FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is trying to change the agency’s ownership rules to pave the way for Murdoch to get control of the newspapers in the same cities where he already owns TV stations. Even more disturbing, Genachowski and Murdoch are trying to keep this under the radar, hoping we don’t notice.
Rupert Murdoch, in addition to being the malignant force behind Fox News, is the lawless conservative who’s under investigation in England for phone hacking, influence peddling and bribery. Now he wants to own the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune — major papers in the nation’s second- and third-largest cities — and the FCC wants to help him? I don’t think that’s a good idea. Do you?
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 nation’s 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 Murdoch’s 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 nation’s twenty biggest media markets.
A similar effort was made in 2007 by George W. Bush’s 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 Obama’s FCC is expected to consider these rule changes again in December. And if Americans don’t get involved in this issue and pressure the FCC to say “no,” then Murdoch and his billionaire buddies will likely get what they want, which is complete domination of our news media.
In fact, as Ben Bagdikian points out in his book, The New Media Monopoly, the United States is already dangerously close to falling victim to a complete media monopoly. Today, only five corporations – one of which is Rupert Murdoch’s NewsCorp – own the majority of all the media seen, read, or listened to by Americans. If the FCC gets completely out of the way, then further consolidation will follow suit.
You can send a message to the FCC here.