May 28th, 2003

Auros Face from wedding

politics potpourri -- Arizona residents, please look!

Today's batch comes from Working Assets.

One of them is particularly important -- it addresses the media monopolization issue I posted about the other day... Senator McCain is the head of the committee that oversees the FCC, so he has special influence over their proceedings. If he can be moved to oppose immediate implementation of new rules, we'll have a shot at getting a public hearing of just what those rules mean -- which would almost certainly mean an end to them.

Just to make clear how important this issue is -- it's not even just about avoiding a world where Fox News is the only news, though that's certainly a pretty big issue. It's also about saving lives. About six months ago, there was an incident where a small town in the northern midwest, where all the major radio stations were owned by ClearChannel, suffered a disaster situation involving a cloud of toxic gas. (I forget whether it was to do with a natural condition or some kind of chemical spill; if anyone's interested, remind me, and I'll look up the details in my archives when I get home.) Authorities tried to call the radio stations to get the word out, but ClearChannel didn't have anyone manning the phones at the local office, and their national offices were too incompetent to field the calls and figure out a way to get the news onto the air on just those stations, and too recalcitrant to bump programming on all the regional stations in order to save lives.

People died.

For their violation of the rules about having somebody manning the phones at the stations, ClearChannel got a fine. Way to send a message, FCC!

Media diversity matters. Pass it on.

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The rest of this batch is below...

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