A7: Air ‘A’ week & the Airways

Using the element of ‘Air’ this week, my concentration was about with aspects of connection, clearing the air (confessions), commitment, community market, and communicating creatively. I used the letter ‘A’ to harness the things I needed to begin blogging about;
  1. Air, as in atmosphere – our very life depends on dramatically changing our way of living from consuming to sustaining.
  2. Anquish and Anger, emotionally coping with the catastrophic world situation with grieving and acting.
  3. Arugula and Avocado, neighborhood food and changing my habits.
  4. Air drying and Appliances to simply let the air work for me and reducing my electrical load. And, this is a follow-up to my preparation post on Stuff where item 23 to purge was, *Appliances*. It’s a start
  5. Art and TessallateTesseract, repurposing creatively and creating conversation pieces. An added joy was hearing from Chile Chews when I wrote about this in her Rethink It Challenge.
  6. Al Jazeerah from the dearth of American airtime sources, I turn to the middle east for a report on Peak Oil found at earthfamilyalpha.
Besides what I have been writing about I have followed this week’s big news in America, the Iowa and New Hampshire Primaries. The one thing I want to say is that if given the power I would not only fire all of the Corporate Media, I would launch lawsuits against all of the media heads for theft of the public airways. Broadcast Media has made a mockery of the word “Debates,” by barring Kucinich (and Ron Paul) from debates in both states. Add to this the punditry led by Asshat Tweetybird Matthews getting it totally wrong at every turn. The misogynist and sexist slurs used as talking points over and over and over again. And this repeated in print and in the blogs. It was disgraceful and the Primary season has only just begun.

New website born from this muck called, Sweet Jesus I hate Chris Matthews.

Q & A by Melissa McEwan

Q: Does Chris Matthews have a problem with women?

A: Yessity yes yes.

Q: Isn't it a problem if such a prominent pundit is a misogynist, when his job is to opine on a presidential race in which there is but one female candidate?

A: Yes.

Q: Doesn't MSNBC care?

A: Apparently not.

Q: What can I do?

A: Make them care because you do:

One MSNBC Plaza
Secaucus, N.J. 07094
MSNBC contacts

Chris Matthews

Our public airways are being used for utter nonsense. The exception is Democracy Now and Amy Goodwin reported this week on the crisis caused by global warming in the Campaign. A new study by the League of Conservation Voters found that the five major Sunday morning political shows asked the presidential candidates well over 2,000 questions in 2007.

What would you guess the number of questions on the climate were asked out of the 2,000? Three. That is all. Three. This is despite the fact that the Democratic candidates have aggressive plans for dealing with environmental issues facing us all.

For the record, I don’t watch Corporate television infotainment. I watch a bunch of things via DirecTV’s Link TV. I watch news from middle eastern countries via Mosaic, German news and countless documentaries from around the world on the environment and American imperialism.

A bit of history since I opened this can of worms. The beginnings of this situation were due to the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 by Reagan. What is the Fairness Doctrine you ask? The late great Molly Ivins wrote in 2002:
Media Concentration is a Totalitarian Tool.

In 1987, FCC commissioners appointed by Ronald Reagan repealed the Fairness Doctrine, and that has already had a stunning effect on political debate in this country. That same year, Congress put the Fairness Doctrine into law, but Reagan vetoed it with this memorable rationalization, "The Fairness Doctrine is inconsistent with the tradition of independent journalism." The Fairness Doctrine had been upheld by the Supreme Court in a 1969 decision that viewed the airwaves as a "public trust" and said fairness required the public trust to accurately reflect opposing views. In a 1986 decision, the D.C. Federal Court of Appeals in a 2-to-1 decision upheld a new FCC rule refusing to apply the Fairness Doctrine to television text. The two prevailing judges were Antonin Scalia and Robert Bork. [emphasis mine]
I called this a can of worms because “We Forget What It Was Really Like Under the Clintons” is the name of a post I was sad to read last week by David Morris at AlterNet.
The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was the first major overhaul of United States telecommunications law in nearly 62 years. The broadcasting industry couldn't get the legislation through under Reagan or George H.W. Bush, but it succeeded under Clinton. The day he signed the bill into law, Clinton boasted, "Landmark legislation fulfills my administration's promise to reform our telecommunications laws in a manner that leads to competition and private investment, promotes universal service and provides for flexible government regulation."

The Act removed the legal barriers to local and long distance phone companies acquiring each other. The results were immediate and massive. In 1996 there were eight major U.S. companies providing local telephone service and five significant long-distance companies. By 1999, these 13 companies had merged into five telecommunications giants, in a series of record-breaking merger deals.

Prior to this law, tightly regulated broadcasters could own just 40 stations nationally, and only two in a given market. Suddenly, without the FCC's input or any public hearings, ownership limits on radio stations was eliminated and a feeding frenzy took place.

By 2001, there were 10,000 radio station transactions worth approximately $100 billion. As a result, 1,100 fewer station owners were in the business, down nearly 30 percent since 1996. Two companies -- Clear Channel and Viacom's Infinity Broadcasting -- controlled one-third of all radio advertising revenue; in some individual markets their stations commanded nearly 90 percent of the ad dollars. Clear Channel alone owned nearly 1,200 stations, the result of buying up 70 separate broadcast companies.

For me the money quote from Molly Ivins:
To point out the obvious, broadcasters and their national advertisers have a clear stake in promoting the views of those who advocate lower taxes on the rich and on big corporations.
Not only is the air we breathe poisoned – so are our television and radio airways.

Street Artist Banksy Images
Scott Benjamin video