got big media?

Ever wondered who owns all the TV, newspapers, radio and major news Web sites you enjoy each day?

In December 2007, the FCC “gutted the rules that protect local communities from media monopolies,” and I just got this e-mail from the Free Press Action Fund urging Minnesotans to take action:

As early as tonight, the Senate will have its last chance to roll back media consolidation, and Sen. Norm Coleman and Sen. Amy Klobuchar could cast the deciding vote. All of our work to stop runaway media conglomerates could come down to your senators!

Their vote would overturn a disastrous FCC giveaway of local news outlets to Big Media. If the giveaway stands, it would open the floodgates to the type of consolidation that has allowed tycoons like Rupert Murdoch to stifle diverse voices and skew America’s political agenda…Call Sen. Coleman and Sen. Klobuchar Now.

Tell them to vote for the bipartisan “resolution of disapproval” (S.J. Res. 28), which rejects the FCC ruling. If the resolution passes, our fight will move on to the House. If it doesn’t, then Big Media gets to move into your neighborhood, gobbling up more local outlets.

I found some talking points here:

These new rules are bad for local news. Research by Free Press — a non-partisan, non-profit organization — has shown that allowing one company to own a major newspaper and TV broadcast station in a community leads to less local news overall. Additionally, we know that more consolidation leads to cuts in newsroom staff and erodes quality journalism. Read more.

These new rules are bad for people of color. Right now people of color own only 3% of broadcast media in America. The way these new rules are written, it will put these minority media owners in the cross-hairs of consolidation. They will become targets for buyouts, further diminishing the diversity of voices on the airwaves. Read more.

These new rules are bad for business. As one company amasses more media properties in a given community, it effectively gets monopoly status. By setting up advertising deals across media outlets, it becomes impossible for other small media firms to compete.

The FCC’s process has been corrupt. The FCC Chairman has consistently bucked standard procedure, ignored members of Congress and the public, and snuck through new media ownership waivers that undermine his new rule. The House is currently investigating the FCC on the grounds of bad process.

And if these kinds of topics interest you like they do me, be sure to check out the National Conference on Media Reform coming to Minneapolis this June. More info about the campaign here.

Thoughts?

UPDATE: Senate passed the bill around 8 tonight. Bush has said he will veto if House passes, as well. I guess we’ll see.

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