May 08, 2003 Media Issues Petition


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.


Please join United for Peace and Justice as we come together with, 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 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,

Andrea Buffa
Leslie Cagan
Bill Fletcher Jr.
Co-chairs, United for Peace and Justice


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 ( 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.

Posted by Brian Stefans at May 08, 2003 10:58 PM | TrackBack

The continued concentration of power in fewer hands will lead to the demise of the US as we know it. It is esential to continue the entrepreneurial society that has created the Untied States. If this happens it is in effect the restriction of economic freedom concentration of power to very few.

Posted by: Robert LaZebnik on May 14, 2003 11:11 AM

Please don't give a few companies mints to make lots of money without having any competition to insure quality programming and diversity of ideas. We'll all have to listen to Christina Aguilra and rap misic and interviews with Hollywood starlets if you do. This is lazy policy making on your part. You are paid to develop policy that serves our entire nation and protects our freedom, intellectual growth and culture. Thank you.

Posted by: jeanette hawkins on May 15, 2003 01:04 PM

Facism = Corporism

Posted by: Susan Houtkooper on May 16, 2003 12:56 AM

Prevent corporations from taking over America

Posted by: Paul Houtkooper on May 16, 2003 12:59 AM

we need competitive media.

Posted by: M Stengel on May 16, 2003 06:06 AM

"Sonny" Powell's plan to allow even more
consolidation of the media than now exists
is outrageous. Our democracy is in great
jeopardy already with Ashcroft's activities -
consolidation of media portends an even
greater assault on the public's access to
balanced information.
Emily Maloney

Posted by: Emily Maloney on May 16, 2003 12:08 PM

Allowing a few corporations to control the media is more than dangerous for this country it will lead to the destruction of this country as we used to know it.

Posted by: Sal J. Acevedo on May 17, 2003 12:15 AM

One of the strengths of these United States is the diversity of ownership of media of all kinds.
Whether print or electronic, media and the information, education and entertainment it provides should not be in the hands of the few.
Comptetion stimulates and checks costs,accuracy, access, diversity of opinion, and should be at the very heart of this democracy.

Posted by: Don Dhonau on May 17, 2003 12:21 AM

Dear Sirs and Madames,

Please let us not be so naive as to believe that
if allowed--private interests will remember to
keep the public's best interests at heart.
Please do not allow the control of our media to
fall under any fewer individuals or individual
corporate influences ...than has already happened.
Please protect what little diversity still exists
in our media.
I am concerned not only about profit-driven media
but also the issue of WHO is it that will decide
for me (and for all Americans) just what point
of view we should see and hear. We need
multiple points of view. Our very constitution
is already being undermined---DO NOT take this
acknowledge the greed and malice that lies in the
hearts of men. Do no do this to America!!

Posted by: E Massengill on May 17, 2003 02:54 PM

We need more diversity, not less in media programming. I am very concerned about the future of our liberties in the United States.

Posted by: Dolores Pancoast on May 28, 2003 12:47 PM

Please do not shrink American Democracy by tightening control on the media!

Posted by: Gloria Pace on May 30, 2003 08:31 PM

Please do not allow the fcc rules to change. freedom - our hard fought for freedom.fought and died for by many americans all over the world,could be lost with this change.IS THIS TRULY THE BEGINNING OF 1984?.THINK!!!!!PLEASE.

Posted by: lee stevens on June 1, 2003 05:02 PM

I am opposed to the new, revised FCC rules which allow further concentration of media ownership. We should have many voices from all shades of the spectrum providing the news. Shirley Conger

Posted by: shirley conger on September 8, 2003 07:05 PM

When our constitution was written the rights of American were many, but each day we are witnessing more and more of our right being taken. The media bill coming to congress is just another example of Americans on the verge of loosing yet another right to her more than just one opinion on our air waves. We need more diversity, not less in media programming. I am very concerned about the future of our liberties in the United States. Please do not shrink American Democracy by tightening control on the media. Thank you.

Posted by: Vincent D. Collins on September 9, 2003 10:49 AM

But variables get one benefit people do not

Posted by: Etheldreda on January 19, 2004 04:14 AM