CMA in the Tribune? Someone alert the media!

Posted by Mitchell - May 9, 2007 (entry 542)

Mirabile dictu! Despite many repeated attempts for years, Chicago Media Action has finally cracked the op-ed page of the Chicago Tribune. (A second letter by a CAN TV board member also made the cut.)

The issue is the still ongoing fight about state video franchises. While competition for cable is touted as a benefit (Trust the telephone monopoly to bring competition!), the effect seems to be more of eviscerating the public interest. Example: The fourth largest city in America is about to lose its public access cable channels, courtesy such stupid laws passed about two years ago.

The question beckons: Why did the Tribune publish these letters, despite years of giving the cold shoulder to anyone who disagrees with its wack perspective on media politics? (Which usually means everyone.) Conspiracy-minded folks might point to the fact that the Tribune is trying to finalize its sale to billionaire tyrant tycoon Sam Zell, and would want to grease the wheels to ensure that everything is on the up-and-up. Indeed, the Tribune is asking the FCC to continue its illegal media duopolies in five cities across America. This request is liable to be a flat violation of FCC policy, and bound to bite back hard on the Tribune sooner than later.

There's an additional curious bit of timing: On the same day that these letters got published, the front page of the Tribune metro section featured a story reporting that the Cable Television and Communications Association of Illinois "took at least 11 [Illinois] House and Senate members to Las Vegas last weekend for schmoozing and schooling".

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