Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Fuel Your Outrage

If any of you missed the June 4th appearance of those Republican FCC Commissioners in front of the Senate Commerce Committee, you missed The Honorable Kathleen Q. Abernathy being taken to the wood shed by Senator Boxer for the differentiation Commissioner Abernathy made between her side vs. their questioners:

The Three Republican Commissioners had made a, well, a fair and balanced decision, based on the facts.

Their critics had given way to "irrational fears" of what might happen in the future.

Well, the future is already here.

News Corp.'S DirecTV Bid Faces More Foes

On Monday, the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD), a public advocacy group, filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Justice (news - web sites), the Federal Communications Commission (news - web sites) (FCC (news - web sites)) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (news - web sites) asking the government to block the merger.


News Corp., which owns the Fox broadcast network, announced in April it would buy a controlling stake in DirecTV's parent company, Hughes Electronics, for $6.6 billion in cash and stock from automaker General Motors. The deal is expected to close by early next year at the latest.

The CDD argued that the merger should be blocked because it will give News Corp. "unparalleled power" over broadcast and cable programming and distribution.....

"The amount of power amassed by News Corp./Fox -- creating a veritable 'Citizen Murdoch' of the 21st century -- is a warning of what lies ahead in the media marketplace," CDD executive director Jeff Chester said. "The new FCC ruling already increases the ability of News Corp. to expand its media empire on several fronts, and allowing it to control the principal broadcast-satellite service in the country is clearly contrary to the public interest."

And then there's this:

CBS News Defends Its Multi-Pronged Pitch to Lynch

Viacom-owned CBS News said it did nothing wrong when it held out the possibility of TV movie, concert special and book deals with other Viacom divisions in its pitch to land an interview with Pfc. Jessica Lynch.

The news operation insists it made very clear in its letters to the former prisoner of war in Iraq that "we never tie interview requests to entertainment projects."

Go read the "And yet..."

Think writing letters is like a message in a bottle cast into the sea? Check this out.

Okay, you've guessed where I'm going here. Yes, it's nudge time.


The actual legislation that will be voted on in committee on JUNE 19TH is S.1046, and according to Common Cause...

...it would overturn some of the most egregious parts of the FCC rule change. This bipartisan bill would keep a single company from owning broadcast outlets that reach more than 35% of American households (as opposed to
45% post-rule-change). A crucial amendment sponsored by Senators Dorgan and Snowe would keep newspapers and TV stations from merging.

CauseNet at Common Cause is providing two easy ways for you to get your support for the bill and your opposition to the Honorable Commissioner Abernathy and her honorable cohorts registered where it'll count:

If you live in any of the states represented on the committee - Alaska, Arizona, California, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas,
Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, or West Virginia -
Click Here, and then follow the instructions.

For everyone else: Click Here to find out what to do.

In addition, here is the link for the Communications subcommitte of the Commerce Committee. It has a web based email form as well as links to all the members.

A good idea I received from reader, Hobson:

Contact the Chairman of the full committee, Senator John McCain, through a call or a fax to his Washington office, or an email, to the Commerce Committee or both, directed to him personally, with a pithy message that reminds him of his oft repeated concerns re the role of money in our elections, and as he did on that issue, ask him on this very similar issue, to put the common good of the country above partisan advantage. And don't forget to thank him for doing so.