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Fri Dec 28, 2012, 01:46 PM

There Are Days... When You Wonder Why We Even Bother... [View all]

Obama Administration Seeks to Strengthen Rupert Murdoch
Matt Stoller - NakedCapitalism
12/27/12

Earlier this year, Obama Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed relaxing media ownership rules to allow Rupert Murdoch to buy the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune. Itís not something youíll see discussed much, because Republicans like the fact that Murdoch is going to get more power, while Democrats donít want to admit that Obama is helping the person framed as their arch-nemesis. This is part of a larger pattern Ė media consolidation is one of the many structural problems that Obama promised to deal with. And indeed, this is the real arena where the battle over free speech is being fought. Corporate control over our communications infrastructure is the free speech question of our time.


<And>

On a more fundamental level, media consolidation and free speech are indistinguishable problems, and liberals have avoided the intellectual conundrum this presents. For while there are periodic flare-ups of the debate free speech rights, very rarely does anyone take the time to analyze the economics of speech. The controversy about Eric Loomis, a professor who spoke out obnoxiously and aggressively against the NRA and then had his academic career threatened as a result, is the latest round in kicking up a free speech debate. But this controversy is far less consequential than questions of how the corporate sector uses free speech rights. The first amendment is not actually an affirmative right to speak. It is written as the governmentís inability to make any laws restricting the right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom to peaceably assemble, or to petition oneís government. Obviously the government makes rules all the time on the first amendment Ė thatís what a permit for a march, parade, or protest is. And it makes rules on speech on a regular basis, it just so happens that these are rules about who owns and runs the telecommunications and cable industries.


<And...>

Corporate control over our communications infrastructure is the free speech question of our time. When Obamaís Attorney General Eric Holder refuses to investigate Rupert Murdochís company for bribery in the phone hacking scandal, and Obamaís FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski works to help Rupert Murdochís company buy more media assets, and the number of broadcast media outlets owned by minorities continues to decline, itís clear we have a free speech problem. But it has nothing to do with a comment on twitter or burning flags.


More: http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/12/obama-administration-seeks-to-strengthen-rupert-murdoch.html

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And from 11/29/12...

Obama's FCC Set to Give Rupert Murdoch a Media Monopoly
Thursday, 29 November 2012 14:35
By Thom Hartmann and Sam Sacks, The Daily Take

<snip>

Unsatisfied with his media empire in the UK and Australia and his several media holdings in the United States like TheWall Street Journal, the New York Post, and Fox News, Rupert Murdoch wants more. He wants a media monopoly.

Murdoch is currently jockeying to buy the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, which just so happen to be the largest newspapers in the nationís second and third largest cities. That will add to his current media empire in the United States, which includes the most watched cable news network in the nation, Fox so-called News, and the most circulated newspaper in the nation, The Wall Street Journal.

The only thing standing in Murdochís way of full-spectrum media domination in America are Federal Communication Commission rules that forbid one company from owning both a newspaper and a television station in one community. Murdoch already owns local television stations in both Chicago and Los Angeles.

But according to sources within the FCC, Chairman Julius Genachowski is quietly planning to scrap those rules. Under pressure from major media moguls like Murdoch, who see big bucks and huge political power in a consolidated national and local media, Genachowski circulated a new order to other FCC Commissioners that would allow for cross-ownership of TV and newspapers in the nationís twenty biggest media markets.

A similar effort was made in 2007 by George W. Bushís FCC, but it was shot down after the Senate voted to repeal it and a federal court blocked it. Not to mention, 99% of the public comments the FCC received opposed that media consolidation effort.

But, undeterred, Murdoch and other media moguls kept lobbying, and now President Obamaís FCC is expected to consider these rule changes again in December. And if Americans donít get involved in this issue and pressure the FCC to say ďno,Ē then Murdoch and his billionaire buddies will likely get what they want, which is complete domination of our news media.

<snip>

More: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/13051-obamas-fcc-set-to-give-rupert-murdoch-a-media-monopoly






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