Democracy Now! May 21, 2003

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Democracy Now! May 21, 2003
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Rupert Murdoch's Digital Death Star : As FCC prepares to unleash the largest wave of media consolidation in U.S. history, Rupert Murdoch s News Corp is already moving in on DirecTV; Is the Jayson Blair Affair the Low Point in New York Times 150-Year History?; Cuba: The Next Regime Change? Florida Governor Jeb Bush Denies Allegations That He is Urging His Brother to Invade Cuba

8:00-8:01 Billboard 8:01-8:06 Headlines 8:06-8:07 One Minute Music Break 8:07-8:20: Today is the final public hearing with FCC commissioners on the proposed rule changes governing media consolidation. The FCC is expected to approve the measures on June 2nd. Analysts and activists say that adoption of the new rules will unleash the largest round of media consolidation and mergers in U.S. history. FCC chairman Michael Powell, son of Secretary of State General Powell, is a driving force behind the rule changes. He has the support of the two other republicans on the Commission, and is opposed by the two Democrats. Several months ago, Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps called on the FCC to conduct public hearings on the changes. Powell refused. Copps said he would hold hearings of his own. So in January, a coalition of trade unions and media activist groups working in collaboration with Copps held the first public hearing on the issue. As public pressure mounted on Powell, he reversed course and decided to attend at the last minute. Another hearing at the University of Southern California was held in April which Powell did not attend. The FCC convened a little publicized, official hearing in Richmond, Virginia in February. The final hearing is today in Atlanta. Democratic Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein will speak, and Democracy Now! will be there. Meanwhile, media mogul Rupert Murdoch squares off tomorrow against consumer advocate Gene Kimmelman, before the Senate Commerce Committee. At issue is whether the FCC and the Justice Department should allow Rupert Murdoch to buy DirecTV, the satellite TV service that has 11 million subscribers. Rupert Murdoch s News Corp already owns 35 broadcast TV stations and major cable channels like Fox News, Fox Sports and National Geographic TV. * Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy and author of the new article "Rupert Murdoch's Digital Death Star" which appears on 8:20-8:21 One Minute Music Break 8:21-8:40: Now the Times is nursing its bruises from the Jayson Blair affair. There are so many smellier corpses in the New York Times s mausoleum, not to mention that larger graveyard of truth known as the American Fourth Estate, that it s hard to get upset at what Blair did To be sure, Blair made up a bunch of not very stuff, and he s embarrassed the hell out of his former colleagues and his publisher. The New York tabs have been having a field day. But from all this editorial hand wringing you d think he s undermined the very foundation of the Republic. These are the words of Alexander Cockburn in his article, The Jayson Blair Affair, where he discusses other far more serious errors in reporting in New York Times history which escaped criticism. * Alexander Cockburn, editor of the journal Counterpunch and website * Danny Schechter, television producer and independent filmmaker who also writes and speaks about media issues. He is the author of Media Wars: News at a Time of Terror, Falun Gong's Challenge to China, The More You Watch, The Less You Know and News Dissector: Passions, Pieces and Polemics. He is the executive editor of the, the world's largest online media issues network. Links: 8:40-8:41 One Minute Music Break 8:41-8:58: Yesterday was Cuban Independence Day, the day Cubans celebrate their independence from Spain. President Bush marked the occasion by meeting with a group of relatives of newly imprisoned Cuban dissidents and former political prisoners. He gave this Independence Day message in Spanish, which was beamed into Cuba on the U.S. propaganda radio channel, Radio Marti. * President Bush gives his Cuban Independence Day message, May 20, 2003 Link: But this was not enough for Cuban Americans in Congress and right wing activists in Florida. They say Bush has failed to act on promises he made to crack down on Cuba during Independence Day speeches last year. Bush relentlessly attacked Clinton as soft on Cuba. But Rep. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said Bush has done no better. Menendez said in a statement: "Shame on you for not living up to your promises; shame on you for your deceptions; and shame on you for playing on the emotions of the Cuban American community." Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Monday denied allegations by a leading Cuban politician that he is urging his brother to invade the nation. Leader of the Cuban National Assembly Ricardo Alarcon appeared on an ABC News program Sunday and said that Jeb Bush and others are calling for a regime change in Cuba. Jeb Bush said: "He's wrong. What I do favor, which 90 percent, 95 percent, 100 percent of people -- not just Cubans but people who live in our community and this country -- should aspire to is democracy and freedom for Cuba. Cuba. Cuba. He said: "U.S. policy should be that we should transition away from one of the last ugly dictatorships in the world to democracy and freedom. He said, "That implies that it can't be done while Castro is there, but it does not imply an invasion." Two nights ago, Cuba expert John Gerassi addressed just this question in a talk he gave at the NYU Law School. He called is talk Cuba: The Next Regime Change. * John Gerassi, Professor of Political Science at Queens College, City University of New York, speaking at NYU Law School, May 19, 2003. He is the author of several books, including Ven Ceremos: the Speeches, and Writings of Che Guevara, the Great Fear in Latin America and Fidel Castro, a Biography 8:58-8:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.

Date Recorded on: 
May 21, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
May 21, 2003
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., May 21, 2003
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