Copps Talks Net Neutrality, 'Public Money For Public Media'
April 26, 2010 at 4:22 AM (PT)
FCC Commissioner MICHAEL J. COPPS appeared on PBS' "BILL MOYERS' JOURNAL" on FRIDAY to talk about Net neutrality, asserting that the FCC has the authority to regulate the Internet. COPPS said, "We ought to look at it as a big ecosystem. And all this cable, radio, television, the Internet ... is all part of this ecosystem. And you can't have legitimate public interest oversight of that if you go in with some stovepipe analysis -- well, this is Telecom, this is cable. It's all the same thing. We're all so dependent upon it. So we have to find a way to conduct that public oversight in a holistic, in a systematic, and in an intelligent fashion."
While asserting the FCC's right to regulate Net neutrality, COPPS took more of his customary shots at ownership consolidation, telling MOYERS that "we went through this media ownership debate several years ago. And I think the powers-that-be at the FCC at that time said, 'Oh, we can get rid of all of these ownership restrictions. We don't care how many broadcast outlets one company can hold. And nobody cares around the country. I mean, this is just too arcane, it's too sophisticated. We'll just do this inside the beltway.' I said, 'Let's go out and have some hearings.' 'Oh, no, you don't want to have hearings. We'll just we'll just take care of this here.' But, by the time we were through, three million people had contacted the FCC and congress to voice their displeasure. And we did have hearings at my insistence around the country, where we would go for seven, eight, nine hours at night in town hall meetings with people talking about, 'Something's wrong in my media system. I'm not getting the news anymore.' Or, 'I'm a minority. None of my news ever gets covered.' Or, 'When I'm on TV I'm there as a caricature of or a stereotype of something I'm not.' People get it. People understand."
MOYERS asked COPPS, "Do you realize that, when you talk this way, you talk about the public interest sphere, you talk about democracy, you talk about any kind of effort to curtail the power of the market, GLENN BECK's going to call you a communist, a socialist, or worse? You realize that don't you?"
COPPS responded, "I think you stop playing defense and start playing offense and talk about what you really believe and try to talk sense to the American people. But it goes beyond that because we have to have an institution of journalism in this country that gets real facts and information out to people. We've always had the chatterers. We've always had precursors of you know, raging cable, or talkative radio. And we always value opinion. Everybody's entitled to their opinion. Everybody's not entitled to their own set of facts. What this country needs right now is a kind of resource hungry expensive journalism that is fast disappearing to provide those kind of facts." COPPS called again for "public support for public media," more tax money spent on public media, comparing AMERICA's $1.35 per person per annum on public broadcasting to other countries' expenditures.