Tonight in Pittsburgh people from around the city will come
together at a public town hall to discuss the future of
media and journalism. The event will be an opportunity for the people of
Pittsburgh to speak directly to Rep. Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) and FCC Commissioner
Michael Copps about the state of local news.
This fall marks a critical moment for the future of our airwaves.
The FCC is gearing up to review its media-ownership rules and faces massive
industry pressure to remove the remaining public-interest protections and pave
the way for more industry consolidation.
The federal appropriations for the Corporation for Public
Broadcasting are determined two years in advance to help insulate the CPB from
congressional budget bickering. But now we are confronted with the odd paradox
that one part of Congress — the Super Committee that grew out of the
debt-ceiling debate — is likely debating cuts to public broadcasting even as
a Senate subcommittee this week approved an increased budget for 2014.
Current.org reported this week that “If CPB survives 'til , it would receive $445 million,
the same as appropriated for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 but $6 million below
President Obama's request.”
Last week’s Constitution
Day celebrations sparked a flurry of news and debates about the role of the
First Amendment in our society. On its surface, the First Amendment embodies
the sort of apple-pie American value that all people tend to agree with. It’s
fundamental to our democracy and has been our media’s defining characteristic
since the nation’s founding. However, what became clear throughout the course
of the week was that the First Amendment is a contested terrain, and the
technological and economic changes shaping our media are also shaping new
understandings and implications of freedom of speech and the press.
On Tuesday Comcast Executive Vice-President David Cohen
and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, along with
D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray,
announced a plan to provide low-cost broadband to families eligible for the
National School Lunch Program.
It happened with little fanfare, but another nail was banged
into the coffin of the unlamented AT&T/T-Mobile merger last week when
attorneys general from seven states joined the Department of Justice’s lawsuit
to block the deal on antitrust grounds.
UPDATED 9/16/11: Now with additional campaign contribution data.
Maybe it’s the water in Washington that’s making people silly. Or maybe it’s AT&T’s hefty campaign spending. Either way, something’s got people believing AT&T when it says that up is down, green is red, 1 + 1 = 3 — and that its proposed takeover of T-Mobile would be good for America.