by Jonathan Taplin
August 12, 2003
The three Republican’s who dominate the FCC are up to their old tricks. You would think that the near universal opprobrium dumped on them by Congress and the public over their secret deal to increase Broadcast Network Consolidation, would at least bring a little transparency into their closed door meetings. But now it seems that they are about to approve the merger of the two largest Spanish language broadcast networks in the US, which together would control 70% of the market. As the Washington Post reported over the weekend, Univision and the Hispanic Broadcasting Corp. are both controlled by close associates of President Bush: Jerry Perenchio and Thomas Hicks. Both have qualified as “Pioneers” in the Bush fundraising pantheon and it is clear that Karl Rove is rubbing his hands with glee at yet another Republican takeover of a crucial media outlet. Needless to say, Rove has made clear his intent in pursuing the Hispanic vote in 2004. Having 70% of the market in friendly hands will be a big help.
The two Democrats on the FCC have once again asked for public hearing on such a major merger and it’s affect on News and advertising sales in the critical Hispanic market. Once again, Michael Powell and his Republican cronies on the Commission say they have all the information they need and have no interest in hearing from the public. Sounds like its time to turn up the heat again. Write Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John McCain (firstname.lastname@example.org), who oversees the FCC as well as Michael Powell.
Jonathan Taplin is a television and film producer whose work (including The Last Waltz, To Die For, “The Prize” and “Cadillac Desert”) has been nominated for the Oscar, Golden Globe, and Emmy Awards. He is a member of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and sits on the advisory board of the Democracy Collaborative at the University of Maryland. He is a contributor to Bear Flag.org (www.bearflag.org)
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