on in the country and the negative effects that it has on communities around the U.S.
According to a study done by a foundation originally set up by Eleanor Roosevelt to study media democracy around the world, the United States is 24th overall in the world as far as freedom of the press -- no American can be proud of that fact. I have here in my hand a report; this report was buried by the FCC. It is a report about localism. It was based on the research of Professor Danilo Yanich, who I interviewed. The names of the authors on this report have been redacted as you can see. The names have been blocked out.

But we know who the authors are because they went public -- after Senator Barbara Boxer waved this report around at a Congressional hearing and made it public. I also have two other reports here. One is on minority and female ownership of television stations in the United States. There is a major lack of female and minority ownership in the U.S. I also have another report here by Michael Yan, and this is about TV and newspaper cross-ownership, and it also goes along with the FCC report by Yanich. Yanich’s research (that was suppressed) shows that corporate media consolidation does not -- and I repeat -- not lead to more local media news coverage. We all know that that’s true.

What I would like to urge the commissioners to do today is to retain and strengthen the media ownership rules on corporations in the United States because the future of media democracy in the U.S. demands it. The last thing I would like to say before I go is that this has to do with the First Amendment. I see for the corporate media consolidation is a direct threat to the guaranteed rights and the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Thank you.

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