Saturday, September 16, 2006

Human Interest Story

Yesterday, the always excellent NPR reporter David Folkenflik reported on how the FCC had quashed its own report on media consolidation, because the study it commissioned -- contrary to the administration's pro-business claims -- showed that local news coverage was negatively impacted by corporate ownership of multiple media channels in the same regional market. According to the Los Angeles Times article "FCC Lawyer Says TV Study Was Hushed," no one at the FCC seems eager to take responsibility for burying the results that demonstrated a statistically significant effect from media consolidation, measured in the loss of about five minutes of local news coverage in a typical broadcast once the corporate giants take over.

The original 2004 report is now posted on the FCC website. The charts and graphs at the back leave something to be desired, but the basic information design of the report makes the point pretty clearly. The Chairman's apology for the cover-up, addressed to Senator Barbara Boxer, which is also on the FCC site, is a remarkably tepid document and seems about as sincere as the apologies issued by local telecommunication companies and Internet Service Providers after they've forced their customers to endure endless waiting for shoddy service.

(Take that Verizon, Earthlink, Time Warner, and all of the carriers who have made blogging this month a nightmare. I'm not going to post audio clips or video clips, like other dissatisfied customers, but I'm pretty tempted to use this forum for the purpose of complaining about the farce that passes for broadband service in the United States. See the muckraking of the New Networks Institute to learn how we are all actually paying for the privilege of monopolistic abuse with our taxpayer dollars. Lucky us!)



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