On June 2, big money special interests and the Federal Communications Commission plan to further relax or eliminate the remaining significant media ownership laws. They call it "deregulation," but it is no such thing. It is actually "re-regulation," such that all the choice radio and TV licenses can go to fewer and fewer massive firms, and these firms can buy up far more newspapers and cable TV systems and channels than was ever possible in the past. If you like what has happened to radio since its ownership rules were scrapped in 1996, you'll love what is about to happen in the rest of the U.S. media. It can get worse. Much worse.
The majority of the FCC members are under the thumb of the massive media conglomerates that are demanding these changes so they can get bigger and face less competition. They are working to rush these changes through without any public involvement.
The AFL-CIO, Consumers Union, the Consumer Federation of America and leading religious and civil rights groups have argued that the changes go too far. Yet, polls show that most Americans do not know that the FCC is preparing to dramatically shift the landscape of American media, journalism and democracy.
Only concerted effort on our part can stop the FCC.
In the next few weeks, the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee will hold crucial hearings on the proposed deregulation.
Public comments will determine whether or not Congress allows Big Media to have their way.
Please go to www.mediareform.net. One click will send your message to Congress and the FCC demanding they preserve current media ownership rules for the sake of a diverse, independent, and competitive media.
If we lose this fight, the likely stampede of mergers will give a handful of large corporations greater influence over what is-- and is not -- reported in the news. The quality of media will get even worse as the public's ability to have open, informed discussion with a wide variety of viewpoints declines, eroding the foundations of our democracy.
No matter what your issue, media reform is integral to it. As they say, You control the news, you control the views.
Finally, please send this message to everyone you think might be interested via email. We can win this fight.
Bob McChesney & John Nichols
PS -- Free Press is a new group we co-founded. It is a national organization working to increase informed public participation in crucial media policy debates, and generate a range of policies that will produce a more competitive and public interest-oriented media system. For more information, please contact Free Press: firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll free 866-666-1533 www.mediareform.net