Media Reform Conference Ties Consolidation With War Propaganda Campaign
June 9, 2008 at 10:09 AM (PT)
More than 3,500 people gathered in MINNEAPOLIS this weekend for the fourth annual NATIONAL CONFERENCE FOR MEDIA REFORM, taking part in panel discussions and strategizing on efforts to fight media consolidation and democratize the airwaves. The three-day event was organized by the media reform group, FREE PRESS.
The highlight of the weekend was the keynote address by legendary journalist, BILL MOYERS. Also addressing attendees over the weekend were former CBS NEWS anchor DAN RATHER, FCC Commissioners MICHAEL COPPS and JONATHAN ADELSTEIN, plus AMY GOODMAN, host of PACIFICA RADIO’S "DEMOCRACY NOW!"
Thatâ??s the problem with big media -- not just the homogenous and nationalized entertainment, but the dumbed-down civic dialogue
While at the conference, COPPS seemed receptive to lawmakers who are asking the FCC to investigate the Pentagon’s propaganda program to determine if the major TV networks or the Pentagon-backed analysts violated federal law. "The FCC has been requested by powerful members of Congress to conduct an investigation," he told DEMOCRACY NOW. "A letter went to the FCC, and I don't think they have received a response yet. You kind of sit and wonder, if DWIGHT EISENHOWER was still alive, if he'd be warning us about the military-industrial-big-media complex."
Problem: Consolidation ... Solution: Stronger Licensing
The BUSH Administration campaign to orchestrate a pro-war propaganda campaign through willing military advisors, in COPPS' eyes, is a direct reflection of media consolidation."It’s part of this larger problem ... about too much power being concentrated in too few hands," he said. "So, if indeed this is going on and they only have to get a few people in to get the story on all these networks and all these stations, that’s what the American people hear. That’s the problem with big media -- not just the homogenous and nationalized entertainment, but the dumbed-down civic dialogue.
"Here’s what I want ... a broadcast licensing and re-licensing system for broadcasters that has some teeth in it, some public interest obligation, so you have local news, coverage of diversity, communities, all of those things that we're lacking now, and, number two, would address not just the traditional media of broadcast, but the new media of the Internet. This is all of a piece. It’s all the same problem that we face. So what the FCC could do, right off the bat next year, would be to have a binding and forcible principle of network neutrality, nondiscrimination on the Internet."