This Argument Is Just Soooo 20th Century

United Press International: Commentary: Media genie has left bottle
I could just fall back on the old “If Jesse Jackson’s in favor of it, I’m against it” argument, but really, how far out of step is the FCC when it is concerned about local ownership of the media when we can read newspapers from London on the Internet for free? Not to mention this whole thing called the blogosphere; it’s like having your own personal printing press and if you can tolerate BlogSpot it doesn’t cost anything, other than poor service.

There are so many ways to get news and entertainment these days I’m surprised the FCC doesn’t just relinquish control altogether. Oh yeah, then they’d be out of a job.

Twenty-five years ago we had three major networks with their news shows and our local paper. Today, there’s talk radio, three major news channels, various print outlets, the broadcast networks and the internet — which encompasses most of what all the others do.

The FCC should be done away with altogether. Free speech is alive and well and news is more plentiful than ever. That’s only going to continue.

“Too few people own too much media and with their political inclinations, they simply lock us out of the marketplace,” said the Rev. Jesse Jackson in a round of radio and television interviews last week. Jackson, who picketed outside the FCC office Washington Monday, said small independent stations cannot compete for advertising dollars with huge conglomerates.

He wrote a letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell, the son of Secretary of State Colin Powell, saying deregulation would lead to democracy-crushing consolidation that will remove diversity and localism from broadcasting and freeze minorities out of the media.

Monday’s 3-2 decision, along party lines with Republicans in favor, is a victory for big media like the Tribune Co. whose ownership of WGN-AM and WGN-TV in Chicago was grandfathered by the Tribune’s previous newspaper ownership.

WGN, in fact, stands for “World’s Greatest Newspaper,” and even opponents of media consolidation acknowledge Chicagoland has been fairly well-served by its hometown broadcast outlets. WGN is the flagship station of the Tribune-owned Chicago Cubs but since the 1990s you won’t find nearly as many Cubs games on free TV as there used to be. Channel 9 broadcast most local Major League games until the Tribune Co. co-founded the WB Network and primetime comedies and teenage soap operas relegated the majority of baseball games to CLTV, its cable outlet, or UHF stations.

Local media watchers expect the Tribune Co., which bought the Los Angeles Times for $8 billion in 2000, to quickly gobble up more television stations in Baltimore and Orlando.

The Tribune’s cross-ownership of television, radio and a major newspaper is accepted as part of the Chicago media landscape where four network owned and operated television stations and a host of independents provide competition, especially in news.

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