Friday, December 21, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
I received several calls today telling me that when the person called the clever number from the FCC website (1-888-CALL-FCC), they were told that this wasn't a number for comments, or to talk about FCC issues.
The FCC doesn't make it easy for the public to communicate-- ironic that communications is their middle name.
So with a few more clicks on their site I have found the following information from the "finding people at the FCC page":
The phone number of the chair (who is the man pushing the vote to end the ban on cross-ownership, allowing big media even greater hegemony) Martin Kevin (202) 418-1000
The phone number for Robert McDowell is 202.418.2200. Word has it that McDowell is not wild about lifting the ban, and polite calls to him are probably a great idea.
The phone number for Deborah Taylor Tate is 202.418.2500. It's unclear if she supports lifting the ban at this time, she probably needs to hear some opinions.
The phone number for Jonathan Adelstein is 202.418.2300. He has said publicly that rushing this vote through is a big mistake, he doesn't support lifting the ban-- always good to call and say thanks (how often to FCC Commissioners hear that?).
The phone number for Michael Copps is 202.418.2000. Along with Adelstein, Copps has spoken strongly against lifting the ban-- thank him, too.
You can email each commissioner from his / her contact page, just click their name above and scroll to the bottom, where you'll see a link to an online form for comments, marked "email".
Seems to me that the number listed at the bottom of each page of the FCC's website (that is 1-888-CALL-FCC) might be a number that the public could call to try to communicate with the commission, but what do I know? Just seems to me that it shouldn't be this hard; it's almost like the some in the commission don't like being in touch with the people, as it were.
Thanks to everyone that has contacted them, or is going to contact them in the morning. I really want to hear your experience, if you are able to get through to any staffers.
FCC Chair, and Bush loyalist, Kevin Martin, is pushing for a vote of the FCC on December 18, to end a ban on some media cross-ownership. He is proposing that the FCC ease the cross-ownership ban in the top 20 U.S. markets. Currently, this regulation keeps a company from holding a broadcast outlet and print daily in the same market.
It's not exactly like there is a vigorous diversity of ownership at this time-- six mega-corporations filter much of what we see now. Given the problems that we have recently experienced with all major corporate media failing to inform the public when the administration was manufacturing the case to invade and occupy Iraq, how is less competition going to be better?
We need more diversity in media ownership, not less. When the corporation is able to control what you see on television, hear on radio and read in the daily paper (not to mention manage the news website) they are able to reinforce their message in a closed loop. The public looses the ability to check out news stories or even entertainment media from diverse perspectives. This leads us, as a general public, to be easily duped and manipulated by the elite that direct and own the major media.
You can call the FCC today to register your comments against Martin's proposal. Let the FCC commissioners know that you care about media ownership, and are paying attention. You can call the FCC at 1-888-CALL-FCC (that's 1-888-225-5322) or you can email comments to them through their website www.fcc.gov.
You can find more information at the website Stop Big Media, and while you are there spend a couple of minutes watching the video "Junk News is Making You Sick"--it's worth it.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
We talk a good deal about the horrors of war. As progressives, we have taken to the streets, written letters to representatives and letters to the editors, staged die-ins, created documentaries and poetry, and many other things to try to bring an end to the war and occupation of Iraq. The body counts are tremendous with nearly 4,000 officially acknowledged US dead, and over 1 million Iraqis dead (which is a number 3 times greater than the number reported in most U$ media).
As American's we have a responsibility in this madness being perpetrated by "our" government, in our name, with our money. It is our moral imperative to do what we can to stop this terror, and also to mitigate the suffering that has been done in our name, for the benefits of the ruling elite.
Last Friday, I interviewed Maxine Fookson, a Portland pediatric nurse practitioner who started a local chapter of No More Victims. She got the idea when she was listening to Democracy Now! on KBOO, and heard a man named Cole Miller talk about his work with national group.
No More Victims (http://nomorevictims.org) is an organization that works to alleviate the suffering of Iraqis, especially children, by providing essential medical supplies and services. Remember that this war for "liberation" has demolished most of Iraq's infrastructure, and the situation is hellish. Even without the incredibly vicious war, the situation is dire: according to an OXFAM study, 90% of medical facilities lack the necessary supplies to give adequate care. A UNICEF report states that Iraq's water and sanitation systems are so heavily damaged that 70% of people do not have access to safe water. The World Health Organization reports that diarrhea and acute respiratory infections account for about two thirds of deaths among children under five. 21% of Iraqi children are chronically malnourished.
This is where No More Victims comes in. Through organizing in local chapters across the country, they are fundraising to send much needed medical supplies to Iraq. In doing so, they educate the wider community in the US about the daily misery of Iraq.
They also arrange to bring kids that has been seriously injured in this hideous war to the states for medical care that they couldn't get in Iraq. The local chapters work to find medical professionals and facilities to donate their services, and families to host the child and parent through their medical treatment. The child and parent then go home to Iraq, knowing that some people in the US want to bring healing to our worlds. A bridge of compassion is built, peace is taken out of theory and put into action.
The Portland chapter is called the Iraqi Child Project, and it is very new. Maxine says that they need people to get involved, and they need money. They want to raise enough funds to bring a child to Portland for treatment. That's going to take a whole lot of work, but what is peace worth?
You can get more information about the Iraqi Child at 503-234-3501 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org