Yesterday I was as close to Ryan Seacrest as I'll
probably ever get. I was quoted
in a story in the New York Times
about rumors Seacrest might succeed Matt Lauer as host of Today on NBC. The celebrity beat is not my normal bailiwick, but
the Seacrest story raises some serious questions about Comcast's commitment to
A year ago, when Comcast was pushing through its
multibillion-dollar mega-merger with NBC (with an assist from future
in-house lobbyist Meredith Attwell Baker), the company promised that it
wouldn't interfere with the news operations. It didn't say anything about possibly
abandoning them altogether.
After 10 journalists were arrested during the Nov. 15 NYPD raid on
Occupy Wall Street, there was a flood of attention focused on press freedom
issues. Articles were written, meetings were held and about a week later the
NYPD issued a formal order telling its officers to stop
interfering with the press. It felt like real momentum.
to the editor of the New York Times from Verizon Chairman Ivan
Seidenberg had us scratching our heads at Free Press today.
Seidenberg wrote to rebut
an Op-Ed written by former White House technology adviser Susan
Crawford, in which she states that the United States high-speed Internet
marketplace suffers from a lack of competition, a problem that drives up
broadband prices for American Internet users.
The Federal Communications Commission is still mulling
proposed changes to the rules that protect the public from media monopolies.
But reports that the agency is considering handouts to broadcasters have compelled dozens of organizations to remind the FCC that its policies must benefit the public.
media have enormous power to shape our culture. Unfortunately,
our mainstream media often perpetuate negative and harmful representations of
people, especially women and people of color. So it’s not a coincidence that the people who own our country’s broadcast outlets
are overwhelmingly white and male.
For decades, some of the best journalism in
America has been produced by nonprofit news organizations. Consider, for
example, National Public Radio, National Geographic,
the Associated Press, Consumer Reports,
the American Spectator, Mother
Jones and the Center for Public Integrity.
But now, thanks to a strange intersection of tax
law and media policy, nonprofit news has hit a roadblock.
On Friday, Rep. Ed Markey joined Sen. Al Franken in demanding answers from Carrier IQ, the company that has worked with mobile carriers to install a hidden application that has the ability to secretly track nearly everything users do — including the keys they press, the numbers they dial and the websites they visit — on more than 140 million cellphones. Researcher Trevor Eckhart uncovered the secret app.
On Thursday, nearly 200 Atlantans gathered at Georgia
Tech to talk media ownership. Federal Communications Commissioners Mignon
Clyburn and Michael Copps urged the people of Atlanta to demand better news,
and to participate in debates about media ownership.