Please share this action alert from Free Press. As part of their “10-year strategy to expand their corporate power,” the Koch Brothers now want to buy the last remaining real newspapers in America in order to have a “national media presence.” If you think this is not an urgent situation because you rely on the internet for news, realize that most of the news you get off the internet originates at a newspaper. When they are gone, or when they are controlled by right wing billionaires, what then?
What do you get two billionaire brothers who already have everything?
Over the years, Charles and David Koch have financed a vast organizing network, including Americans for Prosperity, that amplifies their extreme anti-environment, anti-labor and anti-democracy views.
They’ve bankrolled a constellation of think tanks, including the Cato Institute, the Heartland Institute and the Mercatus Center, which churn out research designed to prop up the Kochs’ position that corporations should not be regulated.
But that isn’t enough for the Koch brothers. According to the New York Times, the Kochs want a national media presence as well. The bankrupt Tribune Company is selling its eight daily newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times, and the Kochs are eyeing the purchase as part of a “10-year strategy” to expand their corporate power into politics.
“The first two pieces of the strategy — educating grassroots activists and influencing politics — were not surprising, given the money they have given to policy institutes and political action groups,” writes the Times. “But the third one was: media.”
The Tribune deal would put the Allentown Morning Call, the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune, the Hartford Courant, the Los Angeles Times, the Newport Daily Press, the Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in the Koch brothers’ hands.
That’s especially bad news for anyone living in the communities these papers serve.
American humorist and writer Peter Finnley Dunne wrote that journalism’s central purpose is “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” But Koch-controlled media outlets would likely cover up corporate and political abuse — not expose it.
By taking action, you’re telling the Tribune Company to put these influential newspapers in the hands of someone — or, better yet, several different someones — who will promote quality journalism. That’s not the Koch brothers. And it’s not Rupert Murdoch, either.
We need journalism that serves communities, not extremist agendas. We need media owners who will encourage their reporters to expose corporate and government wrongdoing. Charles and David Koch are more interested in serving their own interests than in providing the news and reporting that people need.
“Brothers and sisters, we are winning fights every day… Media reform has never been about media. Media reform is about those wonderful lines in the first amendment of the Constitution where it says that we have a right to a free press in this country. That right was not written into the Constitution so that Rupert Murdoch could do whatever he wants. That right was written into the Constitution so that the people of this country would have the information they need to make informed decisions and to run their own affairs. Freedom of the press is the underpinning of Democracy. We are not a media reform movement. We are a Democracy movement.” Watch.
Julius Genachowski is resigning as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He probably did the best he could during his tenure, considering the shark environment in Washington, but he just wasn’t up to resisting corporate pressure as much as media reform activists would have liked. So it is time now for a public interest minded FCC chair in the tradition of Michael Copps or Nicholas Johnson. Some say Susan Crawford, author of Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly in the New Guilded Age, could be that someone. [There has been speculation about possible replacements. Mignon Clyburn, who will be the senior Democrat on the Commission, has also been mentioned]. Now is the time to influence the president’s choice. This is a short video of Susan Crawford’s remarks at the National Conference on Media Reform 2013 held in Denver last weekend.
If you can’t make it to Denver, never fear: You can watch the conference live from your home, your office, your favorite Internet café … whatever works for you. Free Press is partnering with Free Speech TV to livestream various conference sessions and plenaries. Democracy Now! will also host the stream on its site.
During breaks in coverage, Free Speech TV will present interviews with speakers — including comedian Jamie Kilstein, Colorlines.com news editor Jamilah King, Nation correspondent John Nichols and Middle East reporter Vivian Salama — in our conference studio.
Here are the sessions we will feature in our livestream. [For BFIA, all times have been converted to Central Time.]
Fri., April 5
11–12:30 a.m.: More Diversity, Less Consolidation: How to Change the Media
2:30–4 p.m.: From Billionaires to Big Media: Democracy Up for Grabs
4:30–6:30 p.m.: Opening Plenary: Learning from Our Past, Looking to the Future
Sat., April 6
10–11:30 a.m.: This Conversation Is Being Recorded
12 p.m.–1:30 p.m.: Independent Journalism on War, Conflict and Human Rights
3–4:30 p.m.: Exposing ALEC: How Corporate Special Interests Control State Legislatures
5–6:30 p.m.: Covering Race in the Time of Obama
8:30–11 p.m.: Keynote: Celebrating Our Media Moment
Sun., April 7
10–11:30 a.m.: Go Ahead, Laugh: Comedy for Breakfast
12 apm.–1:30 p.m.: Closing Plenary: A Roadmap for Change
Follow us online at conference.freepress.net. Hop on Twitter and join in the conversation using #NCMR13.
There’s still time to register for the National Conference on Media Reform that will happen in Denver, April 5-7. Blog for Iowa attended in 2007 in Memphis and was part of a panel on How To Challenge A Broadcast License which Iowans For Better Local TV did in 2005.
Below is a short list of this year’s presenters. For more info. and to register, click here.
Michael Copps, Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, Robert McChesney, John Nichols, Eli Pariser, Marvin Ammori, David Sirota, Jeff Cohen, Lisa Graves, and more… (click here for complete list)
Email the FCC Commissioners to Express Support for this Proposal:
Chairman Julius Genachowski: Julius.Genachowski@fcc.gov
Commissioner Robert McDowell: Robert.McDowell@fcc.gov
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn: Mignon.Clyburn@fcc.gov
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel: Jessica.Rosenworcel@fcc.gov
Commissioner Ajit Pai: Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov
Here’s the story as reported on Dailykos
Imagine telling AT&T you’re done with dropped calls, or telling T-Mobile you’re done with slow data. Yes, elections matter, and the FCC is proposing something spectacular for Americans…assuming that mobile phone operators don’t kill the mammoth proposal:
The federal government wants to create super WiFi networks across the nation, so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cellphone bill every month.
The proposal from the Federal Communications Commission has rattled the $178 billion wireless industry, which has launched a fierce lobbying effort to persuade policymakers to reconsider the idea, analysts say. That has been countered by an equally intense campaign from Google, Microsoft and other tech giants who say a free-for-all WiFi service would spark an explosion of innovations and devices that would benefit most Americans, especially the poor.
The airwaves that FCC officials want to hand over to the public would be much more powerful than existing WiFi networks that have become common in households. They could penetrate thick concrete walls and travel over hills and around trees. If all goes as planned, free access to the Web would be available in just about every metropolitan area and in many rural areas.
Think about it — how often do you actually use your smartphone to make phone calls or texts now anyway? For many folks, particularly the younger set, smartphones are about data, data, and data. They use Skype to make calls, Whatsapp to send texts, and Facebook to stay in touch — all on data. This is why the likes of AT&T now force Americans to purchase unlimited texts and phone minutes — or otherwise face outrageous per-text or per-minute fees — because the wireless companies realize that Americans are really carrying around small computers in this day and age — the ‘phone’ is only an inconsequential ‘app’ at the bottom of your screen.
This is a Big Ducking Deal, folks:
The new WiFi networks would also have much farther reach, allowing for a driverless car to communicate with another vehicle a mile away or a patient’s heart monitor to connect to a hospital on the other side of town.
If approved by the FCC, the free networks would still take several years to set up. And, with no one actively managing them, connections could easily become jammed in major cities. But public WiFi could allow many consumers to make free calls from their mobile phones via the Internet. The frugal-minded could even use the service in their homes, allowing them to cut off expensive Internet bills.
“For a casual user of the Web, perhaps this could replace carrier service,” said Jeffrey Silva, an analyst at the Medley Global Advisors research firm. “Because it is more plentiful and there is no price tag, it could have a real appeal to some people.”
Unsurprisingly, this is a policy move that would benefit both the wealthiest Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs and the poorest individuals in America’s cities and rural areas:
Designed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the plan would be a global first. When the U.S. government made a limited amount of unlicensed airwaves available in 1985, an unexpected explosion in innovation followed. Baby monitors, garage door openers and wireless stage microphones were created. Millions of homes now run their own wireless networks, connecting tablets, game consoles, kitchen appliances and security systems to the Internet.
“Freeing up unlicensed spectrum is a vibrantly free-market approach that offers low barriers to entry to innovators developing the technologies of the future and benefits consumers,” Genachowski said in a an e-mailed statement.
Some companies and cities are already moving in this direction. Google is providing free WiFi to the public in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan and parts of Silicon Valley.
Cities support the idea because the networks would lower costs for schools and businesses or help vacationers easily find tourist spots. Consumer advocates note the benefits to the poor, who often cannot afford high cellphone and Internet bills.
This is a policy that could transform American competitiveness and create thousands of new jobs, as well as diminishing the burden of outrageous wireless phone bills on poor Americans. Waiting for the GOP to cry ‘socialism’ in 3,2,1…
Michael Copps is a former FCC Commissioner who has been a champion of media policy in the public interest. Some have called him the Howard Beal of the FCC – mad as hell and not going to take it anymore. He is currently the media director at Common Cause and is taking his public interest campaign to the people.
You can listen to a 17-minute radio interview where he lays out his case that all (yes, he said all) of the nation’s dilemmas can be solved if we have media policy – including internet policy – with the public interest in mind. Below is some text from the program.
Seismic change comes from the grassroots up and we need to start a national dialogue about our news and media infrastructure.
We have dumbed down civic dialogue and have made bad decisions for the future of the country. We need a dialogue informed by facts not opinion..driven by hard journalism not bloviation…this is vital to our future.
FCC cannot guarantee outcomes but we must start taking steps toward reform. We must stop saying yes to every merger and acquisition that comes before the commission. Instead of eviscerating the public interest guidelines that we used to have for licenses, we have to start having guidelines. We have to say no to mergers.
This is not just about traditional media. My fear is that the internet is going down the very same road the traditional media went down with more and more consolidation. Most of the news on the internet, 90-95%, is still coming from the newspaper and television newsroom but there is so much less of it because they have been so eviscerated. Thousands of reporters are walking the streets looking for jobs when they should be walking the beat investigating stories.
It would be so tragic when you have something so expansive and dynamic as broadband and the internet, to let that be cable-ized, to let that be populated by tool booth operators and gatekeepers. It would be a denial of one of the greatest opportunities we have. We have this one media eco-system and it is part traditional media and partly new media, which does not have a model for sustained investigative journalism yet. We have to fix both of those and we have to encourage the public interest on both of those.
Can the FCC help?
You can’t get into dictating content but you can have some public interest obligations…Since the lack now is investigative news, when that license comes up you can say, how much are you doing on news now, compared to what you did last time? It is 8 years now between license renewals, which is ridiculous; it used to be 3. It’s called post card renewal. No guidelines. We used to have guidelines, such as, are you reaching out and talking to members of your diverse community about the programming they’d like to see? We used to require this. Now the owners no longer live in the community, they live thousands of miles away and they have no idea what the community wants.
We still have section 315. The FCC has it still within its province to act tomorrow, without any further legislative authority, to have some public interest guidelines – newscentric, diversity oriented, make sure every station has a public safety plan, reasonable things like that. In return for getting a license to use the people’s airwaves – and always remember that there is not a spectrum in this country that is owned by anybody other than the people of the United States…it is a public resource – and stations are licensed to be good stewards of it - if they serve the public interest, convenience and necessity, a term which occurs 112 times in the Communications Act. We have to start being serious about that. The media is a precious resource because that’s where our national conversation and our civic dialogue occurs. If we can’t figure out how to make that serve the public interest amidst all of the crying problems this country has, we are shooting ourselves in the face.
Most of the money raised in the course of the campaign goes back to the media. I think people are frustrated by these anonymous super-ads that are brought to you by “purple mountain majesty or amber waves of grain or committee for mom and apple pie”…and you don’t have a clue if that’s a chemical company refusing to clean up a toxic dump site or who is sponsoring that ad…
I am convinced that the FCC has the authority to dig much deeper and demand fuller disclosure of ads. There is a specific part of the Telecommunications Act, Section 317 – Sponsorshp Identification - that says that people have the right to be fully and fairly informed about who is trying to persuade them. I have been pushing the FCC to assert this authority…specifically for network television, radio and cable. We don’t need congress to pass a new bill. The FCC has that authority and it’s a no brainer, why don’t we give that a try.
People understand that something is amiss. They also understand that something is wrong with the news when we hear more about a campaign from the ad than local news. I aim to use that as an issue to engage in a national dialogue on the future of our news and media infrastructure and the future of our civic dialogue.
Court case coming up on net neutrality which would establish toll lanes
…very important case, probably decided by summer. Will internet freedom survive? If the court doesn’t agree with the FCC, we need to clarify that internet transmission falls squarely under the rubrick of Telecommunications, Title 2, where obligations are clear and understandable rather than the nebulous world of Title 3. It’s vitally important. We have this opportunity that can address all of the problems this country has. To allow it to be cable-ized would be a tragedy of historic proportions. (11:14)
Can the market do all of this?
Government and private sector have always partnered. We’re lagging in the central infrastructure of the 21st century. How do we get out of the hole if we don’t have the infrastructure to support it? How does a small rural business owner start up with only dial up? How about a kid in the inner city or rural community, how to do research for school with dial up? Just as important as highways and railroads. Without investment we’re not going to have productivity, won’t live up to our potential.
Where is President Obama on this issue?
President Obama has talked about broadband, infrastructure, net neutrality. He has said it but you have to make it a fight. On some of the media issues he has talked about as a candidate. He has written letters to the FCC and has talked about the need for less media consolidation and reassertion of the public interest. My feeling is that now this is his final term, they were important commitments that were made and they go to the heart of some of the dilemmas facing our country. It’s time to move forward on those commitments.
Soon the FCC will be talking about auctioning off old TV spectrum to internet
We need more spectrum for wireless. There will be a transition. You have to have a balanced approach. If this ends up as an exercise that simply takes large swaths of broadcast spectrum for big broadcasters and turns it over to big telecom carriers, duopoloy carriers – that’s not in the public interest. You can’t just turn over all of the megahertz without having a plan to make sure that women and minorities have a piece of the action.
Telecommunications Act 78 years ago said to
“make available as far as possible to all of the people of the United States without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex, rapid, efficient, nationwide and worldwide wire and radio communications, adequate facilites at reasonable charges.”
That’s the FCC’s mission.
One of the big complaints while the Republican Party rose is that the media was behind them 100%. Well I am here to say that it is only about 98%. We do actually have a small corner of the media. You have to search for them, but when you find them it is so satisfying. And there is some presence on cable TV. Again, kind of hard to find, but so satisfying when you do.
So let’s see if you are at all familiar with the folks who populate that little liberal corner of the media. (hint: the name Limbaugh will not be spoken here)
1) Let’s start with this guy who is no longer on the air, but when he was he commanded a loyal following. However, there are some feelings he is a prima donna. Former ESPN broadcaster and once the anchor of the MSNBC nightly lineup, this liberal TV personality is:
2) Former Rhodes Scholar from San Franciso, she used to do a very early morning show for Air America. She slowly worked her way into a spot on MSNBC’s evening lineup. Known for her thorough preparation and a real talent for making a story very understandable, this woman is:
3) Want a laugh? This daughter of a former Republican vice-presidential candidate from New York hosts a fast paced morning show that is full of jokes, voice imitations and rotating comedian co-hosts. Any idea who this liberal radio talker is?
4) Listening to this guy’s afternoon show is almost like taking a course in political science. Doing a simulcast on radio and Free Speech TV, this host takes on opposing guests and callers and blows them away with facts.
5) Here’s an easy one. This former Air America talker talked his way into a senate seat a few years back, even though it did take a while for his victory to finally be acknowledged. He is also a veteran of network TV, he is …..
6) Want some real straight talk from this Air Force veteran? Give a listen in the afternoon and she will tell it like it is in no uncertain terms. She is from Florida and her name is?
7) Former chair of the California Democratic Party, this early morning talker does a simulcast on radio and Current TV. His show comes out of Washington, D.C. where he is able to get many elected Democrats to come on and give the real low down.
8) This big redhead who hails from the plains of North Dakota is a former republican who was converted by his wife. You could listen as his views changed during his early radio years. Now he hosts a daily 3 hour call in show on the radio and an hour at night on MSNBC. We all call him……
9) The founder and lead voice on DemocracyNow!, she is a thorn in the side of those in power. Not sure if she is a liberal, but if you want to be informed you need to catch her broadcast on one of many broadcast outlets or on Free Speech TV. She is….
10) Recently, this CNN newscaster has come into her own asking tough questions of those in power. Not sure if she is a liberal, but it is so rare to see news people asking tough questions to politicians (including Terry Branstad) on her early morning news show.
Well, I left some good folks out here, but I just wanted to show that if you look you can find some good liberals out there to let us know what is really happening.I usually listen to WCPT in Chicago (http://www.chicagoprogressivetalk.com/) or KTNF in Minneapolis (http://www.am950radio.com/)
So who are these people?
1) Keith Olbermann – couldn’t leave him out
2) Rachel Maddow
3) Stephanie Miller – daughter of Goldwater’s VP candidate William Miller
4) Thom Hartmann
5) Al Franken
6) Randi Rhodes
7) Bill Press
8) Big Eddy – Ed Schultz
9) Amy Goodman
10) Soledad O’Brien
Friday’s FCC vote to expand community radio was a great holiday gift, but now the FCC is trying to leave something much worse in our stockings: more media consolidation.
The FCC wants to gut the 30-year-old “cross-ownership” rule, designed to prevent one media company from controlling too much of the news in any city. With the rule gone, one company will be allowed to own a daily newspaper, two TV stations and up to eight radio stations in your town. (That one company could be your Internet provider, too.)
Our only hope is that FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel will oppose the rules. If they do, we believe that FCC Chairman Genachowski will back down.
Prometheus is joining with Free Press and the Center for Media Justice in a national call-in day of action today, Tuesday, Dec 4.
Please join us by calling these Commissioners and asking them to stand up for a democratic, diverse media system! Your call should take less than a minute.
Commissioner Mignon Clyburn – (202) 418-2100
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel – (202) 418-2400
Tell the staff person your name, where you’re calling from, and your organization or station if you have one. You can borrow from the text below, and it’s especially helpful if you can make your comments local, personal and concrete.
Be sure to end your call by asking the Commissioner to stand up for media justice and vote no on the media ownership proposal. And don’t forget to thank the staffer!
Some “talking points” you can use in your call:
We can’t afford more media consolidation: Relaxing cross-ownership will put too much media power in the hands of too few people and will mean less local news in our cities and towns.
This rule change will hurt media diversity: The number of TV and radio stations owned by women and people of color will go down as small stations get bought by larger companies
The FCC should involve the public in the process: When the Bush FCC first tried to push through the same bad rules they held seven public hearings. Chairman Genachowski hasn’t even revealed his whole proposal.
Thank for your help in saving our media!
The Prometheus Radio Project
More press and information about the FCC proposal:
Statement from Free Press
Change for the Worse infographic: FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s Media-Monopolization Policies vs. Former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s Failed Consolidation Proposals
Huffington Post op-ed: Why Is the Obama FCC Plotting a Massive Giveaway to Rupert Murdoch?
New America Media op-ed: FCC Abandons Media Diversity
On Friday, November 16, Dial Global took a huge financial hit, resulting in the company voluntarily de-listing from NASDAQ. Dial Global’s stock dropped by nearly 77 percent. The company identified three causes for its troubles, including “advertisers’ response to controversial statements by a certain nationally syndicated talk radio personality in MARCH 2012.
The Rush Limbaugh Show is distributed to 600 radio stations via several radio industry networks. The show is syndicated by privately-held Premiere Networks, which contracts with Cumulus Media, Dial Gobal, and other networks to secure broad access in as many media markets as possible.
Now, it is becoming apparent that Cumulus is also a troubled company. Dial Gobal appears to be on the ropes; Cumulus is, so far, failing to thrive. Both companies have publicly blamed Rush.”
The Cumulus Media stock price has fallen steadily since Rush Limbaugh attacked Sandra Fluke. Advertisers have boycotted the talk show, costing the radio networks millions of dollars. Clear Channel, the parent of Premiere Networks, is $21 billion in debt. The Toledo Blade reported Sunday that Clear Channel is quietly trimming staff. Clear Channel has been strategically firing employees in small numbers so it doesn’t appear that the company is undergoing large-scale layoffs… it would have looked bad for Mr. Romney if his former company fired Clear Channel’s workers en masse. This comes after a Clear Channel layoff in March.
Help this along. Join the Flush Rush activist group on Facebook:
According to the Flush Rush FB page:
Flush rush exists for one purpose: to deprive Rush Limbaugh of advertiser revenue.
The heart of our effort is our small team of volunteers who update the Stop Rush database.
If you join us, it’s important to understand what we do, and what we want
you to do!
1- We monitor Rush.
2 – We record his sponsors in the database at http://stoprush.net
3 – We create action threads in this Flush Rush fight group, and in our advanced group, one thread per sponsor.
4 – Then we invite YOU to contact those sponsors with a friendly message like this: “Hi, your ads are running on the Rush Limbaugh Show. Thought you’d like to know.”
Seventy percent of Rush Limbaugh’s sponsors DON’T KNOW they are sponsoring him, so many drop sponsorship immediately! With each drop, Rush is one step closer to the door.
Here’s Stop Rush database: http://stoprush.net/rush_limbaugh_sponsor_list