Sep
20
2009

Localism: Corporate Media's Ultimate Bogeyman

On his Media Citizen blog, Free Press' Timothy Karr (9/17/09) has compiled some astounding Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Lou Dobbs quotes propounding a "fear that's laced with paranoia, stoked by misinformation and prejudice and fed to millions of people via powerful media"–namely that "the most anti-American notion of the lot is the idea that we need to reform the media itself":

While Beck and his ilk want to portray diversity and localism as a dangerous conspiracy to censor, the fact remains that these ideas have been staples of communications policy since the beginning. The central mandate of the Federal Communications Commission–as enshrined in the Communications Act of 1934–is to promote localism, diversity and competition in the media. This same principle of localism has been a rallying cry for several generations of true conservatives.

Broadcasters get hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of subsidies and the right to use our airwaves in exchange for a basic commitment to be responsive to the interests of local communities.

Moreover, the Supreme Court recognized that "safeguarding the public's right to receive a diversity of views and information over the airwaves is … an integral component of the FCC's mission."

Sadly, the FCC has failed to live up to this standard.

"What mainstream media's fear-merchants are most afraid of," writes Karr, "is not censorship, but an FCC that actually does its job–creating more opportunities for people like you and me to participate in media."

See the FAIR publication Extra! Update: "The Great Spectrum Giveaway" (10/95) by Jim Naureckas.