JOIN US IN PETITIONING CONGRESS AND THE FCC ON MEDIA ISSUES!
Dear Friend of United for Peace and Justice,
Anyone who paid attention to the media coverage of the war on Iraq and the anti-war movement knows that peace and justice activists must prioritize wresting control of our media from profit-driven media corporations. In other parts of the world, TV viewers learned about the human costs of war‹from images of injured and dead Iraqi civilians to interviews with doctors and humanitarian workers. But on U.S. television, the war was presented as a video game, full of images that glorified U.S. weaponry and commentary by former military generals and ³embedded² journalists whose identities blurred with those of their military units. This was the version of the war that the U.S. government wanted the public to believe‹not the reality on the ground in Iraq. This was also the version of the war that media outlets believed would bring them viewers and advertising dollars.
And it gets worse
While Secretary of State Colin Powell led the U.S. invasion against Iraq, his son, Michael Powell, head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), ramped up an attack on federal media regulations that could give the corporate media even more power than it already has. We have already seen the effects of the 1996 media deregulation: five television companies--General Electric (MSNBC and NBC), News Corp (Fox), Disney (ABC), AOL-Time Warner (CNN), and Viacom (CBS)--have a stranglehold on what information the public gets to know, and corporate radio behemoths like Clear Channel Communications devour local radio stations and replace them with McRadio. If Powell has his way, the situation will get even worse; there will be nothing standing in the way of media companies¹ drive for profits at the expense of our democracy.
TAKE ACTION‹TELL CONGRESS AND THE FCC TO STOP THE MEDIA DEREGULATION!
Please join United for Peace and Justice as we come together with Moveon.org, Media Alliance, CodePink and Global Exchange to say no to the Bush Administration¹s push to give free reign to the corporate media. We need to strengthen the media ownership rules, not eliminate them!
Go to http://www.moveon.org/stopthefcc to sign a petition to the FCC that will also be sent to your Congress members and Senators. We need thousands of people to sign this petition; this is our chance to speak out against media that puts corporate profit ahead of journalism and truth-telling!
In peace and solidarity,
Bill Fletcher Jr.
Co-chairs, United for Peace and Justice
BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON PROPOSED CHANGES TO MEDIA REGULATIONS
The following rules are being considered for modification or elimination by the FCC. A decision from the FCC is expected in early June 2003.
- Newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership prohibition. Prevents broadcast TV companies from buying newspapers in communities in which they have TV stations. (Practical effect: NBC cannot buy Gannett News Service)
- Local radio ownership limit. Limits the number of local radio stations that any one broadcaster can own in a single market. (Practical effect: right now Clear Channel can only own 8 stations in a local market.)
- National TV ownership limit. Limits the number of local broadcast stations any one broadcast company can own to systems serving 35% of the TV households in the U.S. (Practical effect: Prevents Viacom/CBS from buying anymore broadcast systems, because it currently owns systems that reach 41% of the public. Prevents Fox/Newscorp (Rupert Murdoch) from owning the other half.
- Local TV multiple ownership, aka “duopoly rule.” Allows a broadcast company to own two TV stations in the same market only if at least one of those stations is ranked below the top four stations and there are at least eight independently owned-and-operating, full-power and noncommercial television stations in that market. (Practical effect: Viacom/CBS can own PAX as long as PAX remains a low ranked station in that market.)
- Radio/TV Cross-Ownership restriction. Prevents one company from owning both a radio station and a television station in the same market. (Practical effect: Clear Channel cannot now own TV stations in markets where it owns radio stations. Disney/ABC cannot control radio and TV stations in the same market.)
For more information, see this article:
SHOWDOWN AT THE FCC (http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=15796) Jeffrey Chester and Don Hazen, AlterNet
Despite wide protests and the Clear Channel debacle, the FCC is about to award the nation's biggest media conglomerates a new give-away that will further concentrate media ownership in fewer hands. The impact on the American media landscape could be disastrous. Recent TV coverage of the Iraq war already illustrates that US media companies aren't interested in providing a serious range of analysis and debate. This overview describes what's at stake and offers an introduction to several other articles.