Earlier this week, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin pushed ahead with his plans to change the FCC’s media consolidation rules—over objection of the masses at public hearings like the recent one in Seattle.
Martin’s move comes on the heels of Congressional hearings where lawmakers, both Democratic and Republican, took Martin to the woodshed over the plan itself, over his rush to move forward with it, over a tin ear that cannot hear the voice of the people, for his process seemingly designed to suppress public opinion (like announcing the Seattle hearings five days in advance), and because he published an op-ed piece written (and probably submitted) before the Seattle hearing. “My folks in Seattle believe that they were treated like a bunch of chumps“, scolded Rep. Jay Inslee.
The objections of the people and Congress were for naught:
The Federal Communications Commission voted on Tuesday to loosen media ownership restrictions in the 20 biggest U.S. cities, despite objections from consumer groups and a threat by some U.S. senators to revoke the action.
The FCC voted 3-2, along party lines, to ease the 32-year-old ban on ownership of a newspaper and broadcast outlet in a single market.
Perhaps Martin felt safe in giving us—the people—the finger, but when you give Congress the finger you might just find a foot planted in your crotch. Readers don’t generally expect many positive references to Rep. Dave Reichert here at HA but, considering this issue resulted in Goldy writing a post titled I heart Frank Blethen, that I am about to cite Reichert’s web site shows you just how powerful and bipartisan this issue really is.
That’s right…Reichert is one of the good guys in this battle. As a gesture of gratitude (or maybe something more like a Pavlovian reward) I’ll quote this fabulous press release from Reichert:
Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-08) joined Congressman Jay Inslee (D-WA) today in introducing the Media Ownership Act, legislation that will counter the damaging rule handed down by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to allow consolidation of media companies. The legislation would prevent the FCC’s hurried rule from becoming law by requiring more time for public comment and changing the timeframe for proposed revisions to be published. It would also go into effect retroactively, back to October 1, 2007.
“This legislation changes technical provisions but is simple in its message and effects,” said Reichert. “We want local media to remain local, diverse and free. I’m pleased to join with Jay Inslee to counter the damage that this ruling could bring. I’m not only disappointed in their ruling today, but also the process in which it came about. Last month when the FCC held one of the rushed public hearings in Seattle, I spoke out, calling for retention of the current rules. Relaxing restrictions does not serve our citizens, and would lead to the detriment of localism and diversity that we still enjoy. We’re taking swift action to hopefully prevent these changes from affecting our communities and the families at home. I respect the free market and want a marketplace that allows corporations to operate as freely as possible. However, I believe it is a role of government to stand between corporations and consumers when the public interest is at stake. I will continue to do what I can to maintain a diverse, free and unbiased source of news for my constituents and across this nation.”
Specifically, the legislation would:
- Require the FCC to publish any proposed revisions to its media ownership rules at least 90 days prior to a vote.
- Require at least 60 days for public comment and the FCC must respond to these comments within 30 days.
- Require the FCC to complete a separate proceeding to evaluate the effects of consolidation on broadcast localism before any vote.
- Require the establishment of an independent panel on female and minority ownership. The panel would provide data and offer recommendations to the FCC on how to increase female and minority ownership. The FCC must receive and act on these recommendations prior to voting on any proposed ownership rules.
- The bill applies to any attempt to alter rules made by the FCC after October 1, 2007.
Sen. Maria Cantwell is already cosponsoring similar legislation in the Senate.
Martin is a punk, and an arrogant punk at that. Kudos to Rep. Reichert, Rep. Inslee and Sen. Cantwell for listening to the people and giving Martin a good swift kick in the nuts.
Martin is a punk, and an arrogant punk at that
Seems to be the next in the lineage spawned from the deformed genes begat of Addington and Fleischer, begat of North and Poindexter, begat of Regan and Casey, begat of Segretti and Haldeman!
Tom Foss spews:
I watched Kevin Martin on C Span the other day with a somewhat perverse and morbid sense of wonder to see if he would ever offer any answer of substance, or even try to justify his actions. Never happened- he just looked smug and smarmy all at the same time and offered his half baked non-responses. He and Dana Perino could make quite a pair. One more pillar of democracy is left cracked and crumbling by this administration.
And kudos should go to Sheriff Blow Dry, even if he is only doing this to suck up to Blethen and make sure he gets their endorsement. At least he is doing the right thing here and should be commended.
And as an aside, my local personal pet peeve is that Comcast has dropped C-Span 2 from their basic package as of two weeks ago. I broke down and will go ahead and pay a few extra stinking dollars to get it, but I wrote them a scathing letter and held out for awhile because I was so pissed.
So for the last two weeks, while I was home sick, I could turn on the TV 24/7 and get idiotic reruns of Law and Order any time day or night, usually on several channels, or watch reality shows that make my brain cells melt, but I can’t watch the our Government in action, the US Senate, administration oversight hearings, or my favorite book show lectures because, as their spokesperson told me, “it just didn’t fit into our scheduling needs and something had to go. Plus, if you upgrade, you will get better picture quality.” Like I need to see the bags under Dick Durbin’s eyes any closer.
That is not as directly related to the media consolidation issue, but I feel better having complained about it. And, these problems will also get worse with consolidation. Like Verizon censoring Eddie Vedder’s political comments, or Clear Channel censoring music and commentary against the administration.
BTW, I would like to see if either Perino or Martin could pass the WASL. Competency or basic intelligence and skills are not a job requirement in this administration. Blind allegiance to the Bush agenda is all thats required.
My Gawwd! Sheriff Goodhair was the one who “passed” on Blethen’s question about media ownership at the debate with Darcy Burner.
Wingnutz: your beloved empty suit is moving to the “left”. I sense panic time.
2 We just got a new flat-screen TV as our big Christmas present to ourselves, hooked it up to our dead-basic Comcrap cable service and let it auto-program itself. Lo and behold, among other things we discovered CSPAN2 on one of the secondary subcarriers of something like channel 87.
As to picture quality…we tried to watch Boston Legal in HD and realized that seeing every wrinkle and pore of William Shatner’s face spread across a large screen in HD is…well, not terribly appetizing.
It’s good to see the Washington delegation in the lead on this one.
Roger Rabbit spews:
This process is all the evidence anyone needs that Republicans are not governing legitimately.
They are a never-elected rump government who seize raw power and use it for their own selfish ends.
harry tuttle spews:
Roger is right, the Rethugs never govern legitimately, and the DemoPuds who go along with them, such as Harry Reid, are no friends of mine.
Chris Dodd won’t get the presidential nomination, but we should convince him to run for Senate again, and tell Cantwell and Murray to back him for Majority Leader.
I don’t like most of Reichert’s postions on most issues – but kudos to him for standing up for what is right (correct).
I am not a big fan of the Seattle Times either – but they are also on the right (correct) side in this.
Kevin Martin is nothing more or less than Monica Goodling with smaller breasts.
I saw Martin and he had his smug little mind made up – damn the facts.
The newpapers are in trouble – according to Martin – so let media consolidation begin. Who cares if there is only one voice in a city (whether it is right wing or left wing). The guy was only concerned with coporate media profits and not what people all over the political spectrum thought. I am happy to unite with right wingers who feel the same as I do over this.
I, for one, want there to be differing opinions left in the media. I may not like or agree with what a right winger has to say – but I support their right to say it and to hear and read it.
I sometimes don’t understand why some of the right wingers like to hang out on this “liberal” site – but as long as they have an argument and facts to back it up – then it is fine by me.
I just don’t like ad hominem or personal attacks. They are the work of people who don’t want a discussion – but want to pick a fight and claim to be a winner.
The problem is that most of the trolls here (and yes, I will call them that) do not argue honestly. They misstate the facts, and won’t concede their errors, or they simply spout talking points. Kinda pointless to do anything but point and call them names.
But yes, just as I may very well caucus for Dodd in Feb. just to make the point that the Dems need to give a priority to restoring the rule of law to this country starting 1/20/09 (if not sooner), I’ll give Reichert credit for taking the correct stand on the media consolidation issue. If he can actually be effective in helping get some legislation passed to address Martin’s (the soulless toady, then good on him (just shows he knows he’s in trouble).
Sorry: I meant to say: Martin’s ignoring the clear will of the public on this issue (the soulless toady).
Trouble I get for complex sentence constructions….
Broadway Joe spews:
But how much do you wanna bet that News Corp will find a cushy job for him (maybe there, maybe with friends, who knows) once he’s booted out of his office next year? He’s such a friend to the industry……
13 Depends on who’s in charge after next year’s election. If the RepublicNazis are still in charge (which is depressingly possible) he may well be transferred to head up some other once-useful governmental agency (the EPA, perhaps? or maybe the NSF) and turn it into a worthless joke.
proud leftist spews:
Regardless of motive, sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due. On the other hand, can you imagine a rightwinger ever giving a Democrat credit for anything? Partisanship is all that matters to the bastards. There should be a bounty on them.
Broadway Joe spews:
Well, if we all do our part like we should, then that won’t happen. We have the momentum. We have the will of the people on our side. All we need is the resolve to withstand the slime and actually FIGHT BACK! The whole Gandhi passivity “responding to their baseless attacks is beneath me” thing is bullshit! We bitch-slap trolls around in here all day! Sure, it’s getting a little boring, but it provides the training necessary to fight back when the forces of the Tyrant spew their lies. They want partisanship? They want a fight? The odds are that not only will we have a Democrat in the White House, our majorities in Congress will grow as well, closing in on supermajority status. Watch the enemy grovel, snivel, and eventually surrender to their base nature and turn to terrorism to ‘save’ America. Considering how effective they are at governing a nation, they’ll be the living embodiment of the classic joke:
‘Ever hear about the Polish terrorist? He tried to blow up a bus, but he burned his lips on the tailpipe.’
I figure it’ll take about 6 months to either round them up or force them into exile in Paraguay along with the Tyrant.
Irv Kupcinet spews:
I won’t give Reichert credit for anything more than figuring out which way the wind blows.
The guy’s a tool. Don’t forget that.
Irv Kupcinet spews:
Reichert’s not the baby Jesus because he came down on the right side of an issue for once in his puffy-headed lifetime.
Reichart’s handlers must be telling him that the Bush position is one which only a lame-duck administration would dare to promote. Unless Reichart wants to be another lame duck politician, he had better get on the correct side of this issue, even if it goes against his mentor (Bush).
But I fear it may be a fruitless gesture. Bush has no reason to sign the legislation, and will probably veto it, in yet another single-digit salute to common sense, decency, and the Congress. He has debts to pay to supporters which will be identified later, and he’s trying to get them paid off now, before we are any further into the election cycle.
In the meantime, the beneficiaries of this legislation will apply for licenses under the new (current) rules, and argue that any changes (return to the old rules) can’t apply to them.