Friday, January 26, 2007

Free Press for Sale

Look at this article from the AP via E&P about the FCC and Media Consolidation.

When the government decided to take a hard look at how well broadcasters were serving their communities, two economists at the [FCC] got a research idea: ... look at whether locally owned TV stations produced more local news than stations owned by companies based outside the area.

They found that local ownership resulted in more local news coverage. They also realized they had turned up what one of the researchers ... called "inconvenient facts." The findings were at odds with what their agency, under heavy lobbying from the broadcast industry, had endorsed.

The months-long study was spiked by the agency with "no plausible explanation," Brown says. He suspects it was because the conclusions were at odds with the shared position of the FCC and the broadcast industry.

This is the Bush Administration. This is why we have these charlatans, because Corporations OWN them. What Bush does on his free time is his own thing, just so long as it doesn't interfere with what the Corps want. And if he should happen to drum up some extra business with his other activities, all to the good.

I was reminded of this listening to Squawk Box this morning. They had a story (video at Fri. Jan. 26 2007 | 5:40 AM[04:22]) about some New England town and their "most famous" citizen Martha Stewart, who wants to copyright the town name for herself. The town leader they were talking too was opposed, as was the town, to the notion, and the hostess of the show, Becky Quick, was relentless in pushing the man, trying to get him to admit there was no reason for their opposition to the copyright issue. I was cleaning up in the kitchen but i could hear the slight annoyence on his part, and her incredulous questions, how could you people be so stupid, SHE'S FAMOUS for gods sake. But he had none of it.

She knows nothing of the place or the people, has no sense of propriety or dignity or class, shall we say, but boyo, she knows corporations!

Corporations have no real loyalty to anything but the bottom line. The differeneces are in how they approach that responsibility, how long their time horizon is, how much, or little, they incorporate into the rostrum of profitability. And that is why it's so dangerous to have the Press do entwined into the corporate mindset, so deeply embedded to the goal of profit. That is why the FCC exists, to use their powers and influence to try to keep some balance between the sometimes opposing forces of profit and a free press. And when the government advocates a shared position of the FCC and the broadcast industry, you have problems, and tacky reporting, like the CNBC story.


iamcoyote said...

Why would Martha Stewart be so stupid, anyhow, I'm wondering. This kind of stunt won't do her any favors, even if the babbling bimbo is obligated to push the dang story.

But if you think about it, her incredulous response to the town's refusal probably isn't just about her corporate backers' agenda, it could be she can't figure out why these regular people don't want to live in a famous town. In this age of reality tv catapulting people to "stardom" who really really don't belong there, doesn't everyone want their 15 minutes? Gah, I hate that crap!

Duckman GR said...

Actually, coyote, there was no comment from Martha Stewart, it was the reporter that I was refering to.

iamcoyote said...

Me too, actually. I guess I wasn't clear, huh?

Duckman GR said...

On further review, it seems pretty clear! I musta been tired, I stay up too late blogging, but it's the only time I really can.

I need a day job that lets me blog without being bothered or blocked!

Better yet, I need to figure out how to blog for a living!