Is Anybody Listening? | Letters | Chicago Reader

Is Anybody Listening? 

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Dear Mr. Miner,

You first announced on March 21 [Hot Type] that a public forum would be held on new changes being made by the FCC that would, among other things, enable newspaper companies to own television and radio stations in the same local market. Then, on April 18 you bitched out the dailies for not covering the forum. "The working press stayed home," you say. But that was expected. My question is, where were you?

The consequences of the FCC laxing its media ownership rules were debated at length but were never addressed in your column. You too stayed home, kept your job, and turned a blind eye to the dangerous reality of today's media conglomerates.

It's no wonder that the Tribune Company wants deregulation. The bubblegum/baseball/media corp. hid behind the Constitution to justify its support, writing in a March 9 editorial, "This newspaper's view is guided by a belief that government restrictions on newspaper and television ownership smack of an infringement on freedom of the press."

Give me a break! The Tribune Co. sees dollar signs, as does the rest of our country's already tiny handful of information providers.

Gee Eee, what's the problem with Clear Channel owning 1,400 radio stations? Gee Eee, what's wrong with obese media conglomerates getting even fatter? Our local news exists solely to make profits and to serve the interests of their stockholders. Flip on the TV and count the corporate sponsors during a 30-minute local news program. Think that's baseball you're watching? Nope, that's an ad for U.S. Cellular, Miller Lite, and Insurance One all in a five-second news clip.

Now, FCC chairman Michael Powell (son of Colin Powell, appointed by President Bush) plans to take the crap that is already clogging our airwaves and force-feed it to us through a single straw. But it is easy to see the consequences of lifting the FCC rules will go beyond annoying product placement and into the realms of media censorship and government propaganda.

These were some of the concerns expressed at the public forum. Wish you were there.

Melissa Gibbons


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