Guilt, Innocence, and Big Media
by Scott Sanders,
Chicago Media Action
What follows is my two-minute public comment as it was prepared for the FCC hearing on media ownership and diversity held in Chicago on September 20, 2007:
Malcolm X once said the media are the most powerful entity on Earth because they can make the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent. The FCC has usually served, unfortunately, as a revolving employment door for the telecom industry, while it has allowed huge media corporations to become bigger.
The handful of monoliths that control most of the U.S. media are guilty of spreading propaganda during the lead-up to the illegal U.S.-lead attack on the innocent people of Iraq. Sound surveys note perhaps 1.2 million civilian deaths there due to violence since March 2003. These megacorporations are guilty today as they help perpetuate that conflict and try to repeat the pattern; pick any issue and you will find them guilty of stealing our democracy. Iran? Better health care? Gang violence? Guilty, guilty, guilty.
In the real world, we must work as one to halt and reverse media consolidation and strengthen public media, including low power FM and community TV. Essential to the recovery, maintenance, and enhancement of American democracy in our Orwellian era is public engagement on the issue of who controls the media, how much media one owner should be allowed to control, and, centrally, how much the media control us. This system of control includes PBS too; there are a few exceptions, but all things considered, the blood-stained PBS brand cannot be trusted either.
We must break up the media cartels, guarantee just levels of minority ownership, codify a neutral Internet, reinvent public media, and repair our severely eroded public commons.
Stop big media -- before they kill again.
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