There's a silver lining to the FCC's plan to rewrite the law to accommodate Rupert M (and Rupert M wannabes)
"People think a billion dollars buys you a President, but they're wrong. It barely gets you a lemon like Mitt Romney."
-- billionaire Sheldon Adelson, as quoted in the Borowitz Report "Billionaires Warn Higher Taxes Could Prevent Them from Buying Politicians"
I know there's a lot of consternation on our crazy wide-eyed socialist side of the political spectrum over the FCC's impending giveaway to the Rupert Murdochs of the world. (Don't ask me how many Rupert Murdochs there are in the world. Isn't one enough? But if there really is a shortage of Rupert-like personages, what better step could we take than to change the law to encourage Rupert wannabes.)
In case you haven't been following the story, here's Craid Aaron's summation in a recent post, "Why Is the Obama FCC Plotting a Massive Giveaway to Rupert Murdoch?" (links onsite):
What if I told you the Obama administration's first major post-election policy move was a big, fat gift for Rupert Murdoch?In case you're missing the message, Josh Stearns more recently listed "Five Things You Should Know About the FCC's Big Media Giveaway." You can read Josh's explanations onsite, but here are the Five Things You Should Know.
You might ask: The same Rupert Murdoch who owns Fox News?
The same Rupert Murdoch who scandalized England with phone-hacking, influence peddling and bribery?
The same Rupert Murdoch who stays up late Saturday nights pondering things on Twitter like what to do about "the Jewish-owned press"?
Murdoch already owns the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Fox News Channel, Fox movie studios, 27 local TV stations and much, much more.
Word is that Murdoch now covets the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune — the bankrupt-but-still-dominant newspapers (and websites) in the second- and third-largest media markets, where Murdoch already owns TV stations.
Under current media ownership limits, he can't buy them. It's illegal ... unless the Federal Communications Commission changes the rules.
But according to numerous reports, that's exactly what FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski plans to do. He's circulating an order at the FCC to lift the longstanding ban on one company owning both daily newspapers and TV stations in any of the 20 largest media markets.
And he wants to wrap up this massive giveaway just in time for the holidays. . . .
1) It will give Rupert Murdoch more power.Okay, yeah, media less diverse, local media monopolies, will of the people, blah blah blah. My question: Is this really so different from the situation we have now? How many things are there, really, that Rupert M would like to do which he's prevented from doing by some silly government rules, or laws, or whatever?
2) It will make our media less diverse.
3) It will create local media monopolies.
4) It will mean less news for local communities.
5) It goes against the will of the people.
Actually, that's why I want to suggest that there's a silver lining here for us left-wing cranks: At last someone in a position of authority is suggesting that maybe Rupert M should actually follow some of those rules, or laws, or whatever. I call that progress.
Let's take this media cross-ownership business. I live in New York City, which I think figures in nearly all tallies as one of the country's top 20 media markets, meaning that nobody can own both a newspaper and a TV channel or more than one TV channel. So you wouldn't think one person could own a newspaper and two TV channels, even if that newspaper is the New York Post, which prints mostly propaganda with just a smattering of news. I remember many years ago, when the problem was just News Corp owning a newspaper and one TV channel, some talk of News Corp asking for a temporary waiver, but I don't recall hearing anything more about the matter. In fact, the next thing we heard was that the company was acquiring that second TV channel. Not to mention News Corp's panoply of cable channels, which we won't mention -- even considering how cable-dependent many NYC residents are just to be able to have TV reception -- because there aren't any rules about the cable channels.
Still, it's not as if the company doesn't make every imaginable use of its control of each of these outlets to perform precisely the kinds of media-monopoly naughtiness that those laws are designed to prevent. Still, isn't it progress of a sort that our government is talking about taking seriously the heretical notion that Rupert M and (and wannabes) be pressed to conform their business practices to the law? Isn't it mere fussiness to point out that the strategy for doing so is to give them kinds of laws they can live with?
The message seems to be: It's not entirely unreasonable to ask 1%-ers to follow some rules, heretofore treated as mere advisory opinions, as long as we're careful to make sure those rules aren't unreasonable -- in the eyes of the 1%-ers, of course. After all, who else's opinion would be worthy of consideration? Surely not those infernal takers-not-makers.
You know, the people who do the actual work around the U.S. of A.
SPEAKING OF FAIRNESS FOR 1%-ERS, THE BOROWITZ
REPORT WORRIES ABOUT THE COST OF BUYING POLS
Billionaires Warn Higher Taxes Could Prevent Them from Buying Politicians
Posted by Andy Borowitz
WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) -- Introducing a new wrinkle into the already fraught fiscal cliff showdown, a consortium of billionaires today warned that if their taxes are raised they will no longer have enough money to buy politicians.
The group, led by casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, commissioned a new study showing that the cost of an average politician has soared exponentially over the past decade.
While the American family has seen increases in the cost of food, health care and education, Mr. Adelson says, "those costs don't compare with the cost of buying a politician, which has gone through the roof."
The casino billionaire points to his group's study, which puts the cost of purchasing an average House member at two million dollars and an average senator at several times that.
"And let's say you buy a Senator like [South Carolina Senator] Jim DeMint and he decides to quit," Mr. Adelson says. "Good luck trying to get your money back."
The Vegas magnate complains that the media has ignored billionaires' essential role in giving jobs to politicians who would otherwise have difficulty finding "honest work of any kind."
"Billionaires are providing employment for a group of seriously incompetent and marginal people," Mr. Adelson says. "You raise taxes on us, and who's going to create those jobs? I really don't think people have thought this through."
Adding insult to injury for America's billionaires, he says, "the simple dream of someday owning a President is slipping out of reach."
"People think a billion dollars buys you a President, but they're wrong," he says. "It barely gets you a lemon like Mitt Romney."