Time to Occupy the FCC?

December 2, 2011

What is it going to take to make the federal agency tasked with protecting the public interest in broadcasting actually listen to the public?   An uprising of three million people?   A directive from President Obama?   An order from the second highest court in the land?   We've seen all of that, and still nothing has worked.   It may be time to Occupy the FCC.   But I digress.

Just before the big Thanksgiving holiday, the Federal Communications Commission leaked information that they are once again reviewing the broadcast media ownership rules, and that -- get this -- they intend to leave local TV and Radio ownership rules in place, and plan to move ahead with the same newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rules that Republican chair Kevin Martin put into place. 

But wait, don't they remember the 3 million people who wrote them in 2005, saying they want more owners of fewer radio and TV stations, not the other way around?  Or what about President Obama's January 2009 directive, originally reported in BradBlog, that we need to diversify media ownership?   Or the recent Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling specifically surrounding the newspaper cross ownership issue, which said the FCC had not properly listened to the public, and that they must do so before making such a rule?   

What is it Charlie Brown says every time Lucy pulls the football out from underneath him?     

It gets worse.   True to form, the FCC quietly announced that there would be an FCC hearing about media ownership rules held in Atlanta, Georgia December 1.   They announced the forum in their Daily Digest the day after Thanksgiving, just 6 days before the public event.   The hearing would be the last public event held before the final notice of proposed rulemaking for 2010 Quadrennial Ownership Review is released, the last opportunity for the public to make comments about OUR public airwaves for the next four years!

It is clear the FCC does not want to hear from the very public it serves.

So I am not kidding about Occupying the FCC.   

More.   Soon.


 Occupy Sacramento screened "Broadcast Blues" Thursday evening, and the Occupy protesters are now looking closely at corporate misinformation and fear created by media, especially radio.  What will come of it?  Stay tuned.