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Craig Aaron
Free Press / Op-Ed
Published: Sunday 25 November 2012
Murdoch already owns the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Fox News Channel, Fox movie studios, 27 local TV stations and much, much more.

Why Is the Obama FCC Plotting a Massive Giveaway to Rupert Murdoch?

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What if I told you the Obama administration's first major post-election policy move was a big, fat gift for Rupert Murdoch?

You might ask: The same Rupert Murdoch who owns Fox News?

The same Rupert Murdoch who scandalized England with phone-hacking, influence peddling and bribery?

The same Rupert Murdoch who stays up late Saturday nights pondering things on Twitter like what to do about "the Jewish-owned press"?


Murdoch already owns the Wall Street Journal, the New York Post, Fox News Channel, Fox movie studios, 27 local TV stations and much, much more.

Word is that Murdoch now covets the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune  — the bankrupt-but-still-dominant newspapers (and websites) in the second- and third-largest media markets, where Murdoch already owns TV stations.

Under current media ownership limits, he can't buy them. It's illegal ... unless the Federal Communications Commission changes the rules.

But according to numerous reports, that's exactly what FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski plans to do. He's circulating an order at the FCC to lift the longstanding ban on one company owning both daily newspapers and TV stations in any of the 20 largest media markets.

And he wants to wrap up this massive giveaway just in time for the holidays.

Democracy Diversity Disaster

If these changes go through, Murdoch could own the Los Angeles Times, two TV stations and up to eight radio stations in L.A. alone. And he's not the only potential beneficiary: These changes could mean more channels for Comcast-NBC, more deals for Disney and more stations for Sinclair.

For anyone who actually cares about media diversity and democracy, the gutting of media ownership limits will be a complete disaster.

These rules are one of the last barriers to local media monopolies. Without them, we will lose competing voices for local news. We will see the mainstream media get even more monotone, monochrome and monotonous.

The FCC's own data show ownership of broadcast radio and television stations by women and minorities remains at abysmally low levels. Women own less than 7 percent of radio and TV stations; people of color control only 3.6 percent of TV stations and 8 percent of radio stations.

More media consolidation will push out smaller owners — who are disproportionately women and people of color. The more concentrated local media get, the harder it will be for underrepresented groups to compete.

That's why groups like the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the Center for Media Justice and the National Hispanic Media Coalition have spoken out against any further relaxation of ownership limits.

Déjà Vu All Over Again

Genachowski's proposal is essentially indistinguishable from the failed Bush administration policies that millions rallied against in 2003 and 2007. Ninety-nine percent of the public comments received by the FCC opposed lifting these rules when the Republicans tried to do it.

Genachowski's proposal is nearly identical to the one the Senate voted to overturn with a bipartisan "resolution of disapproval" back in 2008. Among the senators who co-sponsored that rebuke to runaway media concentration were Joe Biden and Barack Obama.

At the time, Obama blasted the FCC for having "failed to further the goals of diversity in the media and promote localism," saying the agency was in "no position to justify allowing for increased consolidation." Nothing has changed — except which party controls the White House.

The federal courts have repeatedly — and as recently as 2011 — struck down these same rules, noting the FCC's failure to "consider the effect of its rules on minority and female ownership." The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the FCC to study the impact of any rule changes before changing the rules. The FCC has done nothing of the kind.

When the Republicans were in power, they held at least seven public hearings on ownership rules in front of the full commission, where near-universal public opposition to these changes was evident.

Yet Genachowski himself has participated in zero public hearings on media ownership. Same goes for the two newest commissioners, Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel and Republican Ajit Pai. The senior Republican, Robert McDowell, did attend hearings ... five years ago. Only Democrat Mignon Clyburn has attended a public hearing on media ownership during the Obama administration.

Yet if Genachowski gets his way, according to reports, the FCC will vote on this major overhaul "on circulation" — that is, in secret and behind closed doors — with no public participation or accountability. It's shameful.

Now You Do Something?

Genachowski's behavior is inexplicable because the clearest and easiest path on media ownership was to do nothing. After losing in court, he could have punted the issue and waited for the next review in 2014, when the diversity research could have been finished and the industry trends might have been clearer.

"Do nothing" is so ingrained at the FCC it could be the agency's motto. And yet the one time inaction is called for, Genachowski is making every effort to side with Murdoch against the masses.

We can still stop this terrible plan from moving forward. The other members of the FCC can dissent and send this thing back to the drawing board. The dozens of senators who voted against this very policy less than five years ago can speak up again. The Obama administration can think about cross-examining Rupert Murdoch instead of appeasing him.

None of that will happen unless millions of people make some noise.

We should be breaking up these giant media conglomerates, not bolstering them. But right now we need to kill this policy for good — and remind the FCC that 99 percent of the public opposes media consolidation, no matter who's in the White House or the FCC chairman's seat.

Author pic
ABOUT Craig Aaron


Craig took the leadership of Free Press and the Free Press Action Fund in April 2011. He joined Free Press in 2004 and speaks across the country on media, Internet and journalism issues. Craig is a frequent guest on talk radio and is quoted often in the national press. His commentaries also appear regularly in the Guardian and the Huffington Post.



Why isn't Murdoch in

Why isn't Murdoch in prison?
Genachoski has got to be on Rupert's payroll.
Obama is doing his usual puppet dance around the edges on this one; zero leadership.

I say change the dual

I say change the dual citizenship laws, where no foreign citizen should ever be able to buy any form of American business or land ownership. Sick and tired of these rich foreigners acting as if they were born here and showing no respect for our country or it's citizens (thank God for small miracles when Political Socialist/Atheist Christopher Hitchens finally bit the dust with esophageal throat cancer). What makes it worse, Murdoch's ugly drooping face looks like his head was used in a Carnival Hammer Bell strength Tester. I mean, who wants such a monstrous looking lying SOB owning America's news media. I sure as hell don't!

This smacks of the sort of

This smacks of the sort of scare tactics employed by Rove et al. Not the first time his gnomes have tried to cast the Obama administration in a bad light. If the Murdock takeover bid is real and it might well be, then individual action is a must. We cannot expect our "representative government" to act in our best interests. We haven't had one for several years. (Did you ask your rep to take a no tax pledge?) Phone calls to your local reps/sens of both parties helps more than you might think.

Yes, "millions" rallied when

Yes, "millions" rallied when W. Bush tried to pull it off, but with Obama safe and secure in the White House for another four years, the liberals will be back to sleep after they have exhausted themselves with myriads of Obamagasms over the glorious victory of Nov. 6.

jackwenayscott's picture

This is terrible. I'm going

This is terrible. I'm going into action and gonna write some emails to select public figures and alert such as CREW and those. You can blame Rupert Murdoch for the rise of the TEA Party! Yup, this man's television broadcasts have a grip on the hearts and minds of those millions who gullibly gobble down the product of FOX stars such as Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck, giving them the gusto to get organized into the weird, delusory, radical TEA Party. Now we see what I've been saying, we are ruled by TV! Jim Morrison also said it in about 1971, but Hollywood got him with a drug overdose in 1971, mysterious? Not really, a long line of Hollywood stars have been bumped off with drugs by the Evil Entertainment Empire that rules our lives. But, YAY for Nation of Change, getting down to the first line of defense we citizens have to fight back The Power for the people, the FCC. And, as we see today, the FCC is firmly under the power of the entertainment-news moguls and their actor buddies, cast and crew. This is the "oligarchy" that rules America and with American might, bullies the world around, a few hundred thousand people, the actors, stage crew, and producers (like Murdoch) who make policy and sugar-coat it for swallowing by the idiotic audience, that audience being the entire population of America (watching their TV), save very few like me who never watch TV, never go to movies. Oh, by the way if the article didn't boil your blood, I got from Wikipedia that Murdoch calls himself a "Libertarian", fits!

This guy, Aaron is obviously

This guy, Aaron is obviously out to lunch. He refers to our system as a democracy; it's a republic.

MISTER B, You might want to

MISTER B, You might want to check your own lunch. The "people" vote for individuals to "represent" them in state houses, local municipalities, D.C.etc. "Democracy" is defined as "rule by the people." Our "representatives" are elected by the "will of the people" aka voters. Therefore we live in a "republic"
chosen by "Democratic"means. Hence...a Democracy.

The same stories on every

The same stories on every network news show often with the exact same words that were sent to them from their government controllers. Next stop for the FCC, being granted the ability to block selected web sites that print political assessments from independent journalists not affiliated with the designated corporate media giants ! Our bandwidth that they get for free and make billions off it’s use, especially during elections when those without a pass from one of the two duopoly political parties or their corporate controllers are not allowed to participate in our so-called free election system !

Surprise ! surprise! It isn't

Surprise ! surprise! It isn't Obama he's just the hand puppet who is being animated. It is the 2%ers still who must pay for the evils they do. The wars, Wall Street, lack of valid free Public education, unhealthy food, economic bubbles that mysteriously burst, lost pensions, etc.

So bitch & complain about the President & continue to ignor the Koch Brothers, Murdoch et al like we always do. It isn't the government who is to be the bill collector it is you & me, when we finially decide to collect the fee due and it has nothing to do with money.

When enough of them and their children are 'collected' on then the rest will back off this gluttony of greed. They are not scared of us yet, we haven't provided cause to be. Time to fix that, one at a time.

Good-bye Independent, welcome

Good-bye Independent, welcome Pravda & Die Sturmer.

I guess technically this is

I guess technically this is Obama's first 'policy' decision since his re-election. However, it is not his first major decision. It is his third.

On 11/14, his DOJ decided to let BP completely off the hook with a fine less than one quarter's profit to be paid out over 6 years and no criminal prosecution other than a couple of expendable managers. That signals BP and the rest of the fossil fuel industry that it's now OK to make the Gulf and all US off-shore waters their own private cesspool.

On 11/16, his DOJ let JPMorgan and Credit Suisse off the hook with a paltry fine for all of their fraudulent activities before during and after the financial meltdown.

Before the election all of the Obama-lovers were saying they were going to 'hold his feet to the fire' if he were re-elected.

But now they are silent as far as I can tell.

Obama is clearly testing the waters. He's trying to see just how blatantly he can serve the 1% without receiving flak from his base.

He is going to up the ante on a weekly basis for the next four years.

Since Rmoney could never have gotten away with any of this, I have to say that Obama looks much the scarier right now.

I want to know just where are those Obama-sycophants who kept saying they wouldn't allow this. They are silent.

Sounds familiar. After all,

Sounds familiar.

After all, high risk exchanges is synonymous with expensive.
High risk is a safety spot in meaning expensive as much as
second base was one for Maury Wills.

Medicare is National Health Insurance for customers the carriers
don't want. High risk exchanges are "outskirts of Medicare."

If you dwindled the carriers down to one company from
an oligopoly, ObamaCare would be its obfuscating insurance

Monopoly is defense of monopoly, then drain for all
the market's worth.

When TBTF banking becomes an oligopoly, currency
becomes their monopoly.

This History Channel Details How
John D. Rockefeller's (By Them
Purported--Jay Rockefeller Is
Good With It In The Documentary,
And Frankly People Simply Didn't
Understand The Implications Of
Monopoly The Way We Do Now,
Like So Many Doctors Who Wished
We Better Knew Earlier How
Devastating Tobacco Is) Strategy
Was To First Establish Monopoly,
Rigidly Protect That Advantage,
And Then Simply Expand Margins
To The Maximum Point Available/
Affordable By The Public.

I don't know what fills Mr. Murdoch's mind, but whatever he is and
whatever he's doing, there're generally too many monopolists.

. . Oh, Gee, why did

. . Oh, Gee, why did President Obama approve additional aid for Afgfhanistan ?? For ten years after our troop withdrawal ??? Yes, George Bush and Dick Cheney said they wanted long term bases in the region......
. . As both parties said Social security was off the table WHY is their a discussion about it ???
....By raising age requirement Social security by one year from 65 to 66 means a 6.23% reduction in benefits - if you retire at 65......
Both parties blocked the third party candidates from the debates - - BEST VOTER SUSPENSION - - YOU CAN NOT VOTE FOR SOMEONE IF YOU DO NOT KNOW THEY'RE RUNNING ( other than write-in)
...WHY . . . . WHY . . . .WHY.....and whose pulling the fast one this time ?.?.?.?.
..... the parties of F U N and G A M E S
......S M O K E ...and M I RR O R S
.........elected to mis-represent the people

Craig Aaron lists three

Craig Aaron lists three groups to get behind to try and thwart this grab for pushing for total monopolistic control of the various forms of media and news messaging. Not that the main stream propaganda media matters to those who can access other outlets where the truth is more apparent in it's presentation.

Now we'll get to see whether or not all those liberals calling for the election of the lesser evil with the argument that they will hold Obama's feet to the fire are still up for the challenge, or whether they have played their part and shuffled off stage until 2016 as Chris Hedges postulates....or if they do respond, whether they can have any effect against corporate agenda.

Little demonstrates how much

Little demonstrates how much Obama is NOT a progressive than this story, but it's worse, far worse than that.

Guess who was the #1 recipient of campaign contributions from Murdoch's News Corp during the 2012 election cycle? Romney? Not even close at $25,450. Nope, the top recipient of News Corp's contributions was, at $130,000+, President Obama. It made no sense to me why the owner of Fox News was supporting Obama for re-election until I read this story on Aaron's Free Press the other day. For more on the data, see:

There it is. Another example

There it is. Another example of a President buying his way into office. The Founding Fathers sure had it right when they created a system whereby Presidents would be chosen by the Electoral College.

Next up: The Ministry of

Next up: The Ministry of Propaganda, brought to you by thirty buxom babes denouncing the immorality of the country. Murdoch is nothing but a Machiavellian criminal, Obama a "community narcissist," and Orwell becoming more "prophet" by the day. No Mitt does not mean no shit.

I believe it's time to reread

I believe it's time to reread "Atlas Shrugged".

MISTER B, Written by an

MISTER B, Written by an ugly woman with an equally ugly mind. She lived the last ten years of her hedonistic life collecting both social security and medicare. The "power of her convictions" obviously didn't get in the way of using the system to her advantage.Reading "Shrugged" once and falling for the hype is proof of a libertine and parochial nature. There really is MUCH superior reading material.

This is no big surprise, as

This is no big surprise, as the FCC and the telecommunications industry have been screwing the citizens/consumers for decades! It is the one single agency MOST in need of reformation!

An action like this will

An action like this will prove once and for all that Obama is in reality a Republican masquerading as a Democrat.

God help us.

Before making a comment like

Before making a comment like that, you should check-out the facts, particularly on Republican support of Obamacare. Obamacare is definitely your opportunity to use the phrase: "God Help Us".

More like a Marxist

More like a Marxist masquerading as a Progressive.


MISTER B, NO...a "corporatist" masquerading as a Progressive.
Obama a Marxist!? Does "B" stand for blockhead?

He absolutely is. Even the

He absolutely is. Even the publisher of The American Conservative, Wick Allison, argues that Obama is more conservative than President Nixon was.

Nixon was certainly a

Nixon was certainly a liberal, after all, he gave us the Unconstitutional Federal Environmental Protection Agency, but arguing that he is more liberal than Obama is like comparing Jefferson to Stalin.

Corporatist Obama should be

Corporatist Obama should be putting Rupert & James Murdoch in prison for hacking into computers and cell phones in this country as well as Great Britain and for bribing Scotland Yard and British politicians, NOT lip massaging his posterior.

Fascism requires media

Fascism requires media control. Obama is a wall street's asskissin' fascist. He only pretends to be a demoncrat to get votes.

Obama doesn't pretend at all.

Obama doesn't pretend at all. With the nationalizations, the bailouts, Obamacare, regulations, corruption, massive growth of government and the destruction of the middle class, it's obvious what Obama is. I just hope everyone enjoys their trip down the road to serfdom, because it's not going to be a hell of a lot of fun when we arrive at our destination.

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