END MEGA-CORP OWNERSHIP OF MEDIA.
A small handful of powerful corporations controls the majority of new media. This stifles the real business of news media which is investigating and reporting facts. It creates a biased stranglehold in which a powerful media owner, such as Murdock, has disproportionate control over the content and delivery of news.
Unchecked, the FCC's underhanded move to allow greater media/newspaper consolidation by fewer providers smacks of totalitarianism. Consider the recent presidential campaign when an obscene expenditure of two billion dollars went to select new president. Yet while a very large percentage of this was spent on media buys; critical issues like global warming, war and peace, the growing income disparity and the human costs of a moribund economy received pitifully short shrift - a mention here or there, perhaps a generic sound bite. But did this frequently tainted money (see "Citizens United") produce a significantly more informed or engaged public? Hardly. And now, perpetuating the fraud, the FCC quietly wants to allow media giants to further define and restrict the range of debate? Isn't this a bald prescription for mass disengagement, growing ignorance and ultimately, national collapse? Because to allow select these monsters to monopolize information in widening areas of influence is to mock democracy. It's a disaster-in-waiting - like letting a handful of ravenous wolves loose in a crowded turkey farm. It would be to reduce notions like an aroused citizenship and informed dissent to quaint phrases in our history books. (if those, too, don't become further sanitized.)
In closing, the FCC, itself born of lofty ideas such as safeguarding the public, should return to its original intent with all deliberate speed. Open public hearings so we, the people, may weigh in on our venerable right to open and unbiased information. Whereas Ronald Reagan, in the midst of a costly and dreaded Cold War, told Mikhail Gorbachev, "Tear down that wall," we say to the FCC: "Open up your chambers. Let the people be heard!"
An independent and diverse citizenry is the foundation of a democracy. This is impossible when a tiny elite own most of the media outlets in the country. Some argue that the internet makes limiting ownership of newspapers and TV obsolete. This is penny wise and pound foolish, and is leading to the virtual elimination of quality journalism in the US. We now rate way down the global list for our quality of journalism. I recommend that you read James Suroweiki's Wisdom of Crowds. Your failure to maintain diversity in the mainstream media is turning us into a propaganda state and removing the possibility of a functioning democracy with any wisdom to aggregate.
Al Williams commented
As a person who places high value as many voices and perspectives being heard as possible, I urge you to allow citizens and/or small businesses, and not more corporations, access to the relatively few remaining options for media input and ownership. This would, I strongly suspect, result in programming that is more objective and less politically biased ~ something I believe our country needs.
Always with the regulation. Why not just make it illegal to edit and manipulate video for news feeds, and news storys and fine News media for manufacturing news. we've already got truth in advertising why not truth in news? save the opinions for the talk shows.
Steven H commented
I agree, however I find it curious that you used Murdoch as an example. By far Mega-Media is controlled by the Liberal left. If Murdoch/Fox were removed from the equasion, how much further from rational would balance become?
The FCC is about to review media ownership laws again and I suspect they will try to further dilute corporate ownership restrictions like they unsuccesfully did in 2006 before being derailed by public opinion. Be sure to drop them an email and let them know your thoughts.
I completely agree with this statement. Mega corporations have gained control of almost every media outlet in today’s society. You cannot turn on the TV with out finding some sort of advertisement for Disney or something unknowingly linked to their corporation including networks like Lifetime and the History Channel. Television programs are being influenced by networks and advertisers on what they do and do not run.
According to the National Institute on Media and the Family as cited on Parent Television Council website in 1998, “the average youth living in the U.S. watches television 25 hours a week and plays computer games an additional seven hours.” This shocking statistic is unsettling. Especially as I read on a found that, “ABC's Desperate Housewives is the most popular broadcast-network television show with kids aged 9-12 according to Nielsen stats. It airs at 10/9” (Jan. 05). Desperate Housewives is a show that I generally associate with themes of cheating housewives, sexuality, and revengeful murder plots would not be my first recommendation for a 9 year old. Mega corporations have created a sequence in order to boost their ratings in which they put things on the air that provide shock value for viewers to tune in. The corporations do not care that this shock value may be inappropriate for a 9 year old. I will admit that the FCC has done a positive thing with the FCC ratings before programs start, but still programs have gone to far and do little else to discourage young children from watching these types of programs.
I think we are at a point in time where public programming needs to strive. Public television has lost its appeal to the younger generations. At this point in time I think that public programming can provide quality based shows. Today’s youth are prone to accept what they are told on TV including biased opinions. The problems that many of today’s youth face is not being able to decipher the difference betweens biased opinions and facts they are given on television programs primarily news coverage. I think that many people today are lacking media literacy which is how we develop and understand all media outlets. In a study by Mihailidis who looked at the state of media literacy in US higher education he claimed that “Media education is an essential step in the long march towards a truly participatory democracy; and the democratization of our institutions. Widespread media literacy is essential id all citizens are to wield power, make rational decisions, become effective change agents and have an effective involvement with the media.” With the help of public programming media literacy can be encouraged with the help of programs that include political debates and educational programming.
The Carnegie Commission Act in 1965 saw the potential in public television. In an article by Minerva, The Carnegie Corporation and the Mobilization of Opinion in the United States the creators of the Carnegie Commission saw the benefits that public television created including social welfare and education. Minerva described the reasoning behind Carnegie’s perspective on public television as, “Events still needed to be interpreted, and the power to win attention for one interpretation rather than another was unequally distributed. Competition in this domain was and is imperfect in capitalist democracies (p378). Very early on Carnegie saw the potential in public broadcasting and I think that we should look to our past for advice. I am not saying that public broadcasting will save our problems with the Mega Corporation’s media takeover. Public programming can potentially provide an outlet for the discouraged to teach those about media literacy.
Beauregard Bahnam commented
Something must be done to mediate corporate, political, and governmental bias in the news. Publicly funded news companies can do much to decrease this bias. Even more, media companies must not be allowed to parade as news when they are completely biased. For example, one can google "Fox News bias" and get hundreds of relevant and shocking results. News channels such as that should be required to show a disclaimer at the beginning and end of each program that reads something like "This program is not news, nor is it fairly portraying facts. It is an interpretation of selected facts heavily influenced by the opinion of those who produce this program"
Maneesh Pangasa commented
Yes this is a serious issue and restoring media ownership rules to protect localism in our news -- and ensure we have more diverse and independent sources of information thus enabling more quality journalism is essential to preserving, protecting and restoring American democracy.
Craig Lyndon Althage commented
We need more open access to digital broadcast channels as well as more cable channels for public programming such as Cable Access Channels with as much free reign by the people producing the show as ordinary citizens as is allowed by the law. We need to offset the grotesque amount of corporate lifeless information being propagated by the current media moguls to be offset by real community news, independent media i.e. Democracy Now, FAIR and other news on the left when so much of the news is clearly right wing in content and misses their intended mission goals without any accountability.
Eugene Lightcap commented
The Mega Corps have taken away all local content in smaller towns, and left not much in the larger ones. The loss of important information, during emergencies is disgusting. During weather emergencies we could count on the locally owned stations for accurate information. The only thing we get now is a prerecorded weather forecast saying hot and sunny while the streets are flooding from the rain. The biggest loss is REAL news coverage all we get now is propaganda and misinformation. What ever happened to " operating in the public interest." The FCC policy of allowing every little Flea power station to move into a community has so diluted the revenue stream, that the only option left for some stations, is to fire everyone and run on satellite. It's past time to return ownership caps so that one or two companies can't own every station in the region, as Cox does here in Atlanta and Northeast GA, and demand that stations actually serve the cities they are licensed to with a fair and evenhanded coverage of important issues.