Oct
01
1995

The Military-Editorial Complex

Q. What do MacNeil/Lehrer's Mark Shields, U.S. News & World Report's Steve Roberts and Gloria Borger, syndicated columnist Haynes Johnson and former New York Times reporter Hedrick Smith have in common? A. They all receive a weekly paycheck from Lockheed Martin, the nation's largest military contractor. The pundits are paid to appear on a D.C.-area radio talkshow, WMAL-AM's Look at Today, that is sponsored by the conglomerate; their checks come directly from Lockheed Martin, a company spokesperson told Washington City Paper (8/4/95). Nationally prominent pundits don't usually appear as regular commentators on local radio shows, even in Washington, D.C. Local […]

Oct
01
1995

Bill Bradley: The 'Special' Senator

When Sen. Bill Bradley (D.-N.J.) announced he was retiring from the Senate, ABC News pundit Jeff Greenfield wrote a column (Dayton Daily News, 8/18/95) about how much "respect and admiration" the "political establishment," including the Washington press corps, has for him. One example Greenfield gives of the integrity that made Bradley "so special as a senator" was that he was the only Northern Democrat to support aid for the Nicaraguan Contras. And Greenfield notes that when Bradley "fought for simplification of the tax laws in 1986, no one ran to check the list of contributors to his campaigns to see […]

Oct
01
1995

The Power of the Cable Trust

One can hardly find a better illustration of the dangers of media monopoly than the relationship between Time Warner, TCI and CNN. CNN is generally thought of as the property of Ted Turner. In fact, to raise money in the 1980s, Turner sold a large stake in Turner Broadcasting--which owns CNN and other cable channels--to the cable system operators that carry the channels. The largest of these outside owners are Time Warner and Tele-Communications Inc. (TCI), the two largest cable system operators, which jointly control cable access to almost half of the U.S. homes that have cable. TCI President John […]

Oct
01
1995

The Great Spectrum Giveaway

In the late '80s, there was a lot of talk about "high-definition television" (HDTV)--a new generation of TV technology that promised cinema-quality images for home viewers. The catch was that the FCC would have to turn over to station owners vast amounts of unused broadcast spectrum space to carry the new data-rich transmissions. It sounded like a good deal to the Federal Communications Commission--particularly since, after a several-year transition period (allowing consumers time to buy new high-definition TV sets) the old-style TV channels might no longer be needed, and could be reassigned for other uses. In the past couple of […]