RSN August 14 Fundraising
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Gibson writes: "It doesn't take a genius to look around and see that power is clearly corrupt, the voice of the people is being silenced, and that the media has become the voice of the power they're supposed to hold accountable."

Should the media conglomerates be broken up? (image: unknown)
Should the media conglomerates be broken up? (image: unknown)



FCC: Break Up the Big Media Monopoly

Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News

08 May 12

 

Reader Supported News | Perspective


ouston rapper Pimp C of UGK had a phrase that he frequently used for Texas rappers whom he felt inadequately represented his state.

"You embarrassin' us."

The same could be said for today's spineless, weak-kneed, irrelevant mainstream media.

In a functioning democracy, the media is the people's voice, and the entity responsible for holding power accountable. Without a free media fairly scrutinizing the decisions of political and economic power brokers and bringing important events to light, elected officials and corporate CEOs would be corrupt and unaccountable to the people.

It doesn't take a genius to look around and see that power is clearly corrupt, the voice of the people is being silenced, and that the media has become the voice of the power they're supposed to hold accountable.

The media isn't reporting on the fact that the FDA, the federal agency charged with inspecting the food that ends up on the shelves at our stores, has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of agribusiness giants. Monsanto gets their hazardous GMO crops sped through FDA approval processes to increase their sales revenue while potentially hurting all of us. And, despite dangerous amounts of E-coli and other diseases coming up in poultry, the FDA is letting chicken processing plants inspect their own product. Instead of informing the public of what they were eating, mainstream news pundits were busy obsessing over the latest of many outrageously stupid remarks that came out of Herman Cain/Rick Perry/Rick Santorum's mouth.

There was nary a peep in mainstream newspapers and cable news channels when tens of thousands of people took over their city streets during the Occupy movement's May Day protests as part of a global citizen-led resistance against austerity and corporate-controlled government. Even though Occupy Wall Street pressured Governor Cuomo to implement a millionaire's tax he initially opposed, even though the Israeli youth movement pressured their government to make the richest citizens pay their fair share of taxes, even though hundreds of thousands of students in Canada protested against austerity as part of the nation's biggest demonstration in history, the mainstream news media was laser-focused on telling their readers that the US government had heard the demands of a lone Chinese activist, and was willing to meet him on his terms.

News came out this week showing that corporations made a record $824 billion last year, and CEOs made 231 times more than their workers in 2011. Instead of being like their independent counterparts and reporting on the fact that the income gap in the United States is wider than even in Uganda, Ecuador and Rwanda, the conventional media was too busy covering Newt Gingrich's departure from the tiresome 2012 horse race, er, presidential election.

While it's easy to be a snobby media connoisseur and turn up our noses to the mainstream media, this problem is too grave to ignore and too easy to solve. The reason the bulk of the most important information won't ever reach the exact people the Occupy movement is reaching out to is because 90% of all media Americans consume is owned by six corporations. To put that in perspective, 232 executives at GE, NewsCorp, Disney, Viacom, Time Warner and CBS are deciding what 277 million Americans will watch, read and listen to every day. That's one media executive for every 850,000 subscribers.

There's an easy fix that doesn't involve new legislation or Constitutional amendments: make the government do its job. Since 1995, the FCC forbade any company from owning more than 40 stations. Currently, Clear Channel owns 1,200 radio stations. We have antitrust laws already in place that broke up colossal monopolies like the kind Standard Oil had in its heyday. Why should big media monopolies be exempt from those laws?

Of course, making the government do its job means putting people in office who will do the people's bidding, rather than the current crop of corporate puppets financed by corporations, who will do everything they can to deregulate corporate power while in office.

Like the banks, the media shouldn't be too big to fail. By breaking up big media companies into smaller entities that are forced to compete with each other, we'll end up with fairer, more accurate coverage, and a more informed voting public. And, chances are good that a more informed public will undo past mistakes of voting for politicians who sold them out to the highest bidder.


Carl Gibson, 25, is co-founder of US Uncut, a nationwide creative direct-action movement that mobilized tens of thousands of activists against corporate tax avoidance and budget cuts in the months leading up to the Occupy Wall Street movement. Carl and other US Uncut activists are featured in the documentary "We're Not Broke," which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. He currently lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut. You can contact Carl at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , and listen to his online radio talk show, Swag The Dog, at blogtalkradio.com/swag-the-dog.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

Comments   

We are concerned about a recent drift towards vitriol in the RSN Reader comments section. There is a fine line between moderation and censorship. No one likes a harsh or confrontational forum atmosphere. At the same time everyone wants to be able to express themselves freely. We'll start by encouraging good judgment. If that doesn't work we'll have to ramp up the moderation.

General guidelines: Avoid personal attacks on other forum members; Avoid remarks that are ethnically derogatory; Do not advocate violence, or any illegal activity.

Remember that making the world better begins with responsible action.

- The RSN Team

 
+37 # RMDC 2012-05-08 16:19
You are right, Carl. US mass media is disgusting. When anyone uses the phrase "free press" about the media in the US, they mean the "free market press" -- that is, the media owned by huge multinational corporations whose job is to keep americans ignorant and stupid. And they do a damn good job of that. But it is the wrong job. Americans need an independent press. For now, the internet works pretty well. There are enough independent voices on the net. But they are busy constructing ways to hand the internet over to the corporate giants.
 
 
+18 # victor7c 2012-05-08 17:55
As a former member of the media, ABC and NBC Radio News as well as ESPN Radio, I am embarrassed. Now I sell plaques for a living to people who have been in "good news."
 
 
+20 # paulrevere 2012-05-08 22:33
I propose that OWS across the nation organize CONSTANT marches and protests at the front doors of all the media in their areas...day after day, every day...promote members to write, call and complain, day after day, every day.

These money and fame grubbing air heads are doing as much to wreck the social and political structure of the United States of America as bushco and criminals in Congress/Legisl ative/Executive have ever done!!

FOOLS...DELUDED FOOOOOLS!!
 
 
+19 # chrisconnolly 2012-05-08 22:44
And now even public broadcasting is required to run attach political ads. And their funding is always threatened, making them more needy when it comes to sponsors.
 
 
+2 # paulrevere 2012-05-08 23:11
They've been sotted with rw activism internally since the Clinton...I quit listening more than a decade ago...AFTER 20 years or more...a sad admission at the time.
 
 
+4 # readerz 2012-05-09 07:25
But public broadcasting rarely reports anything other than what the other big media report on. Examples cited above: that FDA approval of GE crops, the May Day protests, the record amount of money made by corporations. Rarely, NPR will get a story that has real information, but the next day, back to same ol'.
 
 
+8 # m... 2012-05-08 23:07
I think the concentration of all Media Enterprises in America among fewer and fewer Corporate Entities, too often-- GLOBAL Corporate Entities beholden exclusively to their Global Shareholders, is a major force behind Our rapidly declining Republic, Our crumbling American Dream, Our shrinking Middle Class, Our collective declining Standard of Living, Our fading Status as a Beacon of Freedom, Our lost sense of National Well Being, as well as Our increasingly harsh National Divisions, and the severe Concentration of Wealth among fewer and fewer people while our Infrastructure and our Democracy falls into ruin.
Ask yourselves... What does it mean to America when almost all the pipelines for so-called 'Free Speech' and our so-called and Constitutionall y mandated 'Free Press' are owned and easily exploited by fewer and fewer Global Corporate Entities acting in their own best interest..?
Regulations somewhat like those proposed in this article used to exist. America used to have a Fairness Doctrine in Media which was done away with under the Reagan Administration.
Its all been downhill from there as rampant deregulation schemes have also led to levels of Media Ownership Concentration hardly anyone can defend with a straight face.
I think the article should be widely copied and pasted to emails which are then sent by Citizens to their evermore 'remote', so-called Representatives .
 
 
+6 # redjelly39 2012-05-09 00:05
The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations - own 90% of all radio/TV - Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) -- now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric's (Comcast) NBC is a close sixth.

There is a powerful force that's getting in the way of our thriving.
It's a select group of financial elite who are centralizing material wealth and power for their own benefit, while destroying the lives of billions of others. Their worldview is riddled with fear and ignorant of the abundance of nature and the love and interconnectedn ess that is our essence.

Thrive - http://www.thrivemovement.com/the_movie - you can follow the money to see how the same people are gaining financially in every sector of human life. You can also see how an agenda for global domination is being accomplished, and the kind of deceptive strategies and tactics that are being used to further our suppression.

It can be challenging to confront the cruelty of this global domination agenda, but it’s only by recognizing the true nature of the threats to our freedom that we can be empowered to act effectively. Its up to US to understand & take action - together...
 
 
+7 # seeuingoa 2012-05-09 01:03
The average American is as complacent
as a seriously senile elderly person
being fed by an equally complacent media.

And how can it be different, when the
few investigative journalists mainly are
writing for alternative media that the
average American never sees.
 
 
+6 # infohiway 2012-05-09 02:02
Great idea that ain't happening nor going to.

G.E., for example, tells the U$G and the FCC what to do, where to do it plus when to get off.

The notion that they'd merrily dump, split or divorce NBC etc is ridiculous.
GOOGLE: "Mike Ruppert" to see who's in total control and learn exactly why drugs will not be legalized.
 
 
+9 # NOMINAE 2012-05-09 02:44
Perhaps this author is too young to recall that the FCC was "defanged", defunded, and de .... uh, "neutered" by W. Bush lackey Michael Powell, son of Bush's Secretary of State, Colin Powell.

But, if the author somehow "missed it", that's what research is for, and research is what reporters do.

Michael Powell, as Head of the FCC, literally "threw open the doors" to the six corporations named above, and everyone like them, in spite of all the laws in place to prevent outfits like Clear Channel, etc. etc., from buying up all the radio, newspaper and TV outlets in the same market.

The author is totally correct in his observation that "the fix is in", (it *has been* for some years now), and that "something should be done", but calling on the FCC as a possible "solution" to the problems he outlines would be like fighting fire with gasoline.

This Nation has "been there, done that" with the FCC, and the results were *exactly* the conditions the author abhors in his article above.

The FCC has been a beaten, starved-out, shadow puppet of an agency for *many* years now. Destroying the FCC as an effective agency was literally the *first step* in the corporate take over of all media outlets that the author decries.
 
 
+2 # redjelly39 2012-05-09 04:13
There is a powerful force that's getting in the way of our thriving.

It's a select group of financial elite who are centralizing material wealth and power for their own benefit, while destroying the lives of billions of others. Their worldview is riddled with fear and ignorant of the abundance of nature and the love and interconnectedn ess that is our essence.

Thrive - http://www.thrivemovement.com/the_movie - you can follow the money to see how the same people are gaining financially in every sector of human life. You can also see how an agenda for global domination is being accomplished, and the kind of deceptive strategies and tactics that are being used to further our suppression.

It can be challenging to confront the cruelty of this global domination agenda, but it’s only by recognizing the true nature of the threats to our freedom that we can be empowered to act effectively. Its up to US to understand & take action - together...
 
 
+3 # Capn Canard 2012-05-09 05:38
Carl Gibson, well said. What is really frustrating is that no mainstream media is reporting this at all. Nothing. But then again, the Mainstream Media has been AWOL for 20-30 years, thanks to the push for more corporate consolidation. The Free Press is no longer pristine and virginal. Online sources like RSN do a decent job of accumulating other alternative sources. As does Alternet, TruthOut, Counter Punch, Truth Digg, and others. The real problem is the economic system that controls the whole of our Nation and invariably most of the world. We are captured: the best example of this is FaceBook and Google as they have stated that the product they "sell" is us, i.e. access to their members and users. WTF are we gonna do about it?
 
 
0 # X Dane 2012-05-09 17:00
Capn Canard, The "mainstream media" is not AWOL.....it is bought!!! When the OWS started, it was 2 WEEKS before they mentioned ANYTHING about it, and what WAS mentioned was derisive and contemptuous.

I am sure they hoped that the protesters would run out of steam, and the whole thing would die. What they most often report on is the confrontations with the police. And it seems the put the blame on protesters.

It is one miserable catch 22 situation,The media should report accurately about the wrongs committed by congress...read republicans.... They don't. and government should regulate the media and keep it from ballooning out of control....they don. So what the heck can we DO ???
 
 
+4 # Barbara K 2012-05-09 05:57
Absolutely, the Big Media Corps need to be broken up. They should also be able to be sued for putting out false info and defamation of character and slanderous remarks (ie: Sandra Fluke). We need to hold our news channels to higher standards and give us the NEWS, not their opinion of the news items.
 
 
+5 # Endo Fanera 2012-05-09 07:12
To me it is even more sinister that all newspapers carry the same AP items word for word. Somebody at a desk on Long Island is deciding for us what is news, what isn't and how it should be framed.
 
 
+4 # readerz 2012-05-09 07:19
There is a lot of foreign and multi-national corporate money in the big media, and that is an important part of the story. So is "campaign spending."

What is the costly component of campaigns? Ads on TV, but who is being paid? If millionaire candidate X spends a million dollars for ads on the corporation he owns, the money is simply being laundered from his right hand into his left, and is a conflict of interest.

The lack of action is a symptom of the broken approval process: Senate rules need 60 votes. Ten of the smallest states, with their 20 Senators, all very conservative, are the deciding factor in Cabinet appointments, making sure that the Cabinet (Justice Dept., FCC, FDA, etc.) is entirely composed of people more right-wing than Reagan. Senate rules must change (at the very least) so that a majority, 51 votes, rules. If states lose population, eventually state lines must be redrawn, or make another Constitutional fix.

All of America must stand together in a referendum on the media, but that will mean getting the word out that they are not getting important news. And unfortunately, many Americans don't care, or are brainwashed by Faux News.
 
 
+4 # infohiway 2012-05-09 08:53
G.E. OWNS NBC AND ALL SORTS.
YOU WILL NOT GET THE GLOBAL DRUG MONEY LAUNDERING TRUTH THERE.
How do you think an impoverished banana republic pays for: arms, roads, hospitals, schools, waterworks, electricity generation plants and grids plus other infrastructure outlays?
planeloads of cash flown in and no questions asked.
GOOGLE: "Mike Ruppert"
 
 
+2 # infohiway 2012-05-09 09:10
The biggest cover-up of all is the global drug money laundering 24/7/365.
Narconomics.
 
 
0 # uxmal 2012-05-09 12:24
Quoting infohiway:
The biggest cover-up of all is the global drug money laundering 24/7/365.
Narconomics.



I agree. There is a trillion dollar market in drugs and the launderers of the money are determined to keep the drug money flowing. Ergo Obama's war on medicinal marijuana. He is clearly doing the bidding of the cartels/launder ing banks who see their profits dwindling as this movement grows. He has been directed to staunch the expansion of this trend. BTW, please donate to RSN!!
 
 
+2 # Simonsez 2012-05-09 09:30
FCC is spineless and mostly beholden to the 1%. www.democracynow.org is one of the leading truthtellers of Alternative NonCo-opted Mainstream Media......as is RSN!
 
 
+5 # SueVan 2012-05-09 11:15
This may be one of the most important things to do--break up the media monopolies--but how can we pressure the FCC to act?
 
 
+2 # Billy Bob 2012-05-09 18:40
By keeping republicans out of office at every level and forcing the Democratic Party to become liberal again. That's it. That's the only way. No magic bullet. Just a lot of trudging along fighting tooth and nail for every elected office and never giving an inch. It isn't a sexy answer. It's the only one available though.
 
 
+1 # Billy Bob 2012-05-09 18:39
"Of course, making the government do its job means putting people in office who will do the people's bidding, rather than the current crop of corporate puppets financed by corporations, who will do everything they can to deregulate corporate power while in office."

There! There's your article. OF COURSE the FCC won't start doing its job suddenly because of the outcry of citizens. The monopolies that own the mass media are sympatico with the POLITICAL APPOINTEES who run the FCC.
 
 
0 # rockieball 2012-05-10 10:59
Considering the amount of TV I watch. I no longer have cable 100 channels 1/4 infomercials, 1/8 foreign language 1/4 24/7 news with it repeated 100 times a day followed by talking heads that tell you what you just heard. 1/8 useless programs like any reality show and those stupid talent shows. Dumb networks like TVland showing old programs that I did not mostly watch when they were new. ESPN was nice when it showed actual sports 24/7 not people talking it to death. Just on that alone we need to break up these monopoly ownership of networks.
 
 
0 # 4yourinformation 2012-05-10 19:23
The sickening 1% apologists in the MSM like douchebag David Brooks are destroying this country. THEY are responsible for the political environment that is misinforming people who don't have the time or awareness to even discover a Noam Chomsky or bell hooks or Howard Zinn. It's actually fallen to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher for contrary views...and this is sad.
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN