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Moving Slowly in the Fast Lane

By Susan Crawford, Associate Professor, Cardozo School of Law

The Federal Communications Commission, our national communications regulatory body, is asking the wrong questions and heading in the wrong direction.  We need new leadership in this country that has the political muscle to implement radical change.  A key national priority, on a par with funding Head Start programs and adequate national healthcare, must be to ensure that access to an unfettered internet is universal, speedy, and cheap. Read More

Media Consolidation: Lessons from Brazil

By Luis Fernado Marrey Moncau 

Media concentration in Brazil is not a new story. During the 1960s, as television was becoming popular and affordable for the masses, Brazil was being run by a military dictatorship. The military had taken power in 1964 through a coup d’état.

Even today, the media in Brazil remains concentrated in the hands of just a few and criticism of the government remains fairly muted. Just nine families control the major media groups in the country. Twenty one percent of the members of the last parliament had licenses for broadcasting. Read More

Democracy At Risk

By Frank Blethen

The Seattle Times

My family believes it is a privilege to operate newspapers and practice journalism in an American democracy. For us, the ultimate community service is independent local journalism. We don't ever use the word "ownership" in our family lexicon, but rather refer to "stewardship." Stewardship means that we will practice our independent journalism for the benefit of all the citizens in the communities we serve. It is because of this philosophy I had no choice but to conclude the recent and ongoing FCC effort to allow much greater media consolidation is not only bad policy, it is a risk to our democracy! To survive, our nation must have a wide variety of independent newspaper and media owners.  There must be many voices and broad diversity by size, geography and ideology...Read More

One Thing Unites Red and Blue: the !*%#! Media

By Linda Foley

The Newspaper Guild-Communication Workers of America

Another U.S. presidential election has come and gone. Not unlike four years ago, the country once again finds itself a divided nation.

This time, however, Americans in blue states are even more blue about the prospect of another four years under George W. Bush's cowboy government. And the red staters see more red as their bare majority is dismissed and derided by self-proclaimed intellectually superior Eastern-Northern-West Coast elites.

Radically different political views of radically different life experiences. Rural, small-town vs. urban, big-city. WalMart vs. Nordstrom's. Church on Sundays vs. Thursday evenings at the gym.

But despite our differences, there's at least one thing Red and Blue agree on: The media...Read More

Powell's Legacy: He Riled the Masses

By Jonathan Rintels

Center for Creative Voices in Media

The Bush administration’s decision to let stand the U.S. Court of Appeals’ overturning of the FCC’s 2003 media-ownership decision as “arbitrary and capricious” is a welcome and well-deserved ending to a sorry chapter in not only media regulation but in American democratic government.

From the very start of the media-ownership proceeding, the FCC’s eventual decision to permit more newspaper/television crossownership, more network-owned local stations, more local duopolies and triopolies, more consolidation and more concentration had the smell of a done deal. Astonishingly, for such a far-reaching initiative that could have profound implications on our nation’s democracy and culture, the FCC scheduled not one public hearing...Read More

Working for Media Justice, 100 Women at a Time

By Jessica Valenti and Gwynn Cassidy

Younger Women's Task Force, a project of the National Council of Women's Organizations

Looking to the media for positive images of young women is no easy task.  Too often younger women are depicted as victims, sexual objects, or we're not shown at all. 

As difficult as it is to find realistic portrayals of ourselves, ensuring that there are positive, strong images of young women in the media needs to be a priority.   The influence that the media has necessitates it.  The public face of young women in the U.S. cannot continue to be determined by old men running television studios, heads of advertising agencies or anyone else who would sooner objectify us for money than show what young women are really like.

 Fighting more traditional feminist battles like pay equity, reproductive rights and violence against women will always be central to young women's work.   But working for justice in the media--an issue that's often overlooked--is the fight of the future for feminists.  Whether it's magazines, television, movies, or even online--the media is the new battleground for younger women...Read More

The Future Internet: Open or Closed?

By Jonathan Rintels

Center for Creative Voices in Media

Many in America's creative community have assumed that the rapidly approaching Internet of tomorrow – high-speed, low-cost, and utterly pervasive – will empower media creators to directly reach their audience, eliminating the corporate middleman distributor.  Or, as some might less diplomatically put it, "the worm has turned!  With high speed Internet, there will be no more clueless, tasteless, penny-pinching suits mucking up my vision!  No more exorbitant distribution costs, gatekeepers, and bottlenecks!  No more warping my creative work to reach a narrow, finicky TV demo or sell popcorn in theaters that won't exist!"  No doubt you've heard it, if you haven't said it once or twice yourself...Read More