Commercial broadcasting has gone through stunning changes in recent years, as deregulation and consolidation have shifted the balance of power to a small handful of companies with interests and investments spread across the media landscape. Ironically, the changes have been most profound in radio, a medium ideally suited to local ownership and diverse content. That historic shift has inspired citizens to gather in San Francisco in September for the annual radio convention of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), the principal lobbying and membership organization of the commercial broadcasting industry. Activists will take to the streets to voice their opposition […]
The TV Industry
The news you are about to read is news you may never see on television. It's about an industry that has long had unrivaled clout on Capitol Hill, an industry that receives billions in corporate welfare, an industry whose gifts to -- and influence over -- Washington politicians dwarf the lavishly scrutinized Chinese or Indonesian efforts. Indeed, while many industries benefit from the current corrupt system of campaign finance, no other industry benefits more directly. And it's hard to think of an industry that is a bigger impediment to campaign reform. This story is about the television industry -- its […]
Media conglomerates hijacked telecommunications policy with millions in PAC contributions.
There's a Latin phrase that people use--cui bono--that translates as "for whose good?" It means that you can figure out who is responsible for a situation by looking at who benefits from it. Sometimes, though, it's easier to figure out who benefits by looking at who is responsible. This rule greatly simplifies the task of comprehending the sweeping Telecommunications Act recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. Supporters widely praised the bill as beneficial to the public at large. It would lower prices and improve service, they claimed, by allowing the giant conglomerates of the […]