The End of the Beginning, 2007 version

Posted by Mitchell - December 18, 2007 (entry 589)

To little surprise, the undemocratic and dysfunctional FCC voted today to rescind its cross-ownership rule.

In response to this brazen and disastrous act, CMA releases this official statement.

Four years ago, when the FCC voted to rescind far more than just cross-ownership, FCC commissioner Jonathan Adelstein remarked:

"This is far from over. Congress may prove more responsive to the citizens who passionately plea for the independence and diversity of their media. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, this is not the end, or even the beginning of the end, but just the end of the beginning."

Four years later, we broach another such End of the Beginning, but oh how far we've come, with the victories we've won thus far -- in blocking the FCC's 2003 vote, in getting more than 800 people to attend an FCC hearing in Chicago, in even getting the damn issue on people's radar.

Yesterday, I received an email which read:

I am in a panic about FCC rule changes that apparently are coming despite public outcry. I attended and spoke out at the public hearing that was held in Harrisburg. I have written to my members of Congress and several times to the members of FCC. Over the weekend (after Bill Moyers' excellent program) I wrote a scathing letter to Kevin J Martin. I am wondering who else I could write to or call before the damage is done tomorrow, Dec 18.

I am well aware of the long arms of the Bush/ Cheney neo-con influence in this matter. I see that Mr Martin is just another low level soldier in this war against our democracy. I'm sure he will be well rewarded and promoted for his willingness to take the heat for the sake of the greater vision of this group. He cannot possibly be ignorant of the desire of the public yet he pushes forward, without even a blink of the eye.

Still, I hold out hope that there is always some way to combat such corruption and apathy toward the well being of the masses for the sake of the elite.

I wrote back with the following:

At this point, I would encourage you to do two things: One, contact folks who can contact their representatives in Congress. The more people who can chime in (especially to the House), the better. There's an easy-to-use form on the website:

And two, spread the word as much as you can. Indymedia has been a great resource for doing so, and has been very receptive to this issue when damned few news outlets were, or are. You can also organize an impromptu holiday singalong, as we did in Chicago two weeks back. More info, including songbooks with media-themed Christmas carols, are on the Chicago Media Action website.

I will say this as well: We've been here before, and have won before, under far worse circumstances. In 2003, then-FCC-chair Michael Powell approved a far-more-sweeping revision of the media ownership rules, but an unprecedented outcry fueled an emergency court order which blocked the rules, leading to a lawsuit which overturned them and forced the FCC to do over.

The more people know about this and speak out, the better our chances. The work you'll do today will help fuel the future victories yet to come.

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