Saturday, March 15, 2008

Anniston Star examines on-air-broadcasting mess

Professor Eric Klinenberg's Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media is pictured to the left. It's on my Amazon Wish List now yet before reading the following John Fleming series in The Anniston Star I wasn't aware of the work. Mr. Fleming has, starting in early March, covered Compressed Air: Straining to hear democracy through the static. He then shared Compressed Air: What's on TV? Next came Compressed Air: Local radio news a dying art and I couldn't help but think of Eagle 102.3 WELR that I grew up with. The conservatism of the Vice family now owning that outlet and her sister stations surely gets airing. Mr. Fleming's finale was Compressed Air: When local media isn't there for the public.

I surely hope readers realize the consequences of policy decisions such as the FEC and Clinton administration made back in 1996. That Northeast Alabama has had it better than much of the nation is hardly comforting. Consolidation has been a boon for the Big Mules but as usual the consequences flow down to the little people. The public owns the airways and the media outlets at best rent them. By the way, the Bu$hCo FCC with General Powell's boy Michael Powell and now Kevin Marks in charge has been an even bigger disaster yet I'm not here to make excuses for the Clinton years.

Mr. Fleming wrote:

... The Telecommunications Act of 1996 rewrote the media ownership rules, triggering industry consolidation just as cable TV and the Internet were shaking up the old rules.

Free-marketers won a major battle in their decades-long conflict, persuading Washington to dismantle regulations created to watch out for the public good and tamp down consolidation of broadcasting outlets lest the marketplace of ideas shrink down to a few outlets.

The Telecommunications Act of 1996 poses a threat to media's essential role in democracy, according to critics. ...

Amen as to the critics! Let's Stop Big Media! It is long past time that broadcasters and other media using our airways acted at least with some concern for the public interest. Something like the Fairness Doctrine ought to be made the law of the land perhaps as at least a partial solution yet the laws and regulations that allow for crazy levels of consolidation must be rolled back. If we want to restore a thriving "marketplace of ideas" then I think Progressives better get to work immediately. John Gunn

No comments: