Democracy Now! Goes Live to the FCC Vote on Rules Governing Media Consolidation. FCC members prepare the way for the largest wave of media consolidation in U.S. history; The whole thing reeks of conflict of interest. To begin the catalog of corruption here, you would have to do a 24-hour marathon. Robert McChesney, author of eight books on media and politics, discusses the the inner-workings of the FCC and the importance of media diversity; Diverse Organizations from Around the Country Testify Against Media Consolidation. From the United Church of Christ to the National Association of Black Journalists to Children Now, organizations around the country speak out.
9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20: Today, the FCC votes on decades-old rules governing ownership of newspapers, TV and radio stations. Analysts say the vote to scrap the rules will unleash the largest wave of media consolidation in U.S. history. The rules limit the number of TV stations a company can own; they prevent big networks from merging; and they prohibit companies from owning newspapers and broadcast stations in the same market. Driving the review is FCC chair Michael Powell, son of Secretary of State General Powell. Powell strongly supported the AOL/Time-Warner merger. After the merger, his father s stock options in the company skyrocketed from $6 million to nearly $10 million. Powell is supported by the two other Republicans on the commission. The two Democratic Commissioners are opposed. The FCC is therefore expected to pass the rule revisions by a majority of one. Major media conglomerates have been lobbying hard in favor of the new rules, corporations pressuring the FCC include: *AOL Time Warner, which in addition to AOL and Time magazine owns HBO, CNN, and dozens of magazines *General Electric, Disney and Viacom, which own NBC, ABC and CBS respectively *Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which owns Fox News and many other outlets But Powell has been reluctant to hear opinions from the public. When Democratic Commissioner Michael Copps called on the FCC to conduct public hearings on the issue, Powell refused. Copps went on to hold several public hearings on his own. Powell boycotted all but one which he decided to attend only at the last minute as public pressure intensified. The FCC convened its only official hearing in Richmond, Virginia in February. Guest: Robert McChesney, author of eight books on media and politics including Rich Media, Poor Democracy. He is also professor of communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and host of the weekly talk show, Media Matters, on WILL-AM radio. McChesney recently wrote the article "The FCC's Big Grab, which was published at Counterpunch.org. Links: http://www.robertmcchesney.com/ http://www.counterpunch.org/mcchesney05162003.html 9:20-9:21 One Minute Music Break 9:21-9:30: Today the FCC is poised to overhaul decades-old rules governing media ownership allowing for further consolidation. We hear a gathering of journalistic organizations and other groups opposed to deregulation of media ownership rules. The gathering took place on in Washington DC May 27th. Rev. Bob Chase, United Church of Christ Condace Pressley, National Association of Black Journalists Bernie Lunzer, Communications Workers of America Jim Winston, National Association Black Owned Broadcasters Patti Miller, Children Now Links: http://www.ucc.org/ United Church of Christ http://www.nabj.org/ National Association of Black Journalists http://www.cwa-union.org/ Communications Workers of America http://www.nabob.org/ National Association Black Owned Broadcasters http://www.childrennow.org/ Children Now 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:30-9:58: Today, the FCC votes on decades-old rules governing ownership of newspapers, TV and radio stations. We go live to Washington DC to hear FCC members speak on media consolidation issues prior to the final vote. Kenneth Ferree, FCC Media Bureau Chief Elizabeth Valinoti, FCC Media Bureau Attorney Adviser Erin Dozier, FCC Media Bureau Attorney Adviser Nandan Joshi, FCC Office of General Counsel Attorney Adviser Patrick Webre, FCC Media Bureau Attorney Adviser 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Sharif Abdul Kouddous, Ana Nogueira, Elizabeth Press with help from Noah Reibel and Vilka Tzouras. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer. Thanks also to Uri Galed, Angela Alston, Emily Kunstler, Orlando Richards, Simba Rousseau, Rafael delaUz, Gabriel Weiss, Johnny Sender, Rich Kim, Karen Ranucci, Fatima Mojadiddy, Denis Moynihan and Jenny Filipazzo.