Opinion Regulations preventing the complete colonization of America's television airwaves by a handful of media cartels are set to be relaxed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Monday, much to the chagrin of the few surviving independent publishers and broadcasters and the few remaining American citizens not already whipped into a state of strenuous flag-idolatry and xenophobia by said media cartels.
The new regs will lift restrictions currently impeding companies wishing to own too many newspapers, television stations and radio stations in a single city. Since television serves as America's premier portal to knowledge about the world, the idea of allowing co-ownership of local newspapers bodes ill for a society long accustomed to regarding itself as a democracy. It will difficult to exercise democracy when the ubiquitous national oracle propagates only those biases that four or five multinational conglomerates wish to see propagated, and which are backed up by co-owned newspapers and radio stations.
The architect of this perversion is FCC Chairman Michael Powell, son of Colin, a Republican appointed by Dubya and an eager plutocrat plaything. The young Powell reckons that cable TV and the Internet will suffice to vouchsafe information and editorial diversity in America. Unfortunately much of cable TV is owned by broadcast heavyweights and involves a few Internet cousins; and a good deal of Internet content is dominated by MSN and AOL Time Warner, both of which run broadcast concerns on cable and off.
To see the incest at a glance, one might consult MediaChannel.org, or, for a more detailed breakdown, take a look at Iwantmedia.com or the Center for Digital Democracy, at least while they still exist.
The wholesale surrender of public property to obscenely wealthy commercial interests is nothing new in America, but turning the essential mechanism of public information into nothing more than a vehicle of commercial propaganda and political spin is the most dangerous bit of corporate welfare imaginable.
Thirty members of Congress signed a joint letter to Powell Jr. back in February, asking that the public be given a chance to understand and then consider what is being done to their very valuable property, but he disdained the request. There will be no Congressional oversight or public debate. All that will be left are lawsuits, but surely these will not be resolved before George Junior's re-election campaign is finished and either he or his opponent will have been elected, or appointed president by the Supreme Court.
Perhaps this is what explains Powell's eagerness to ram the regulations through as soon as possible. The Bush campaign can only be helped by further amplifying the voices of a soon-to-be grateful broadcast and publishing mainstream, and further marginalizing those of skeptics and independent thinkers. ®