Friday, October 26, 2007

Congress to FCC: Don’t Rush Media Consolidation

According to an article by Shawn Chang from, Congress intensified its efforts to slow down the FCC's rush to gut media ownership rules. Chang said that members of the house and senate have focused their attention towards FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, and he said that "Thursday, more than 40 members of the House joined Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) in a letter Martin asking the Commission to 'resolve significant shortcomings in [the agency’s] plan regarding accountability, transparency, and scientific integrity' within the current media ownership proceeding."

Apparently, Martin has no intention of listening to the people's testimonies received during the past few years of public hearings, and he apparently plans to allow the gutting of media ownership rules in favor of conglomerates. If we live in a democracy, then how can it be that such a monstrosity can occur? How can the will of the people be so blatantly ignored?

Regarding the letter sent to Martin, Chang reveals, "The letter was prompted by last week’s revelation that Martin secretly circulated a timeline that would complete the current media ownership proceeding by mid-December, even though the FCC hasn’t completed a series of public hearings, addressed the dismal state of female and minority media ownership, or explained its shoddy and slanted research."

This is nothing short of appalling, and it brings to mind a quote by author Glenn Smith from his book entitled, "The Politics of Deceit: Saving Freedom and Democracy from Extinction," where he wrote:

"When freedom as we define it here becomes irrelevant to the machinations of government, why would government take steps to protect freedom? As expected, we find that elected leaders exaggerate the symbols and rhetoric of freedom while individual liberties are curtailed. American flags fly at every political event. Bells of liberty ring, patriotic music plays. While we are distracted, the political pickpockets go to work” (Smith 38).

What can be said about a federal agency that disregards its' responsiblities of protecting the public interest. In any other job, employees that defy their employers will usually find themselves unemployeed. How can it be that Chairman Martin is beyond reproach? Smith believes that with the Internet, there is hope in resisting the imposed policies of corrupt and unethical politicians:

"The Internet is a tool that is fast becoming maximally usable to its users.
This renewed participatory sphere is restoring citizens’ abilities to resist. It is resuscitating democracy and freedom. When citizens are engaged in conversations with one another about, say, the pros and cons of the Patriot Act, it is less likely that the manipulations of one leader or party will be as effective as they otherwise might be" (Smith 39).