Did The FCC Try To Bury A Report It Didn't Like?

from the we're-all-ears dept

With media ownership questions being asked again at the FCC, this week there was another controversy concerning whether the FCC really looks at these issues fairly. mmrtnt submitted a story that's been making the rounds about how in his reconfirmation hearings, FCC chair Kevin Martin was asked about an FCC study from two years ago that supposedly made the case that local ownership of TV stations increased the amount of local news coverage. The controversy is that no one outside the FCC has ever seen this report, because someone within the FCC apparently ordered it to be destroyed (it's worth noting, of course, that Martin was not FCC chair at the time this happened). The theory being spread, not surprisingly, is that these results were not what the FCC wanted to hear, and making that info public would harm their plans to roll back the limits on TV station ownership in a specific location. However, soon after we read that article, Matthew Lasar submitted his own take on the story to us, which notes that the actual study doesn't necessarily support local ownership -- and there's data in there that suggests local ownership has its own problems. The "controversy" surrounds a section that notes local ownership leads to 5.5 minutes more of local news, than on TV stations that are nationally owned. It's easy to jump to the conclusion that this means local ownership is better, but that's not necessarily the case. That increase in local news might not be all that useful to viewers. In fact, as Lasar notes, one explanation in the report is that local ownership usually means political issues of great financial importance to the station owners get more airtime -- hardly a ringing endorsement for local ownership. Besides, what if television really isn't the best way to get local news? There are lots of explanations, so the report itself may not be the smoking gun some people seem to think it is -- but it still would be nice to find out why it was made to disappear.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 4:08am

    TAKE BACK THE COUNTRY....America should answer to the peoplle not media companies

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Peter R, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 4:53am

    Media Ownership

    Ownership of all our electronic and print media by a few mega-conglomerates does not serve the interests of democracy.

    Our media has cowered before the party in power afraid of losing "access" and has fed us the party line, refusing to expose the scandalous culture of corruption and the horrendous levels of incompetence that now exist in our federal government.

    These corporate, profit and acquisition motivated media conglomerates have fed us the misrepresentations, deceptions and outright lies of our elected and appointed officials without even the slightest attempt to investigate and expose truth and have therefore been the single largest cause of the political ignorance of our citizenry.

    Incuriousness starts at the top and spreads downward like a cancer unless interest is created by a truthful media, and America now has the disease of
    incuriousness. Our citizens in ignorance vote against their own interests and that of our country's, disbelieving of science and instead replacing the ability to think with misplaced faith.

    The lies and lies of omission supported by our media without contest have been bold enough and been retold often enough to become the "truth" in the eyes of Americans and the preplanned agenda of the far right extreme has come to fruition.

    How can our media be responsible to the public when it is owned and operated by a handful of politically motivated mega-corporations?

    It cannot.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 7:14am

    Re: Media Ownership... huh?

    Peter R,

    You've hit the nail on the head, but it was the wrong nail. The vast majority of the media is owned and operated by far left liberalists. While it is true that the media is being used for political and financial brainwashing of the general public, it is for the gain of the liberal interests and the pocketbooks of the few individuals who control the media.

    Let's look at CNN for example. If it were controlled by the right wing, would they have stayed on the air after "X"ing the VP and leaking "Ladies Room" talk over the President?

    They don't want to expose the corrupt nature of our government because they know for a fact which side is in it deeper (they know because they are paying half the bills).

    The lies and lies of omission supported by our media without contest have been bold enough and been retold often enough to become the "truth" in the eyes of Americans and the preplanned agenda of the far left extreme has come to the edge of fruition, just waiting for the Democratic party to reclaim power to move into checkmate. Why do you think that every time Bush sneezes people start calling for an impeachment?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 7:24am

    argg...

    i'm sick of all this political nonsense. sure, the majority of the media is owned, or at least influenced, by the political left. does this make the political right saints? absolutly not. the right is just as corrupt as the left, only in a different way.

    They don't want to expose the corrupt nature of our government because they know for a fact which side is in it deeper
    out
    what are you smoking? the right is absolutly corrupt. but that's not to say the left isn't. i'm sick of all you political sheep who think your side does no wrong. both sides are in it for the sake of the thickness of their own wallets.

    Why do you think that every time Bush sneezes people start calling for an impeachment?

    and why did they try to impeach clinton? bush's lies have been far more serious. to say the republicans don't operate with the same undermining, scumbag ways is to give a statement of utter absurdity.

    politics now-a-days is a joke. a joke with a very unfunny punchline.

     

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  5.  
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    Pikey, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 8:26am

    "However, soon after we read that article, Matthew Lasar submitted his own take on the story to us, which notes that the actual study doesn't necessarily support local ownership -- and there's data in there that suggests local ownership has its own problems."

    Maybe they ordered it destroyed because it was useless?

     

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  6.  
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    The angry one, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 8:34am

    Re: Take Back The Country

    The Solution is VERY simple. The Implimentation, is the hard part.

    America will NEVER come back to the"people" as long as the Supreme Court" and our Legislators consider Business a person

    When "The People" begin to pay more attention to the government than they pay to NASCAR or MySpace, then we will have the beginning of a government for the people.

    The solution; Prohibit ANY benefit (money, campaign backing or otherwise) from corporate interests to anyone in government, ANYONE.

    This must be codified by Congress, which is tantamount to asking a criminal to tell on himself. Until people begin to vote with the little brain power that Americans have left (from years of useless dribble, and controlled information fed through CORPORATE media) and push the Congress to do the Right thing it will continue to get worse.

    You vote for people in ALL elections, some of which, you can not even spell their name correctly (because you have not done ANY reading about them) Why, because they brought home some Pork money or they are "PRO LIFE" or they are "very Religious" give me a break. USE your brain vote for people that have the LONG term intersts of the REAL public not corporate interests and not what ever Sound bite will get them re-elected


    AND VOTE IN THE PRIMARY, OR YOU WILL HAVE NO GOOD CHOICE, IN THE GENERAL ELECTION

     

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  7.  
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    Stu, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 10:11am

    Take back the country

    Re: Media Ownership by Peter R
    "Ownership of all our electronic and print media by a few mega-conglomerates does not serve the interests of democracy."

    WOW! Great post, Peter.
    -----------------------
    Re: Take Back The Country by The angry one

    A great post by the angry one.

    The practice of a business entity being considered a person, goes back quite a ways - but was based on the misinterpretation of a judge's ruling that was published in a newspaper. Through subsequent court rulings based on this incorrect interpretation, it came to have the force of law through precedent. It is one of the most detrimental and corrupting forces in our country.

    Although the angry one's comments on voting are accurate, his solutions will not work in the future for the same reasons they haven't worked in the past - the reasons people vote the way they do (as he correctly says).

    All I can do is try to convince people to vote the way I do - and that is:

    ONCE AND DONE - If they are in office vote them out.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 10:57am

    Re: argg...

    You belief that Bush's lies are far more serious is just your point of view. Clinton's lies are a fact. And before you go showing me where Bush said something and it was wrong, being wrong does not equate to lieing.

    WMD's? Clinton said Iraq had them. We sold them to him. He used some of them against the Curds. We didn't find them, oh well.

    While you try to sound like you are unbiased in your dislike for both parties and are merely trying to balance out the evil, it is obvious which side of the fence you sit upon.

     

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  9.  
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    The angry one, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 12:06pm

    One last Reminder

    We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
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    TheDude, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re: argg...

    Heh, Clinton's "lies".

    Here's a gem for you buddy: It's not the fact that someone lies, it's WHAT someone lies about.

    For instance, I come into work Monday morning. Someone asks me how it's going. The true answer is "Horrible, I'd rather be anywhere than here, and I hate most of you". The answer that comes out of my mouth is "Good, and you?"

    Nobody cares about that lie. In fact, it is more socially acceptable to lie in that case than to tell the truth.

    You do realize that Clinton's approval rating went up during the whole Monica Lewinsky thing, right? Hit the low 70's, if I remember correctly. What's Bush at again? High 30's? Low 40's maybe?

    This is a democracy. We the people decide what we like, what we don't like, and what we wont stand for, and we decide as a collective. And we decided that we liked Clinton. A lot. And we think Bush is the worst President since Nixon.

    But you go ahead and keep blaming the liberals and Clinton, like your masters told you to. As long as it makes sense in your own head, that's all that matters, right?

     

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  11.  
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    Blah, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 3:57pm

    Heh

    "While you try to sound like you are unbiased in your dislike for both parties and are merely trying to balance out the evil, it is obvious which side of the fence you sit upon."

    And what side of the fence is that?

    "You belief that Bush's lies are far more serious is just your point of view. Clinton's lies are a fact. And before you go showing me where Bush said something and it was wrong, being wrong does not equate to lieing."

    But being wrong all the time...? And to have the nerve to instigate that Bush has never lied (laughable). Three great examples: 9/11, Iraq, and Katrina.

    Yes WMD get sold all the time. Hell, most of the guns that Afghanistan where using agianst us where sold to them BY us. (To help them ward off Russian troops when the whole "Desert Storm" shite was going down)

    To say the least, dont WATCH the news. Watch Cspan, send annoying letters speaking your honest views to the people who represent you! And if they dont listen send them over and over and over agian.

    My final comment: People who segregate just like Anonymous Coward are what's keeping open minded people from speaking thier views and actually having a discusion instead a flame off.

     

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  12.  
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    Lupis, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 3:59pm

    quote

    "When the Govrment fears the people there is Democracy. When the people fear the goverment there is Tyranny."
    Thomas Jefferson

    Do you fear?

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 7:31pm

    Kerry would've been a fine president, but think back to Al Gore in 2000. He turned out to be a FAR left paid insane joke screamid over stupid shit. Just think how he would've handled 9/11.

     

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  14.  
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    Miq, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 9:25pm

    Re:

    OK, what's your plan?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
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    Jules, Sep 16th, 2006 @ 10:59pm

    Re: quote

    quote by Lupis on Sep 16th, 2006 @ 3:59pm
    "When the Govrment fears the people there is Democracy. When the people fear the goverment there is Tyranny."
    Thomas Jefferson

    Do you fear?


    Yes, I have been in fear since Bush first took office. Especially now that my only child is a Marine serving in Iraq.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    Jim Clark, Sep 17th, 2006 @ 3:31am

    Re: Media Ownership

    "Ownership of all our electronic and print media by a few mega-conglomerates does not serve the interests of democracy."

    It also does not serve the necessity of free speach!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
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    Jim Clark, Sep 17th, 2006 @ 3:34am

    Re: Re: Media Ownership

    Speech (sp)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
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    MrPaladin, Sep 17th, 2006 @ 5:25am

    A breif note from our sponsor...

    Firstly I'll preface this with "I'm an Australian"... I see alot of this talk being tended by left and right comments where both sides are very passionate about their views...

    It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.
    Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC)

    Please be open to look at all forms of media... Tv, Radio, internet... soon you'll be able to see the slants in the storys, where fair and balanced is no longer given any weight and the story leans...

     

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  19.  
    icon
    paintballbob (profile), Sep 17th, 2006 @ 7:27am

    anyone ever read this?

    to go along with MrPaladin....

    "Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet it one, and those commoner natures who pursue either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never have rest from their evils - no, nor the human race as i believe - and then only will this our state have a possibility of life and behold the light of day."
    - Book 5 of Republic by Plato

    if you replace "king" and "kings and princes" with "president" and "politicians" you will get the underlying philosophy which could cure this government. Sadly i do not believe that this could occur...they are, as was stated before, too interested with their fiscal gains to be concerned with what their own constituency wants.

     

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  20.  
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    KarmasAgent, Sep 17th, 2006 @ 10:51am

    thank you very much for posting this buried gem...

    "...Lasar notes, one explanation in the report is that local ownership usually means political issues of great financial importance to the station owners get more airtime -- hardly a ringing endorsement for local ownership."

    - a fair assertion, owner of an asset will use all resources derived from that asset for further gain - be it professional, personal, or a disingenuous mixture of both.

    FORTUNATELY, conglomerate media organizations would never do that. For instance, you would never see a Rupert Murdoch-type start a right-wing... "news" organization and call it Fox News (playing cynically on America's subtle pre-existing acceptance of the "Fox" name derived from the well known "20th Century Fox" moniker) to be a mouth-piece for his chosen political party at the cost of fair coverage for issues or even truth. Were that to happen, I wonder if "Big Media" would then start to see kick-backs in the form of policy on issues such as media ownership, copyright and trade rules, and other regulatory issues.

    Nahhhhhhh, that would never work. There isn't enough widespread public support for such a socially corrosive situation. The only way you could pull that off is by dumbing down the electorate and playing to the uninformed masses and HOPE you can get them to hold ideas inherently opposed to what is actually in their best interest.

    Small media would SO do that, good thing we have big media to protect us from such ills.

     

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  21.  
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    KarmasAgent, Sep 17th, 2006 @ 10:58am

    thank you very much for posting this buried gem...

    "...Lasar notes, one explanation in the report is that local ownership usually means political issues of great financial importance to the station owners get more airtime -- hardly a ringing endorsement for local ownership."

    - a fair assertion, owner of an asset will use all resources derived from that asset for further gain - be it professional, personal, or a disingenuous mixture of both.

    FORTUNATELY, conglomerate media organizations would never do that. For instance, you would never see a Rupert Murdoch-type start a right-wing... "news" organization and call it Fox News (playing cynically on America's subtle pre-existing acceptance of the "Fox" name derived from the well known "20th Century Fox" moniker) to be a mouth-piece for his chosen political party at the cost of fair coverage for issues or even truth. Were that to happen, I wonder if "Big Media" would then start to see kick-backs in the form of policy on issues such as media ownership, copyright and trade rules, and other regulatory issues.

    Nahhhhhhh, that would never work. There isn't enough widespread public support for such a socially corrosive situation. The only way you could pull that off is by dumbing down the electorate and playing to the uninformed masses and HOPE you can get them to hold ideas inherently opposed to what is actually in their best interest.

    Small market independent media is in SUCH a better position to do that sort of thing than centralized conglomerates. Obviously. It isn't like when larger media corporations with more money at stake would ever view that they have that much more money to lose from competition or anything. And the FCC obviously knows what we don't - small media companies would then start treating their "news" segments as a policy platform and try to sell it as news. Again, I just don't see Big Media stooping to those levels, its all about the truth, facts, and dispersal of accurate information...

    And if you say otherwise I know a few people who would be HAPPY to take your name, phone number, address, television viewing habits, your general daily schedule, and any demographic information you're willing to provide to subtly help you come around to seeing things "right".

     

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  22.  
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    George Norwood, Sep 17th, 2006 @ 9:38pm

    Low Power Radio Stations

    The most prevalent example of the take over by mega corporations is the AM radio stations. Now almost all radio programming is automated and is feed nationally by satellite. There have more commercials than programs. Mostly, talk programs are tabloid styled or very biased. Infomercials can go on forever it seems. One solution is to allocate part of the AM broadcast band to low-power non-commercial radio stations. We would not only get diversity, but also get emergency information at a local level. For example, we had a criminal loose in our neighborhood. The police shut down a school, and this guy continued to walk the streets with a knife, but nothing was said on the radio. Is AM radio even close to serving the public?

     

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  23.  
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    PosterChild, Sep 18th, 2006 @ 2:40am

    Re: Media Ownership

    Uhm, Democracy=Mojority Rule. Concentration of media may not serve the "public" interest, though it DOES serve the interests of those who want to influence what is of interest to the MAJORITY, who rule in a "Democratic" system.

    Hostorically, DEMOCRACY has not workded! The PDB will use whaterver means they can to insure that the public's interests are marginalized when their interests are threatened.

    The PROBLEM as I see it is that the "Government" is acting as agents of the monied class by restricting the market for media access and distribution.

    Own as much MEDIA as you want, but restrict domination of media OUTLETS. Nowadays that would include liberalizing the broadcast and internet infrastructure that the "public" paid so hamdsomely for through government subsidy and taxation.

    BTW, that would also include public access to publicly funded university and "Government" research free of fees/taxes -double taxation

     

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  24.  
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    Matt Bennett, Sep 18th, 2006 @ 8:50am

    Eh, more local news usually means more local human interest stories.......and I don't find my local humans interesting. So no, I'd rather not.

     

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  25.  
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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased), Sep 18th, 2006 @ 1:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: argg...

    Clinton's approval ratings went up during the Monica Lewinsky thing because all the fat women found out that they also have a chance to score with the President.

    As for more local news, I live in Iowa, there isn't enough interesting local news to fill up the current time allowed for local, let alone another 5 minutes.

     

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  26.  
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    lil'bit, Sep 22nd, 2006 @ 11:30am

    Left-wing media?

    I am so tired of hearing about the so-called Liberal Media. The past 6 years provide ample evidence that the media is either right leaning or, more probably, dollar leaning. That is, they go where the money is and distribute the news that is least likely to offend their customers - the advertisers.

    I can offer numerous examples of media's failure to report the lies and manipulations of the Bush Administration (and the misreporting done by the conservative media). I have never seen evidence or examples of the liberal bias that supposedly exists.

    The Liberal Media myth is one of those "truths" mentioned in one of these postings - even the postings arguing with Anonymus Coward agree that the media is tilted left only because we have had it pounded into our heads (by the Right - what a surprise!) not because there is any evidence to support the idea! Shame on you!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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