Hollywood Gets Divorced While Rome Burns

by | Feb 11, 2007

We attended a fantastic symposium this morning in Savannah, courtesy of Savannah Country Day School. The speakers addressed one of the more pressing topics for our time—sustainability. Featured speaker, Robert Kennedy Jr., a hardcore environmentalist and brilliant speaker, also addressed another critical topic for our time—corporate control of government and media. Kennedy explained the history of the Fairness Doctrine, how it was dismantled by Ronald Reagan and the sorry state we’re in because of it.

Today, five huge corporations — Time Warner, Disney, News Corporation, Bertelsmann, and Viacom own 90% of the TV stations and radio stations in the U.S. This is a dangerous situation for the people of our nation. The founding fathers warned against it, and after WWII and the fall of fascism in Europe, the U.S. Congress legislated against it. According to the Museum of Broadcast Communications, the FCC took the view, in 1949, that station licensees were “public trustees,” and as such had an obligation to afford reasonable opportunity for discussion of contrasting points of view on controversial issues of public importance.

Of course, there are no such safeguards in place today, which is why we have propaganda where news once was. Thankfully, people are waking up from this nightmare and beginning to demand a free and fair press. U.S. Congressman from New York, Maurice Hinchey has introduced a bill that will restore the Fairness Doctrine.

Here’s “Article I” from Hinchey’s bill:

Our airwaves are a precious and limited commodity that belong to the general public. As such, they are regulated by the government. From 1949 to 1987, a keystone of this regulation was the Fairness Doctrine, an assurance that the American audience would be guaranteed sufficiently robust debate on controversial and pressing issues. Despite numerous instances of support from the U.S. Supreme Court, President Reagan’s FCC eliminated the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, and a subsequent bill passed by Congress to place the doctrine into federal law was then vetoed by Reagan.

MORA would amend the 1934 Communications Act to restore the Fairness Doctrine and explicitly require broadcast licensees to provide a reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.

Raw Story reports that concerns about monopolies and fears of a possible “fascist” takeover of the US media prompted the bill. Hinchey said, “This is a critical moment in history that may determine the future of our country…maybe forever.”

Hinchey blames the media for reporting false information that it is fed by the administration. “What lies will they tell in the future to jeopardize this democratic republic or even end this democratic republic? That is the objective of many of those involved.”