Archive | just politics

Economist Fawns Over Mikey Powell

The Economist conducts a brief, but fawning profile of FCC Chair Michael Powell. Their loves stems from the estimation that

“Unusually for a regulator, Mr Powell seems to want, gradually, to write the FCC out of the game. For that, he deserves more respect than Americans usually shower on their benighted government officials.”

All I can say is that I’ve tackled the illogic of this notion, and the double-speak term of “de-regulation” in general, before:

The communications industry is scared of nothing more than a free market. A free market would decimate the local bell monopolies, would kill cable companies, and would decimate the broadcast industry. Every single one of these industries absolutely relies on the federal government to stake out boundaries and territories, allowing only a few to have such prizes as broadcast licenses, while keeping the millions of would-be competitors out. The last thing any commercial FM wants is for the FM band to double or triple in size letting a hundred more competitors onto the airwaves. Man, they need regulation to keep raking in those monopoly profits.

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Real Citizens at the FCC? OK, let’s count 1… er, 1….

The LA Times reports on “Citizens Knocking on FCC’s Door” and actually getting face time with FCC Commissioners “to discuss the arcane rules of national telecommunications policy.”

Just seeing the headline made me think, “Yes, this is the way it oughtta be.” But then reading it raised some suspicions.

The only real citizen the article cites is a self-described housewife who is lobbying the FCC on behalf of mega-telecomm SBC so that her husband won’t lose his job with the company.

See, her husband might be laid off because those pesky competitors expect SBC to make good on the requirement of the 1996 Telecomm Act that the company open acces to its monopoly-built-and-protected-lines to those competitors. SBC claims it will lose profits and have to lay off workers as a result.

It seems a little disingenuous all around, doesn’t it? Especially to anyone who is unlucky to have SBC as a phone company and see first hand how the bastards have decimated Ameritech and generally botched up customer service and broadband Internet in the name of profit.

Even putting that aside, where are the other citizens getting face time with FCC Commissioners? How many former local radio employees fired by Clear Channel? How many citizens pissed off at losing local news from their Sinclair-owned TV channel in St. Louis? None are cited by this article.

So, here we have a case of a journalist turning one example into a trend. It’s a hook in search of an actual story — a case of “let’s make news that’ll make us all feel better.”

Turning up the cynicism up a notch, Tribune Company, owner of the LA Times, would love for the public to believe that the FCC is listening to citizen’s actual concerns. Especially because Tribune’s been pushing the FCC to charge ahead on its media ownership rules review and to shunt every possible opportunity for public input. A story like this one let’s Tribune claim, “See, you don’t need extended comment deadlines or public forums. The public is getting their licks in to.”

Yeah, when they’re bankrolled by SBC or some other conglomerate (or “a retired SBC manager”).

Now don’t you feel better about the FCC?

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Predicting What the Election Means for Tech and Media

CNet’s Declan McCullagh gives a rundown of what the election results might mean for Tech in the US. Obviously, the biggest difference will be Republican leadership of all committees, which is a mixed bag, since some tech issues don’t break cleanly along party lines. For instance, Democratic Sen. Fritz Hollings of S.C. has been a […]

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Disgusted with Democrats

Nationwide, the Democrats blew it in yesterday’s election. That’s clear to anyone who gives a shit, and is quickly being parroted across the mainstream press this morning. Unfortunately, there’s no evidence to challenge it. Only here in Illinois, after one of the most corrupt state governments in recent memory, were Democrats able to take a […]

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