Public broadcasting has
survived another bruising round of attacks, thanks to the enormous outcry from
all corners of the country and across the political spectrum. Thanks, in other
words, to you.
As we gathered in Boston
earlier this month with 2,500 other media reform advocates at the National
Conference for Media Reform (NCMR), the White House and Congress were on the
verge of a possible government shutdown. The last minute deal our lawmakers
struck included roughly $40 billion in cuts to an array of vital programs, but
NPR and PBS were taken off the table. After hearing from millions of Americans,
lawmakers got the message.
On election night
in the fall of 2000 I was serving with AmeriCorps in Adirondack Park in upstate
New York. I was stationed at an old logging camp, now owned by the state, and
spent my days serving as a teacher and mentor in a local school. We got our
electricity from a generator and we didn’t have any access to cable TV or high
speed internet. So that night, my fellow AmeriCorps members and I huddled
around a small transistor radio in our kitchen and listened to the drama of
that contentious election play out on North Country Public Radio. It was our
only access to the outside world, our only reliable source of local, regional
and national news.
Americans radically overestimate the amount of federal funding that goes to NPR and PBS, but still have overwhelming support for that funding.
This weekend, Talking Points Memoreported on a new CNN survey assessing Americans' understanding and perceptions of the U.S. budget and government spending. The poll comes just days before a potential government shut down as the House and Senate battle over spending cuts for the rest of 2011.
Here at Free Press, we see a lot of problems with AT&T’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile. The massive merger will eliminate competition in an already concentrated wireless market. It would leave two behemoths — Verizon and the newly bloated AT&T — in control of nearly 80 percent of that market, with Sprint a distant third.
Television stations have been getting
away with airing fake news for far too long. But this week the
Federal Communications Commission clamped down on the practice at two
The FCC fined a pair of television
stations for airing commercials masquerading as news segments. These
video news releases (VNRs) are advertisements produced to be
virtually indistinguishable from news stories and distributed to
television news departments, and they violate the FCC’s
longstanding “sponsorship identification” rules when they are
aired without disclosing their origins.
AT&T wants you to think that its takeover of T-Mobile will lower your wireless bills and give you more choices for plans. Industry analysts are already filling our TV screens with prognostications to prop up AT&T’s promises of a bright new wireless future.