Norman Lear on MediaCon, Redux [6:15 am]
OVER THE LAST 25 years, the number of corporations that dominate television, movies, music, radio, cable and the Internet has dwindled from more than 50 to just a handful of massive conglomerates. Do we really want Big Media to get even bigger?
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin does. He just relaunched the FCC’s formal review of media ownership rules. The agency’s “Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,” issued July 25, is vague, but its intent is clear: to let a few giant media corporations swallow up more local television channels, radio stations and newspapers in a single market.
[...] Industry and Wall Street propaganda says local media can’t compete without further consolidation. Yet media companies already enjoy higher profit margins than most industries. They say we must deregulate. But radio and TV station ownership is by definition regulated â€” these are the public airwaves and there are only so many channels available in a community. The only question is on whose behalf will Washington make the rules: major media companies or the public?