Should U.S. bring back the Fairness Doctrine?
Support Bill: Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA)
Originally Introduced by U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, New York Democrat
Originally H.R. Bill 109-3302 (which went nowhere in the previous Congress)
Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA)
Sponsor: Maurice Hinchey (D-NY)
The Media Ownership Reform Act seeks to restore integrity
and diversity to America's media system
by lowering the number of media outlets that one company
is permitted to own in a single market.
The bill also reinstates the Fairness Doctrine
to protect fairness and accuracy in journalism.
Restores Broadcast Ownership Limitations
Nearly 60 years ago, the Supreme Court declared
that "the widest possible dissemination of information
from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public,
that a free press is essential to the condition of a free society."
And yet, today, a mere five companies own the broadcast networks,
90 percent of the top 50 cable networks,
produce three-quarters of all prime time programming,
and control 70 percent of the prime time television market share.
One-third of America's independently-owned television stations
have vanished since 1975.
Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA)
Co-Sponsor: Diane Watson (D-CA)
Since the passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act,
the number of radio station owners has dropped 34%,
while in almost every market, less than five companies
control over 70% of the market share.
Time to Reclaim the Media
But the fight is not over yet. In July 2005
I re-introduced the Media Ownership Reform Act of 2005
with Congressman Maurice Hinchey.
MORA is a broad measure that seeks to undue
the massive consolidation of the media
that has been ongoing for nearly 20 years.
It restores the fairness doctrine,
reinstates a national cap on ownership radio stations,
and lowers the number of radio stations
one company can own in a local market.
It further reinstates the 25% national TV ownership cap,
requires regular public interest reports from broadcasters
and provides for more independently produced programming on television.
The bill establishes new public interest obligations
to ensure broadcasters are meeting the needs of a local community
it is now up to Congress to establish statutory limitations
on media consolidation and provide clear guidance
to the Federal Communications Commission as it initiates
a new rule-making proceeding on media ownership.
as of 2005
Who Owns the Media
The Big 8
Here are a few Charts to illustrate the Media Numbers:
Major Media Owners - 2005 Revenues (in Billions)
Makes one think with 3% of the total GNP in their coffers,
Media Companies could afford to hire a few real reporters?
Maybe even staff a real News Division, focused on real News?
Clear Channel Communications Inc. Profile
News Corporation Profile (Rupert Murdoch, Fox News)
America's Leading Media Companies
The Top 20 U.S. Media Owners
Why this matters?
as The Independent in the U.K reported:
Bush 'planted fake news stories on American TV'
By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
Published: 29 May 2006
Federal authorities are actively investigating dozens
of American television stations for broadcasting items
produced by the Bush administration and major corporations,
and passing them off as normal news.
Some of the fake news segments talked up success
in the war in Iraq, or promoted the companies' products.
The report, by the non-profit group Centre for Media and Democracy,
found that over a 10-month period at least 77 television stations
were making use of the faux news broadcasts,
known as Video News Releases (VNRs).
Not one told viewers who had produced the items.
The range of VNR is wide.
Among items provided by the Bush administration to news stations
was one in which an Iraqi-American in Kansas City
was seen saying "Thank you Bush. Thank you USA"
in response to the 2003 fall of Baghdad.
The footage was actually produced by the State Department,
one of 20 federal agencies that have produced and distributed such items.
I wonder why we haven't heard about these VRNs in the US Media?