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Today a Democrat's scandal is BIG NEWS; Republican's  scandal seems a tiny blip.

Here is Breaking News:

House Probe of FCC Finds "Egregious Abuses of Power"A year-long Congressional investigation of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin found "egregious abuses of power," . . . . .

--------------  Details and Background are Below the Fold.

Update #1: ACTION LINK for making your voice heard:

Read and scroll down for links.....
What should the next FCC chair's top three priorities be?

-------------------- Do you ever wonder why your cable TV service costs so much and offers you so little choice?
Does your local media fail to report local news?  

  Corporate media never give the public the news we need when it comes to their own self-interest. For example, the limp reporting on today's breaking news about Republican Kevin Martin's egregious abuse of power at the FCC.


FCC’s Martin Has Created ‘Culture of Fear’
Report Finds Evidence of Data Manipulation, Suppression

What do former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and current FCC Chairman Kevin Martin have in common? Well, today the answer is: Bush buddies under fire for mismanagement, unethical practices and improper decision-making.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday issued a new report damning Martin’s oversight of the FCC. The committee helps govern the communications industry.

---------This is what first caught my eye about Kevin Martin and Catherine Martin, ambitious power couple and danger to American democracy.

The Great Media Gulp
New York Times 5/23/2003 By WILLIAM SAFIRE
WASHINGTON -- The future formation of American public opinion has fallen into the lap of an ambitious 36-year-old lawyer whose name you never heard. On June 2, after deliberations conducted behind closed doors, he will decide the fate of media large and small, print and broadcast. No other decision made in Washington will more directly affect how you will be informed, persuaded and entertained. His name is Kevin Martin. He and his wife, Catherine, now Vice President Dick Cheney's public affairs adviser, are the most puissant young "power couple" in the capital. He is one of three Republican members of the five-person Federal Communications Commission, and because he recently broke ranks with his chairman, Michael Powell (Colin's son), on a telecom controversy, this engaging North Carolinian has become the swing vote on the power play that has media moguls salivating.
the F.C.C. has abdicated enforcement of the "public interest" requirement in issuing licenses. Time was, broadcasters had to regularly reapply and show public-interest programming to earn continuance


"It’s an agency totally out of control," U.S. Representative Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat, told reporters today. Stupak released 110-page report today that he said portrays abuses including "suppression of information and manipulation of data."


House Committee on Energy and Commerce, titled "Deception and Distrust: The Federal Communications Commission Under Chairman Kevin J. Martin." (PDF)

The committee launched a bipartisan investigation in January after hearing allegations of mismanagement from current and former FCC employees, telecommunications industry representatives, and other FCC commissioners.
Some of Martin's actions have led to higher telecommunications prices for consumers, the report finds. The commission, it says, failed to provide proper oversight
The chairman's office, the report says, ignored evidence consumers were overcharged and providers were overcompensated by as much as $100 million a year. The neglect of that information led to a windfall of millions of dollars for the largest TRS provider
Martin manipulated information given to his fellow commissioners and Congress

Kevin Martin

Deputy General Counsel to Bush-Cheney 2000, on the Bush-Cheney recount team in Florida,

[Kevin Martin's wife, Harvard Law School classmate ]Catherine J. Martin . . . . . Counselor to Vice President Dick Cheney

-------------- 2007: "Would Make George Orwell Proud"

"Today’s Decision Would Make George Orwell Proud"—FCC Commissioner Michael Copps on the FCC’s Vote to Rewrite the Nation’s Media Ownership Rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted three-to-two on party lines last week to approve a measure that would increase media consolidation. The new rule pushed through by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin lifts a thirty-year old ban on companies seeking to own both a newspaper and television or radio station in the same city. Michael Copps was one of two FCC Commissioners to vote against the rule.

[Amy Goodman reported:]

It was Bush-appointed FCC Chair Kevin Martin. . . who rammed through the rule changes. He’s served President Bush well. As deputy general counsel for the Bush-Cheney campaign in 2000, he was active during the Florida recount. Before that, he worked for Kenneth Starr at the Office of Independent Counsel during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Rumor has it he may run for governor of his native North Carolina. His wife, Cathie Martin, was a spokeswoman for Vice President Dick Cheney in the midst of the scandal around the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame. She now works on Bush’s communications staff.
More about Kevin Martin's wife, Catherine:

Catherine Martin testified at Scooter Libby's trial by. . . . revealed some of the White House's communications
short version:

juicy version:

-------------------My previous diary on media reform, with excellent links to organizations fighting for our interests, the public interest:

-------Full disclosure: My eyes were opened by media activists when I  sat on a committeee with one of the old heroes of media reform from the Civil Rights Era --he had used his own priviledged position to end Jim Crow practices that had excluded African-Americans from obtaining FCC radio licenses in The Deep South. Media reform took great leaps forward for a while. But now, Big Money rules. Our committee was trying to buy a radio station to protect its unique format but, alas, we could not compete with the big money raised through major corporate sponsors favoring the most desirable demographic of 18-34 year olds. Corporate sponsorship rules American media.

   I hadn't been paying attention over the years. The media activists I worked with explained how The Reagan Administration eliminated the rules that "We the People" need in order to have a well-informed citizenry.  So quietly, with corporate media complicity.

Did you know that Gen. Colin Powell's son used 'the revolving door' to get rich after  George W. Bush promoted him to be head of the FCC?

I think Kevin and Catherine Martin hope to do well for themselves, in similar manner. Let's keep an eye on them.

-------P.S. Apologies for messy diary. My computer and I are on the fritz today. Otherwise I might have poured out the whole history of broadcasting and make you cry over what might have been............

Originally posted to LNK on Tue Dec 09, 2008 at 12:51 PM PST.

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