Posted by: Debby Durkee | July 15, 2010

Up next, a Media Czar?

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Up next, a media czar?

Let’s see, in a revolution or a coup detat, revolutionaries want to confiscate all of the guns and take over the press. So, in the United States of America, have our media decided to just give in to the Obama revolution? Or will they maintain their independence (such as it is in the mainstream liberal media)? We are truly living in frightening times. I remember reading about Hitler’s rise and wondering how the German people could have allowed such a thing to happen to their country. I no longer wonder. The old Edmund Burke quote is alive and well, and explains both Hitler’s rise and the rise of the fascists or progressives or communists that are taking over our country inch by inch: “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” If there are any good men left in the media, they’d better do something. This is from Claudia Rosett over at http://pajamasmedia.com.

You think there are problems now with the mainstream media? Just wait. Columbia University President Lee Bollinger joins the drumbeat of those proposing fixes that are guaranteed to make the MSM much, much worse — and he wants to do it with your tax dollars.

In a July 14th op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Bollinger argues that the time has come to rescue the declining fortunes of newspapers and broadcast news with “enhanced public funding for journalism.” He envisions the future of American journalism as a “mixed system,” part public, part private. Otherwise, worries Bollinger, Americans might not get the news they need. Absent a pipeline of government money, he fears the Fourth Estate cannot continue to perform its fabled function as a watchdog, prowling the globe and speaking truth to power.

But wouldn’t public money compromise the independence and impair the integrity of American journalism? Not to worry, says Bollinger, who believes the mission in mixing public money with news reporting is simply “to get the balance right.” As examples of what he considers terrific balance, he points to American public universities, and the British taxpayer-supported BBC. That’s a hoot, because both are notorious hotbeds of leftist bias. Maybe he should check out the 2007 report that  the BBC commissioned to look into itself — which concluded, as summarized in the UK by the Sunday Times — that the BBC “is an organization with a liberal, anti-American bias and an almost teen-age fascination with fashionable causes.” Or has Bollinger not worked around to reading any of the multiple private news sources that might have enlightened him on the rot at the BBC?

Behind Bollinger’s tender concern for the welfare of the Fourth Estate is a gross disregard for another institution vital to both the freedom and prosperity of American society: the free market. The most pernicious sentence in Bollinger’s article sounds weirdly akin to statements I heard in Russia 15 years ago from the dinosaur leftovers of the Soviet Communist Party, as they lamented the days when all truth was handed down by the Communist Party’s Central Committee newspaper, Pravda (this was during the brief window before the Russian government got back into the business of controlling the media).

Bollinger writes: “Trusting the market alone to provide all the news coverage we need would mean venturing into the unknown — a risky proposition with a vital public institution hanging in the balance.”

Yikes! Venturing into the unknown! Perhaps it is a truth undiscovered in the ivied turrets of Morningside Heights, but it is precisely in venturing into the unknown that private enterprise tends to excel. Markets give people the latitude to invent, take risks, pay for their own mistakes, and strive to make profits by producing things people will value. That’s why capitalist America has led the modern world in invention. Advances in technology have led to a shakeout in recent years in the handling of news coverage. (Anyone in pajamas with a laptop can now broadcast to the world.) The industry is now grappling with the question of how to make money in a far more fast-paced, multi-tiered competitive scene than anything we knew in the days of three TV channels, a couple of major newspapers, and no internet. But if the government simply refrains from sticking its clammy hands any deeper into the market, it’s a very good bet that people will devise ways to profit and prosper by competing to deliver the news people need (and want). Competition will do far more than any Washington media czar to preserve the institution of a healthy free press (or internet, or what-have-you). Fox News seems to be doing all right, via the amazing feat of recognizing that there’s a national audience for coverage that does not automatically tilt to the left.

The way America pulled itself out of the 19th century era of yellow journalism, when coverage was for sale, was that some publishers realized they could make money by offering the public reliable reporting. That was the origin, among other things, of the Wall Street Journal, back in 1882. The aim was to satisfy customers who needed honest news of Wall Street. It was left to the paying customers (not to the presidents of Ivy League schools, or the Federal Department of Lofty Bureaucrats) to judge whether the product satisfied their needs. They signaled their preferences by deciding — voluntarily — to pay for the newspaper, or not.

The Left destroys everything it comes in contact with. Its march through the institutions of the media, education, and the movie and television industries have nearly destroyed all of those institutions with their anti-American and anti-conservative bias. Their influence has left all of those institutions shells of their former selves.  If newspapers and broadcast networks want to survive in the media world, they need to provide a decent product to the American people that doesn’t talk down to them; ignore their needs and interests, and actually investigates corruption in government – not just when Republicans are in office, but especially when the Democrats are in office. Why is it that the those institutions run by the Left can’t make it in the free market? Because Americans aren’t left wing and don’t want the Left telling them what to do, to say or to believe, so they won’t support such institutions. That’s why Hollywood has to make money in other countries, because Americans don’t want to support America bashers.  Americans want the truth, and the Left is one big propaganda machine with a veneer of goodness and light. Please read the rest of Claudia Rosett here: http://pajamasmedia.com/claudiarosett/next-up-in-washington-a-media-czar/

Related: Free Speech, anyone?

So, we have those being taken over offering to rollover, as Columbia’s Bollinger in the above story, and then we have those who want to take over at the Federal Communications Commission moving in that direction. So, will they meet in the middle soon? You decide. This is from Mark Hyman at The American Spectator.

Any doubts about the administration’s designs on reducing First Amendment opportunities may no longer exist due to officials’ remarks and government actions including a recent decision by President Barack Obama. The administration’s resolve to tamp down dissent was signaled in a June 28th presidential memorandum that would lead to the end of all free, over-the-air television.

Fortunately for Obama he has various federal agencies, the Democrat-controlled Congress, a judiciary hostile to the Constitution, and a compliant liberal media at his disposal to help him usher in speech controls. Snip —

Obama’s Harvard Law School classmate and current Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski has been directing a multi-pronged effort aimed at increasing government control of news, information and entertainment.

First, is the FCC’s ill-conceived National Broadband Plan, which is designed to end local television broadcasters’ use of the electromagnetic spectrum (i.e. the radio spectrum) to deliver free, over-the-air television and eventually move the nation’s 1,600 TV stations to subscription-only platforms such as cable. Cable is a much easier to control than 1,600 geographically dispersed television transmitters.

The goal, claims Genachowski, is to make the spectrum available to other wireless platforms such as cellular telephones. The single largest beneficiary of the FCC scheme would likely be Verizon. Unfortunately for Genachowski, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg panned the NBP and found the FCC’s “looming spectrum shortage” claims to not be credible.

“I don’t think the FCC should tinker with this,” Seidenberg told the Council on Foreign Relations in April. “I don’t think we’ll have a spectrum shortage the way [the National Broadband Plan] suggests we will.”

To bolster support for its National Broadband Plan, the FCC announced a broadcast engineering panel to examine the technical aspects of its proposal. The June panel convened by the FCC was notable for who the Commission excluded — broadcast engineers. The FCC relented at the last moment after the Society of Broadcast Engineers waged a fierce PR campaign to be added. To exclude broadcast engineers from the panel would have been the functional equivalent of bureaucrats rewriting detailed medical procedures without consulting a single doctor.

There is much, much more at the link. Please read it all here:  http://spectator.org/archives/2010/07/13/targeting-free-speech

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