Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Willin' for the shillin'

Drudge has a statement from FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps on Sinclair Broadcasting's plan to air the anti-Kerry documentary Stolen Honor: Commissioner Michael J. Copps reacted to reports that Sinclair Broadcast Group will preempt more than 60 local stations across the country to air an overtly political program in the days prior to the Presidential election. Copps stated: “This is an abuse of the public trust. And it is proof positive of media consolidation run amok when one owner can use the public airwaves to blanket the country with its political ideology -- whether liberal or conservative." I don't recall any righteous indignation from the FCC for the previous four years of co-ordinated Bush-bashing coming from the news operations of CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN et alia, but surely that's just a strange coincidence, right? "Some will undoubtedly question if this is appropriate stewardship of the public airwaves. This is the same corporation that refused to air Nightline’s reading of our war dead in Iraq. It is the same corporation that short-shrifts local communities and local jobs by distance-casting news and weather from hundreds of miles away." Note which of Sinclair's two 'offenses' takes priority in his mind - not the arguably valid complaint of cutting local news coverage for small, regional stations, but refusing to carry a show that was, at heart, a forty-minute-long morale-sapping propaganda gift for the enemy. "It is a sad fact that the explicit public interest protections we once had to ensure balance continue to be weakened by the Federal Communications Commission while it allows media conglomerates to get even bigger. Sinclair, and the FCC, are taking us down a dangerous road." Hmmm. Well, he's an FCC Commissioner, right? This must be the final word on the subject. Except...not. Drudge didn't give the context, and I'm sure no media outlet picking up these comments (Where were they made? To whom? Just in a media scrum, or did he hold some sort of press conference?) will either, but he appears to have made these statements in his capacity as a private citizen; if they were part of an official FCC press releases, I suspect there might be some mention of it on their site. As of right now, I see no such press release for today - only notices of coma-inducingly-dull meetings on broadband infrastructure regulation. And who is Michael J. Copps, anyway? Copps served until January 2001 as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Trade Development at the U.S. Department of Commerce, where he was previously Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Basic Industries. Copps came to Washington in 1970, joining the staff of Senator Ernest Hollings (D-SC) and serving for over a dozen years as Chief of Staff. ...A Clintonista DNC hack, you say? Former chief of staff for the withered old jackass who shills for the protection of big media at the expense of the average consumer, and fears a Republican establishing democracy in the Middle East would damage the Democrats' lock on the Jewish vote? Fascinating. Perhaps Bush should have considered the other candidates for the appointment just a bit more carefully back in May 2001.

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