like me, you’re used to hearing “This program was made possible by supporters
like you” at the end of NPR and PBS shows. But this year those words take on a
Thanks to an
incredible outpouring of support from people all across the country, public
media survived the most serious political attacks in Congress it has faced in
years. Repeated efforts to pass bad bills, sneak through dangerous cuts and
undermine the fundamental structure of public media failed thanks to the hard
work of activists and fans who wrote to Congress, called their policymakers and
even showed up in Washington, D.C., to make their voices heard.
OnThursday, the Federal Communications
Commission proposed rules that would further weaken media ownership
limits for local newspapers and broadcast stations. The
agency's proposal is strikingly
similar to one adopted in 2007 under former FCC Chairman Kevin
Martin. Those rules were met with overwhelming public opposition from
across the country, as well as from bipartisan leaders in Congress, and
were thrown out by a federal appeals court last summer.
We try to shine a spotlight on the media
policies that shape journalism in America — for better and for worse. The
Freedom of Information Act is a key example of how media policy can have a
profound impact on journalism. Congress passed it in 1966 and it went into
effect in 1967 over the objections of then-President Lyndon Johnson. It has since
become a fundamental tool in journalists’ toolbox for accessing government
information and holding our leaders accountable.
The Federal Communications Commission is now seeking feedback on a
new rule that could open up even more information to help journalists follow
the money in elections and media. However, some broadcasters are lobbying hard to
derail this effort at enhanced disclosure.
A media watchdog sent us this video of Wisconsin station WLUK passing off an AT&T advertisement as news.
It sounds crazy, but passing an infomercial off as a news story is legal as long as stations disclose the paid pieces at the end of the program.
But a lot of stations don’t even manage that: They air fake news without providing any kind of disclosure to viewers — a clear violation of FCC rules. And these rules are so weak that stations that do provide disclosure information can get away with text that is barely legible.
This is huge: AT&T
just announced it’s finally abandoning its doomed merger with T-Mobile.
For nearly a year, we've
been showing that this deal would have only meant higher prices, fewer choices
and tens of thousands of lost American jobs. Free Press knew it; the Department
of Justice agreed; so did the FCC.
Two weeks ago, various news outlets reported that Verizon Wireless’ new Galaxy Nexus phone, an Android device that went on sale last Thursday, will not support Google Wallet, Google’s mobile payment application. Based on what we know from press reports, it seems that Verizon Wireless is violating the open-devices and open-applications conditions in its legal licenses for part of the 700 MHz spectrum (the so-called “C-Block”) over which the company’s LTE network operates. There is, however, great uncertainty about what exactly is going on.
Christopher Hitchens was a master at offending just about
everybody in the room.
Hitchens, who died Thursday from complications related to cancer, first earned his literary stripes as a political firebrand on the left. No cow was too sacred for Hitchens, an atheist who excoriated organized religion in God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything — and lambasted the previously untouchable Mother Teresa in The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice. A longtime lefty, Hitchens alienated his former compatriots when he switched gear in the early aughts and defended the United States invasion of Iraq.
year, another 12 months in which the mobile carriers did their best to screw
Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon do so many bad, annoying and anti-consumer things
that it’s almost impossible to document it all. So below is a catalog of simply
the most egregious acts the carriers perpetrated this year.