Wipe that fucking smirk off your face you fat crooked bastard!
June 2, 2003 5:07 PM   Subscribe

Senators seek to reverse FCC ruling A bipartisan coalition of Senators intends to overturn the FCC's latest decree ordering greater corporate media consolidation. "I'm convinced, just noodling around, that we can get a majority vote and report that out (of committee) and get some action on the floor of the Senate," Hollings told reporters. Anyone else surprised?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly (47 comments total)
 
It's not really in the interests of either political party in the long run for the major media to be controlled by a small number of megacorps.
posted by moonbiter at 5:12 PM on June 2, 2003


And now Trent Lott and I are political allies! Maybe he and I can go grab a beer with Pat Buchanon.

* wraps chattering lips around cold steel barrel *
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 5:13 PM on June 2, 2003


And yet, somehow, life still goes on.
posted by Keyser Soze at 5:30 PM on June 2, 2003


Wow, now that's a thread title.
posted by solistrato at 5:55 PM on June 2, 2003


Its too bad no one has anything really meaningful to say about this, and that encapsulation includes me.
posted by Keyser Soze at 6:10 PM on June 2, 2003


Color my cynical, but I can't help but think that this is just damage control to help make up for the party-line votes on the issue itself.

That being said, I'd be very happy to be wrong. Come on repbulicans, please make me look like an asshole.
posted by mosch at 6:11 PM on June 2, 2003


It certainly is in the interest of the parties to have fat cats control media

If media is cut a pice of the pie, (and thats what this is ultimately) then they are inherently more inclined to support the staus quo, however corrupt it might be...

Nixon treated the 4th estate like the enemy and they fried him at the stake. 30 years later, this is the logical resolution.
posted by Fupped Duck at 6:13 PM on June 2, 2003


Billy Tauzin has been in the pocket of the broadcasters for a long time, so it's no surprise he'd try to work against this ruling, but Fritz "I Love Disney" Hollings?

This will be a token effort at best. If they *do* come up with a decent measure, it'll have no chance of passage, so they can say "We tried", but it's just as likely that they won't really put anything of substance together.

Here in Boston it's widely assumed that the local NBC affiliate is already on the auction block, and I'll bet all three major network affiliates are network-owned within a year (one already is).
posted by briank at 6:19 PM on June 2, 2003


Fer crying out loud, people...this relaxation of rules is a GOOD thing. If anyone, anywhere can point out a single factual reason why this will have negative consequences, I would love to hear about it.

Oh - and as Solistrato pointed out, that really is a whopper of a title up top...
posted by davidmsc at 6:28 PM on June 2, 2003


Let's see, how about a single media market where three television stations, eight radio stations, a newspaper AND the local cable franchise are all controlled by the SAME media company.

That's a negative consequence if you ask me, and not at all an unlikely scenario. Please tell me how this is about "diversity and competition".
posted by briank at 6:42 PM on June 2, 2003


davidmsc is somewhat right. the relaxation of rules can be a good thing.

please relax your own moral rules and steal as much content as you can from media companies. don't pay for anything associated with TV (ha), radio (right), newspapers (buy one, then leave the rest as free for everyone else), or movies (easy enough to sneak in). oh yeah, i forgot about music. let's keep killing that one with file sharing.

if they wanna play dirty, let's play dirty. might as well boycott all advertisers while we're at it.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:44 PM on June 2, 2003


From the Center for Public Integrity, the article Behind Closed Doors: Top Broadcasters Met 71 Times With FCC Officials is part of an in-depth review of the lobbying effort and the closed door nature of this process.

Also, Molly Ivins: FCC is a slave to the industry it is supposed ot regulate

The Public Integrity people examined the travel records of FCC employees and found that they have accepted 2,500 trips, costing nearly $2.8 million over the past eight years, paid for by the telecommunications and broadcast industries, which are, theoretically, "regulated" by the FCC. The industry-paid travel is on top of about $2 million a year in official travel paid for by taxpayers.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:16 PM on June 2, 2003


Wait, Senator Hollings is doing something GOOD for once?

Holy.

You see, for those of you who don't remember, Hollings was the guy responsible for the authoring of the proposed DMCA 2, which would mandate DRM in ALL digital devices of any kind. As a person who puts civil liberties first and foremost above all else, he's the one politician I consider more wholly anti-American than John Ashcroft, which is saying a hell of a lot.

Nice to see he's doing something useful at the moment. This doesn't make up for his former proposal in the least, of course (nothing short of outright crucifixtion on the capital dome would), but it's a damned nice gesture all the same.
posted by Ryvar at 7:20 PM on June 2, 2003


Fer crying out loud, people...this relaxation of rules is a GOOD thing. If anyone, anywhere can point out a single factual reason why this will have negative consequences, I would love to hear about it.

As far as I know, there is only one argument in favor of looser regulations of the broadcast spectrum in local markets. Namely, the problem is that stockholders of media conglomerates aren't making as much money as they could if they were able to buy out more local radio and television stations.

And, frankly, I really couldn't care less about them. It's public spectrum. It's there for the public good in my neighborhood. It is not there for the good of some shareholders of a media company in some city far away that feel the need to expand their feudal estate of spectrum licenses. Cry me a river.
posted by deanc at 7:21 PM on June 2, 2003


One reason this is a bad thing? I can tell you in one word: radio.

God, what a shithole that medium is. I can't wait until newspapers and tv go the same route. Then I'll have an excuse for apathy w/r/t world and local events.

Oh, and what madamjujujive said.
posted by amery at 7:27 PM on June 2, 2003


Fer crying out loud, people...this relaxation of rules is a GOOD thing. If anyone, anywhere can point out a single factual reason why this will have negative consequences, I would love to hear about it.

Here is one very real example. But for me, the more comelling reasons are more abstract:

1. media consolidation is antidemocratic. This isn't just some sort of value decision. The free press is as important to checks and balances as the separation of powers. The FCC was created to insure a diversity of viewpoints, which is important to democracy. Deregulation kills this.

2. These companies do not adequately perform the public service responsibilities incumbent on broadcasters. Loosening the rules can not help.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 8:14 PM on June 2, 2003


Anyone else surprised?

Count me in. Maybe it is just a meaningless gesture destined to go down in flames so they could say "we tried" - BUT if so, why do it at all? The PR strategy worked, and today came and went, and the vote went through, without most Americans having even the slightest idea that anything whatsoever was going on (except those of us who still listen to Garrison Keillor, who's been on a low-key tear). So why stir up the waters at all? Odd.
posted by soyjoy at 8:17 PM on June 2, 2003


Fer crying out loud, people...this relaxation of rules is a GOOD thing. If anyone, anywhere can point out a single factual reason why this will have negative consequences, I would love to hear about it.

Perhaps davidmsc or anyone else can now have a turn and try to explain how this abomination of a ruling is, in fact, the aforementioned good thing he suggests? Because I'm getting headaches trying to find a silver lining myself.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:18 PM on June 2, 2003


Opposition to this thing crosses all boundaries; even members of the media conglomerates themselves have come out against it. And outside the industry, Powell himself is very nearly the only person who wants this. I've a suspicion it's because he quite sensibly doesn't expect to be FCC Chairman forever and is making himself a very soft bed in the communications industry to lie in afterward. How's that for being a public servant? How much do we actually pay this guy to flout his responsibility to hundreds of millions of Americans and serve his own interests?
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:27 PM on June 2, 2003


Fer crying out loud, people...this relaxation of rules is a GOOD thing. If anyone, anywhere can point out a single factual reason why this will have negative consequences, I would love to hear about it.

Funny, I would like to hear some compelling arguments about why it will be beneficial to the public... without resorting to the dogmatic "deregulation is good" mantra.
posted by pmurray63 at 8:33 PM on June 2, 2003


The FCC used to be stalwart supporters of the public interest, with Newton Minnow as champion. It's quite sad to see that they've since conspired with corporate conglomerates, placing control of the media into the hands of a slecect oligarchy.

On a side note, it's important to remember that not all of today's news is bad. Though is doesn't amount to much, the FCC ruling did - albeit ever so slightly - curb the beast that is ClearChannel. They're quite unhappy [pdf].

The above is a condensed version of a rant posted at my personal site, should you be interested in reading more.
posted by aladfar at 8:47 PM on June 2, 2003


Welcome To Planet Clear Channel

With Your Host Carson Daly
posted by shadow45 at 8:49 PM on June 2, 2003


three television stations, eight radio stations, a newspaper AND the local cable franchise
Watching you old-media addicts piss all over yourselves is so much fun. ;-P
posted by mischief at 9:19 PM on June 2, 2003


Watching you old-media addicts piss all over yourselves is so much fun. ;-P

i know that you were joking, but you kind of pointed out the irony that lies behind this whole issue: the only people who knew about this decision, and were able to oppose it, ahead of time were people who do use alternative and international media to be informed. It is like we are all just concerned about everyone else. I don't watch TV, save for a little PBS now and again, so why do I have this hollow feeling in my gut today? I guess it is because people like my parents and Joe Schmoe just saw a huge decrease in their likelihoods of becoming somehow accidentally informed or exposed to a healthy variety in points of view.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 9:27 PM on June 2, 2003


Uh, yeah mischief, you've nailed it. Apart from you, with your special secret knowledge, people who post at www.metafilter.com are unacquainted with the web.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:34 PM on June 2, 2003


In case this interests anyone, by the way, here's a searchable archive of everything ClearChannel owns.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:19 PM on June 2, 2003


HL: Iggy got it; Spiggot not
posted by mischief at 11:33 PM on June 2, 2003




nice juxtaposition, trondant.

Here is the transcript of Powell's appearance on the News Hour tonight.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 12:31 AM on June 3, 2003


I have over 250 stations to choose from and I still can't find anything to watch!
posted by ZupanGOD at 12:43 AM on June 3, 2003


Long live college radio.
posted by alumshubby at 3:52 AM on June 3, 2003


And RIP, low-power TV. The Hundt FCC effectively killed LPTV a few years back.
posted by Vidiot at 6:14 AM on June 3, 2003


... why do I have this hollow feeling in my gut today? I guess it is because people ... just saw a huge decrease in their likelihoods of becoming ... exposed to a healthy variety in points of view.

And maybe that such uninformed or misinformed people will then vote.
posted by moonbiter at 6:23 AM on June 3, 2003


How about a giant double cross? The oligopoly that is currently big media is protected from antitrust because there are a *few* of them, and they cultivate politicians, political groups and factions.
But, if they get into a giant fist fight over hostile grabs of each other's turf, eventually there will be only one or two companies, forcing the US and other governments, and plain economics, to break them up.
This would seem to be in Powell's CATO Institute philosophy that "there is no such thing as a bad monopoly that lasts."

But of course, if Powell and CATO are wrong...
posted by kablam at 6:25 AM on June 3, 2003


eventually there will be only one or two companies, forcing the US and other governments, and plain economics, to break them up.

It reads like the Micro$oft case ... oh, wait. Don't count on the "free market" crowd to break anything up. They are actually more like "big money" in disguise and will criticize such measures as obsolete left-leaning nonsense. Just plain NOT good for everyone involved, specially them and their country-club pals. And the market too, of course.
posted by magullo at 7:25 AM on June 3, 2003


Well this is interesting. In the transcript of the News Hour, Powell states, In recent years, a majority of Americans have now moved to pay television. Eighty-seven percent of all Americans get their news, entertainment and information from cable or satellite... that has caused an increasing fragmentation of viewers and medium-supported solely by advertising increasingly is looking for opportunities in order to ensure their competitiveness with cable.

Ok, fine. I admit that while I do not agree with the FCC's decision, the spin Powell puts on the situation is certainly a compelling argument in favor of increased television consolidation. However, in the case of radio, this has not happened at all. There is no "cable radio" (XM, yes, but that is much more recent and hardly anyone I know has it) that is forcing broadcast radio to become more competitive. In fact, Americans generally have less variety on radio than they did before.

So how can Powell justify his stance on deregulating the TV airwaves while at the same time not increase regulations on the radio spectrum?
posted by deanc at 7:26 AM on June 3, 2003


Davidmsc is absolutely right. Why can't anyone see this is actually a good thing?

By now, of course, we’ve all come to expect excellent coverage of the things that really matter to us — Hyper-Lotto, new food products, U.S. military victories, sex scandals, and the latest episodes of “Triage”™, “Thugs”™, or “Makeover”™. Most of us cannot recall the vast wasteland that was TV news, with its confusing and irrelevant accounts, its slow and talky style. In 2000, for example, the average sound-bite was 7.3 seconds — long enough for a complex sentence or long jingle. Today’s average sound-bite is a pithy 1.3. Sometimes a simple grunt or snicker makes the point.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 9:00 AM on June 3, 2003




As pmurray63 suggested above, grrarrgh00, please tell us why it's a good thing -- Miller's column doesn't exactly address how loosening regs on big media companies (tm, as he puts it) will make the media landscape any better...nor does he explain how relaxed rules will compel companies to serve the public interest, as they are mandated to do.
posted by Vidiot at 9:21 AM on June 3, 2003


I just assumed it would be in the interest of any real conservative to want more competition, not less. Doesn't the whole idea of market self-regulation and pricing rest on the precept of a high level of competition not just at the bottom but throughout the entire market? So how is something that reduces competition drastically capitalist? Sounds to me like socialism for the rich. But maybe I'm just stupid.
posted by luriete at 9:57 AM on June 3, 2003


Great quote, specialk420. What an arrogant man.

The legislature reflects in a much better than the commission does the will of the majority of Americans. And I think that if a majority of Americans have a strongly held enough view about a different kind of regulatory environment, it's healthy to allow the legislator to create that environment.


That last sentence is blowing my mind! Is he saying that the Senate should overturn this? He only made this decision a few hours before those statements, did he change his mind that fast? It sounds like he is saying the following: "We were fully aware that we were contravening the will of the American people, and if they can fix it with their congress, fine. But we had to take a shot."

Even Powell himself speaks of being (at least nominally) opposed to greater consolidation of media. Thus I really don't think that there is anyone, left or right, who could argue in favor of greater consolidation. The area of dispute seems to be whether or not this round of deregulation will allow for greater consolidation (yeah, right).

Does anyone actually believe that Powell thinks that this will not further concentrate major-market media? This is disingeuous Hooverian cronyism.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:04 AM on June 3, 2003


disingenuous is a word, however.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:04 AM on June 3, 2003


"The legislature reflects in a much better than the commission does the will of the majority of Americans. " - michael powell

Actually, he's just mis-quoting Federalist 10. The correct quote is:

"...it may well happen that the public voice, pronounced by the representatives of the people, will be more consonant to the public good than if pronounced by the people themselves, convened for the purpose."
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:23 AM on June 3, 2003


Vidiot, you didn't exactly read that article I posted, now did you?
posted by grrarrgh00 at 10:46 AM on June 3, 2003


Vidiot, you didn't exactly read that article I posted, now did you?

I somehow doubt that he did. Hee hee. I'll stop commenting in this thread now (self-link).
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:11 PM on June 3, 2003


Many, many apologies. Shouldn't read while distracted at work.

Plus Miller's writing has *always* irritated me.
posted by Vidiot at 8:13 PM on June 3, 2003




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