While Bill O’Reilly and the Fox Newsies hype their faux War on Christmas, their behind-the-scenes boss, Rupert Murdoch, is poised to receive some major gifts this month from the United States government in the form of a change in FCC rules that would allow him to buy the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, the major papers in the nation’s second- and third-largest cities (where, incidentally, Murdoch already owns TV stations). This rule change was attempted in 2007, under the George W. Bush administration, but was repealed by the Senate and overturned by a federal court after a big public outcry. Now, the Obama administration is considering the same changes. We join with Free Press in urging that you speak out against this change.
In an excellent article in Truthout, Thom Hartmann and Sam Sacks note that right now, five major media companies, one of which is Murdoch’s News Corporation, own the majority of American media. If the FCC loosens the ownership rules, more consolidation would likely follow. We already know that Murdoch is looking to beef up his U.S. holdings.
Hartman and Sacks highlight Italy as an example of the dangers of media monopolies to democracy:
You remember Silvio Berlusconi? He started out as a cruise boat lounge singer and small-time hustler. But then he bought a newspaper, then a small television station, then a radio station, then another TV station, then another newspaper, then another radio station, then another TV station, then another newspaper, then a radio network, then a TV network, and suddenly Berlusconi ended up owning about 95 percent of all the media seen, heard, or read in Italy.
And with control of the information in Italy, Berlusconi decided to run for Prime Minister, and wouldn’t you know it – he won!
Although it’s very unlikely Rupert Murdoch will be running for president, there's no doubt that his Fox News Channel operates as a communications outlet for the Republican Party. We also know that he has not hesitated to interfere with American politics. There is every reason to be concerned about what might happen if this man got even more of our precious media resources.
Please go to FreePress.net and join their campaign to oppose relaxation of media ownership rules.
Our very democracy could be at stake!