Community Media: Selected Clippings – 08/03/07

J-Ro’s on T.V. asking, “Where do the candidates stand on media consolidation?”
The Seminal
—>   Because the mainstream media has an inherent bias against reporting media consolidation issues (as they are all big media outlets themselves), you don’t see a lot of coverage in the papers or on television. Instead, you have to take a look at official campaign literature and individual statements to find out positions. Here’s what they seem to be saying.

Hillary Clinton has come out against charging for email and pledged to bridge the digital divide. She has also voted against the FCC when it tried to raise ownership caps on television and radio stations. She is also for net neutrality. Barack supports net neutrality as well, though not explicitly on his campaign website. He has tackled media consolidation and diversity in media ownership as well, bringing both front runner’s positions in line.

The other candidates, unsurprisingly, have similar positions. John Edwards is for Internet access for all Americans and Bill Richardson has supported broadband access in his home state of New Mexico. Chris Dodd and Mike Gravel are for net neutrality while Joe Biden is unfortunately against it. Dennis Kucinich perhaps goes the farthest, calling for free airtime for candidates, increased viewpoint diversity, ownership caps, low power FM radio, and public access to media. Unlike the others, he is far more specific in his plans, giving him an edge in my view.

The candidates positions are very spread out, and none of them really cover all the basic media consolidation issues in their speeches or on their websites. With the exception of Kucinich, no candidate really has a concrete plan for solving any of the issues. On top of that, with most candidates holding elected office, little has been actually done. Net neutrality legislation is still not law, the FCC did not fully endorse open access by failing to force auction winners to provide wholesale access for competing systems, and media conglomerates are getting bigger, as last week’s acquisition of Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal by News Corp. clearly illustrates. I wonder where the candidates stand right now on media consolidation issues and what specifically they plan to do about it. Tomorrow, I’ll have a chance to ask them.

Tune into the Yearly Kos convention via UStream at 1 pm central time and see the candidates answer my questions about media consolidation. If we’re lucky, the debate will be broadcast on CNN, NBC, and C-SPAN as well. I hope you’re as interested in their answers as I am.

Bill to limit broadband fails
by Fiona Morgan
Indy (NC)

Chapel Hill’s hopes of offering public Wi-Fi Internet access are safe—along with other municipalities’—after the N.C. House Finance Committee scrapped a proposal that would have severely limited local governments in offering Internet or other communications services (see “Anti muni-broadband bill moves forward”).   —>
Danbury’s “Fighting Dems” invade Comcast
Hat City Blog (CT)

I attended the taping of Ivon Aclime’s “Ideas at Work and Beyond” featuring Mayoral candidate Helena Abrantes, 2nd ward candidate (and the person Mayor Boughton quotes as “not doing his homework”), Ken Gucker, and the person who will finally give the so-called City Clerk Jean Natale her long overdue walking papers, City Clerk candidate Eileen Coladarci.

… All in all, it was possibly the most informative insight into Abrantes outlook for Danbury to date and if the response to the show is any indication, one should not take this election lightly.  The show is available for viewing over at the Ideas at Work and Beyond website .

The kids show off their new gear as they learn to shoot a video
Busy Week for EB
by Paula M. Donnelly
South Shore Express (MA)

The local television station was alive with visitors this week, and Director of East Bridgewater Public Television Russ Hannagan was glad for the company.  Hannagan played host to a variety of children while he taught them the art of video during his annual Kids Camp. Longtime friend and colleague Fred Gitlitz, a documentary maker from Falmouth, also paid a visit.   —>

Public invited to see recommendations to improve city schools
Commercial Dispatch (MS)

The public is invited to attend Columbus Municipal School District’s administrative retreat in the Columbus Municipal Complex Saturday, beginning at 8 a.m…  Parents and interested community members who can’t make it to the meeting will be able to watch it next week on local public access television, CableOne channel 3.

“We favor a public-private partnership approach”
by Michael Maranda

I’ve heard some variant of this phrase for a good while now, but, what does it really mean?

Becca Vargo Daggett has often addressed the vacuity of this meme… but I think we need to be more aggressive in disentangling the motives behind this phrase.

It’s pretty clear it’s either a point of rhetoric, or the result of framing that has been used to box out certain options.

I most recently heard the phrase at the Community Media Summit convened by the Benton Foundation and the Community Media Workshop (June 15, 2007). At the Summit the Chicago Report on Digital Excellence was unveiled. Rep. Julie Hamos stood up shortly following a comment by Gordon Quinn. The summit and the report had a strong focus on the questions of Municipal Wireless and other communications infrastructure.

Gordon asked a very clear question as to the presence or lack of political will to just provide the infrastructure ourselves, as a city. (I’ll pass over the near deafening silence this was met with, though this is the crown that should most clamor for it.)

Rep. Hamos praised the vision articulated in the Digital Excellence report and cited the need for a similar bold vision and plan for the state of Illinois. She commented that the sentiment among the political establishment is a preference for public-private partnership in the field of communications/network provision, rather than direct public investment of the sort Gordon proposed.

In telecommunications and other new networks, the community, the public, the people will always pay for the network in the long run, and generally speaking, they will pay many times over. There is no getting around that. We will pay for the networks. Should we subsidize their build-out?

So, what is behind the language of the public-private partnership?

One thing is certain, public officials (and perhaps much of the public) have lost an appreciation for the meaning of public utility. Many of the entities we formerly regarded as public utilities have been deregulated, or operate with minimal regulation.

Criticism of the situation marks one as anti-business or anti-corporate. These are not strictly the same thing, but that is part of the point… the view that Business is Business is Business conflates all business interests in one frame.   —>

compiled by Rob McCausland
Director of Information & Organizing Services
Alliance for Community Media

Explore posts in the same categories: broadband policy, election programming, media diversity, media ownership, municipal broadband, municipal programming, PEG access TV, public access television

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