July 14, 2003  ·  admin

It�s been a busy day, but it�s great to blog here on Larry Lessig�s blog.

I�ll be writing all week, but if there�s a day I can�t make it, Joe Trippi, my campaign manager, will fill in for me. Thank you Professor Lessig for inviting me.

The Internet might soon be the last place where open dialogue occurs. One of the most dangerous things that has happened in the past few years is the deregulation of media ownership rules that began in 1996. Michael Powell and the Bush FCC are continuing that assault today (see the June 2nd ruling).

The danger of relaxing media ownership rules became clear to me when I saw what happened with the Dixie Chicks. But there�s an even bigger danger in the future, on the Internet. The FCC recently ruled that cable and phone based broadband providers be classified as information rather than telecommunications services. This is the first step in a process that could allow Internet providers to arbitrarily limit the content that users can access. The phone and cable industries could have the power to discriminate against content that they don�t control or– even worse– simply don�t like.

The media conglomerates now dominate almost half of the markets around the country, meaning Americans get less independent and frequently less dependable news, views and information. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson spoke of the fear that economic power would one day try to seize political power. No consolidated economic power has more opportunity to do this than the consolidated power of media.

  • Jamie Zirkle

    Thank you, Governor for speaking out against deregulation of the media. It may sound like a doomsday scenario, but I think everyone can imagine a world with Faux News Channel and Clear Channel controlling the airwaves.

  • http://dean4az.blogspot.com Michael Bryan

    With the large degree of media concenrtration that already exists, I hope we might expect an actual roll-back of conglomeration. One way to accomplish this would be to get rid the rule granting a viewership discount for purpose of calculating audience share of UHF stations. Discarding this technologically dated rule would help reduce concentration of television station ownership in discreet markets. I am curious whether Dr. Dean supports such a change, or other changes which would reduce the number of outlets a single entity could own.

  • Janelle in NM

    Thank you for addressing the FCC issue. This is an important issue. I will be proud to call you my President!

  • Quinn Costello

    The FCC rollback is truly one of the most unfortunate and under discussed side effects of the Bush administration. Mr Dean, please ellaborate further on the extent to which you would undo the damage that has been done regarding media deregulation. Thank you.

  • http://dean2004.blogspot.com Aziz Poonawalla

    Governor,

    It’s a privelege to be able to discuss these issues with you, and I greatly appreciate the opportunity.

    I agree that the FCC-sanctioned media consolidation is a threat, but there will always be other information channels. In fact, most interest groups tend to simply flock to channels that reflect their own views rather than search out any truly independent medium – this is the sole reason for FOX News vast success, not any FCC actions per se. With former Vice President Al Gore proposing a liberal cable news channel, the trend is reflected on the opposite side of the partisan divide and there’s no intrinsic reason that media consolidation needs to be a threat to liberal ideas alone.

    A much greater threat, IMHO is that of copyright abuse. As you are no doubt aware, Professor Lessig has been extensively discussing how copyright extensions pose a serious threat to the inventive engine of society, on this blog and in his book, “The End of Ideas” (which I assume you’ve read). Today the DMCA and the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, tomorrow the Thou Shalt Not Reverse Engineer Act and the end of the public domain as we know it.

    What is your position on the threat to the public domain? And what policies do you intend to support to address that threat?

    Regards
    Aziz H. Poonawalla
    Dean Nation 2004 blog http://dean2004.blogspot.com

  • Phillip

    How about giving Mr. Lessig an apointment to the FCC or DOJ? Either one, and we’ll see the media conglomerates tremble in fear.

  • Mike Stark

    I think the internet is the only place where power has shifted away from the central brokers (corporations and people with money) towards the average man. One of the places you see this most acutely is in the widespread theft of intellectual property. Record companies colluded to set prices for years… is it any wonder that today we have a generation of kids that don’t see the harm in ‘sticking it to the record companies’?

    Anyway, that’s a tangent I don’t need to continue… The point is, THANK GOD FOR THE INTERNET!! This great technology has allowed us to organize in unprecedented ways. This technology combined with the Dr.’s message will for the first time, directly impact the race for the Presidency. And for once, the people will win. The internet will do what McCain-Fiengold didn’t – couldn’t – do. And hopefully, it’ll be the internet that keeps the government honest moving forward…

  • dbdonlon

    This is only *one* of the issues where electing GW Bush turned out to make a little more than “a dimes worth of difference..”

    I’m glad you brought it up Dr. Dean. We need people to remind us how our society is changing right in front of our eyes.

  • Mike Stark

    I think the internet is the only place where power has shifted away from the central brokers (corporations and people with money) towards the average man. One of the places you see this most acutely is in the widespread theft of intellectual property. Record companies colluded to set prices for years… is it any wonder that today we have a generation of kids that don’t see the harm in ‘sticking it to the record companies’?

    Anyway, that’s a tangent I don’t need to continue… The point is, THANK GOD FOR THE INTERNET!! This great technology has allowed us to organize in unprecedented ways. This technology combined with the Dr.’s message will for the first time, directly impact the race for the Presidency. And for once, the people will win. The internet will do what McCain-Fiengold didn’t – couldn’t – do. And hopefully, it’ll be the internet that keeps the government honest moving forward…

  • Mike Stark

    I think the internet is the only place where power has shifted away from the central brokers (corporations and people with money) towards the average man. One of the places you see this most acutely is in the widespread theft of intellectual property. Record companies colluded to set prices for years… is it any wonder that today we have a generation of kids that don’t see the harm in ‘sticking it to the record companies’?

    Anyway, that’s a tangent I don’t need to continue… The point is, THANK GOD FOR THE INTERNET!! This great technology has allowed us to organize in unprecedented ways. This technology combined with the Dr.’s message will for the first time, directly impact the race for the Presidency. And for once, the people will win. The internet will do what McCain-Fiengold didn’t – couldn’t – do. And hopefully, it’ll be the internet that keeps the government honest moving forward…

  • Carlton Nettleton

    I am so relieved that we at last have a political leader willing to talk about issues of liberty, equality and justice invoking the names of our Founders, their revolutionary ideas and optimistic outlook. I ask people, when was the last time we heard a leader talking about liberty and freedom using the words of Thomas Jefferson or James Mdaison?

    I am also so happy that someone who wants to lead our great nation has taken the time to read the words of our Founders and consider what they mean TODAY. Their ideas are not something we read, and keep, in a book. Freedom is for everyone.

  • Eric McCudden

    Love ya Doc!

    Right on target as usual.

    Thank you for taking the time in your busy schedule to post your thoughts on this blog.

  • Eric McCudden

    Love ya Doc!

    Right on target as usual.

    Thank you for taking the time in your busy schedule to post your thoughts on this blog.

  • Eric McCudden

    Love ya Doc!

    Right on target as usual.

    Thank you for taking the time in your busy schedule to post your thoughts on this blog.

  • Eric McCudden

    Ack sorry for the tripple post my first response to a blog and I screw it up!

  • Jamie Zirkle

    Quinn, here’s an excerpt from the Rainbow/PUSH coaltion speech.

    Q: Governor Dean. The FCC made this decision. The market’s gonna react. Companies are going to be acquiring more outlets. What are you gonna try to do? Try to undo it?

    Dean: Yup.

    (applause)

    Dean: Look, I’m not a big country music person. I like it alright. I don’t know much about the Dixie Chicks. But when the Dixie Chicks were kicked off the air for disagreeing with the President of the United States over the Iraq invasion, I suddenly realized that this was a corporation who was censoring our ability to get information on our airwaves. So, yeah. Deregulation has been a failure. We need to re-regulate the media. They’ve behaved irresponsibly, and when people behave irresponsibly, they need to have the privileges that we’re giving them using our airwaves taken away.

    So yes. I would re-regulate the media. I would limit the ownership of stations in a particular market and limit the overall ownerships in the entire country. We made a mistake in deregulation. We need to re-regulate.

    I hope this helps,

    …Jamie

  • http://www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/ Brian Flemming

    “How about giving Mr. Lessig an apointment to the FCC or DOJ? Either one, and we�ll see the media conglomerates tremble in fear.”

    How about to the Supreme Court?

    Excellent first blog, Governor Dean.

  • http://dean2004.blogspot.com Aziz Poonawalla

    OOPS. My mistake, Lessig’s book is “The Future of Ideas”, not the End – though with the current atmosphere of silencing fair use, it might amount to much the same thing.

    Regards
    Aziz Poonawalla

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    I agree with the Governor, but this statement is baby steps. Can you speak with any more specificity and detail about the relevant issues Gov. Dean? Most of the candidates running are also against the Powell media ownership rules and have said so. What’s different about you? This is a very educated readership on these isssues, and what’s the point of guest blogging if you don’t say something that we find truly informative?

  • Anne Bradley

    Thank you Dr. Dean.
    I hope the rest of your views in this area, particularly DMCA views will be known soon.

    Keep up the good work. You’ve got my vote.

  • Mike Smith

    Governor Dean,
    I was disappointed with this posting as it seems to identify a problem without proposing any solution.

    Do you believe this issue should be addressed legislatively or by alternate appointees? If the former, do you believe this can be accomplished without altering the balance of power in Congress? If the later, what is to stop this issue from becoming a pendulum that swings back and forth depending on the party in power?

    If as one of the other posters was accurate when you called for re-regulation, I would be interested in seeing a list of all industries you believe are under-regulated.

  • chad brooks

    so what happen to the dixied chicks. they played to packed audiences, posed nude on a magazine cover, and just this weekend blasted the current administration doing it all to incredible publicity. please use a better example for our descent into repression

  • http://www.charm.net/~pete/pete.cgi Pete

    Thank you for speaking with us this week, Gov. Dean. As you may know, many small internet service providers and competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) are being priced out of existence by incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) who have monopoly control over local telecommunications infrastructure. This is a key component of the process you describe above, so I am curious as to what specific policies you would propose to increase competition in the internet access market.

  • Jeanne

    Aziz – - -
    Educate us. How does copyright extension hurt us the people? I may not be able to read The Future of Ideas for a while.
    Is the information on your blog?
    Mahalo….

  • Alison S

    Dr. Dean,

    Thank you for speaking on such an important issue. As always you hit the nail on the head. I would much rather be talking about funding education and equal rights for all Americans, but we can not be fighting those battles and the 3 critical fights over democracy that are occuring right now at the same time. The second is the patirot act and the third is not having a ballot paper trail.

    My one criticism is not pointing us to an action. If there is not currently a capwiz.com (or other similar service) form-to-fax set up on this issue, then you could create one through http://www.deanforamerica.com. The last thing we need is to sit around lamenting and not taking action.

  • http://radio.weblogs.com/ Gary Santoro

    The de-regulation that began with the Telecom Act of 1996 has been huge failure, led by the Republican Congress. Let us stop this trend.

  • CTDem2

    For those who are asking for specifics, Dr. Dean has been more specific on the topic in other settings. He has said that, as President, his major role will be in FCC appointments, and he would ensure that his FCC appointmentees have similar concerns. He doesn’t seem to believe that it’s the President’s role to micromanage the process, but rather to make intelligent appointments that will work towards reversing the damage.

  • John Hamilton

    Governor,

    What are the odds of you giving a speech at Stanford when you’re in the Bay Area this fall or winter? With Prof. Lessig’s support and a large Students for Dean group, it would be a great location for a policy speech or even just a small talk.

    Please consider it.

  • http://dean4az.blogspot.com Michael Bryan

    An equal, if not greater, threat to political speech than media concentration is the 1987 death of the Fairness Doctrine at the hands of the FCC. Why should licensees of the public’s frequencies get to decide which political views they will and will not carry? This decision was never ratified by the Supremes under First Amendment principles, only by the DC circuit on the ground that the FCC’s decision that the Fairness Doctrine no longer served the public interest was niether arbitrary nor an abuse of discretion.

    Why not bring back the Fairness Doctrine ensuring access and equal time for all candidates to public office? A Dean Administration would do a great service to the cause of democracy and deal a blow to the overwhelming advantage of monied interests in political campaigns and foil the stranglehold commericial media exerts on the scope of public debate.

  • Ed Batewell

    Dr. Dean,

    First I’d like to thank you sincerely for your honest, forthright manner and your candidacy. You have my vote and support thoughout the primaries and beyond the general election, to the White House!

    Another, more sinister example of media censorship than the recent Dixie Chicks debacle was was Clear Channel’s “list of songs with questionable lyrics” in the wake of 9/11, which self-censored such rabble-rousing songs as “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” by Simon & Garfunkel and “Imagine” by John Lennon. Clear Channel denies this, but it’s DJs say otherwise.

    (You can find some detail on Clear Channels 9/11 blacklist: here and here.)”>here.)”>http://www.wired.com/news/culture/0,1284,46925-2,00.html”>here.)

  • http://www.takebackthemedia.com/radiogaga.html thor

    Connections anyone?

  • Anonymous

    I just want to take this opportunity to make sure you are aware of http://retropoll.org. They conduct normal telephone political polls, but they take each question one level deeper to see, for example, what the participants know about the issues they are asked about. In their second poll, 56% of respondants felt that the war on terror either had little effect on our civil rights or actually improved our rights. Looking deeper though, the poll found these attitudes:

    27) Lengthy detention for anyone, citizen or not, who the U.S. government decides to arrest without providing criminal charges, proofs or trials.
    Support 10.0%, Reject 82.6%, Don’t Know 7.5%

    29) A requirement that the U.S. government must prove accusations against nations before attacking them.
    Support 68.9%, Reject 19.9%, Don’t Know 11.2%

  • http://baylink.pitas.com Jay R. Ashworth

    And no one seems to be mentioning the almost 800,000 letters sent to the FCC complaining about this new adventure in de-reg…

    Which sounds like the grass roots to me.

    Congress, luckily, appears to have taken note. Let’s hope that they aren’t only in it for appearance’s sake. I’m told Randy Michaels (CEO of Clear Channel) is *not* the most popular guy on the Hill this hear; maybe there’s hope.

    The corporations taking over the media, of course, and making it impossible for the average citizen to be heard is the private parallel of the companion — and more insidious — public-sector problem: corporations being given *way* too much power in the voting arena.

    Direct Recording Electronic voting machines which do not produce a countable (and re-countable; hey, I live in Florida :-) physical ballot are unacceptably misdesigned. Far more than you ever wanted to know about this is at the website of Penn State professor (and electronic voting Doctorate) Rebecca Mercuri.

    Especially in close elections, these sorts of things are going to be crucial — and the resulting partisan bickering from failing to fix them early enough may well do more damage to America than November 4, 2000… or September 11, 2001.

    Doctor? Your thoughts?
    – j
    Communications Wonk
    Steering Committee
    Pinellas for Dean
    Pinellas County, FL

  • http://www.happyvalleyasylum.com/ratched/ Nurse Ratched

    For those who are interested in taking direct action regarding FCC deregulation, contact your members of Congress. True Majority makes it really easy to do, with free faxes (more likely to be read than email) sent directly from their web site.

    Governor Dean, thank you for guest blogging here and for encouraging a greater level of campaign involvement by average people than most national campaigns. The fact that Joe Schmoe Internet User can email Joe Trippi personally and get a personal response says a lot about your campaign. I would really love to see a moderated (to reduce redundancy and clarify questions) town-hall style chat or series of chats online with set up for the fall, in the run-up to the first primaries.

  • RonZ

    Should media using public property (radio frequencies, telphone poles, satellites) be able to ban political ads they disagree with? e.g. anti-war ads were rejected by major media outlets last winter.

  • anna

    hey richard bennet, i guess you don’t have a problem with clear channel owning a majority of our radio stations. i guess you also think it’s okay that local radio personnel and local radio services (such as severe weather alerts and local amber alerts) are being replaced by national, homogenised programming. and i suppose you think that faux actually broadcasts “news” as well. and i guess you think it’s a GoodThing(TM) that if the new FCC rules go into effect, almost all of our media will be totally consolidated and homogenised. talk about telling people how to think!
    nice straw man with the big brother analogy and the savage thing, too, jackass. oh well, what could i possibly expect from someone who links to little green footballs.
    thanks, drive through.

  • http://www.learning-communities.com Dan Chay

    I find myself here by having followed Governor Dean after reading comments at slashdot and on blogforamerica.com.

    Are there experts participating here who could neatly summerize deeper implications of media consolidation and cyberspace and computer-based freedom issues so that some of us who have been preoccupied with other topics can learn?

    As an aside to the experts, I lived in China for several years during the late 1980s. It was interesting to me to discover, as I understood my interlocutors, that they have a long cultural history of regarding what we call intellectual property as communal property. Partly because of this tradition, ancient authorship tends to be ambiguous. Artists would begin by spending years copying the masters. And people felt little compunction in copying American-made software, etc., particularly when also considering economic disparities. Any thoughts?

    Grins and best wishes,

    Dan Chay
    Alaska

  • Carlton Nettleton

    I think you misunderstand the Governor’s position. Governor Dean has no desire to “shut down the Murdoch empire”. Governor Dean has indicated he is troubled by the power ONE corporation can wield in our democratic discourse.

    Yes, the Dixie Chicks are fine now, but remember at the time of the boycott, the outcome was not clear. As we all know, timing is critical in a discussion. I urge you to recall that the Dixie Chicks were “silenced” in the moments BEFORE the invasion of Iraq. Their voice in criticism of the president was squashed at the moment when it had the widest appeal. That is the part that is most troubling to me.

    OT- Also, our budget crisis in CA has less to do with the actions of legislators, unions and casios as it does with the VAST concentration of power by energy regualtors that colluded to rasie energy prices through the roof. These powerful interests KNEW that the free market could not support their scam and that the state, with its unlimited pockets, would HAVE to step in and buy power for the people of CA. Letting the power go off in the middle of winter was simply not an option by ANY responsible government or leaders. If you want to blame anyone for the budgetary woes in CA, the blame goes to those greedy men and women who ran those energy corporations who stole from us Californians.

  • Katherine

    I worked in journalism right after college; now I’m in law school and I feel better about my profession. What does that say about the state of our media? It’s very upsetting to me that countries with no First Amendment and much more restrictive libel laws have a healthier press, more willing to challenge the government on serious issues, than we do. And media consolidation seems to be the biggest single factor in this.

    Fortunately, the internet came along to save us just as TV and radio news went from bad to worse. There’s a famous remark by someone–A.J. Liebling, maybe?–about how freedom of the press only helps people who own a press. Now almost anyone can. That’s why the blogs are so encouraging, though with some exceptions there’s not much actual reporting on them. (Understandable, reporting takes time and money.) So this idea of allowing internet providers to discriminate against content is very dangerous.

    As for steps to take about the FCC, write to your Congressman! People on both sides of the aisle have raised questions about the vote; this one’s not over yet. http://www.moveon.org has form letters and addresses.

    And thank you, Governor Dean–your campaign has me feeling more excited than I have ever been about a presidential candidate, and more hopeful about where this country is going than I’ve felt in years.

  • Katherine

    I worked in journalism right after college; now I’m in law school and I feel better about my profession. What does that say about the state of our media? It’s very upsetting to me that countries with no First Amendment and much more restrictive libel laws have a healthier press, more willing to challenge the government on serious issues, than we do. And media consolidation seems to be the biggest single factor in this.

    Fortunately, the internet came along to save us just as TV and radio news went from bad to worse. There’s a famous remark by someone–A.J. Liebling, maybe?–about how freedom of the press only helps people who own a press. Now almost anyone can. That’s why the blogs are so encouraging, though with some exceptions there’s not much actual reporting on them. (Understandable, reporting takes time and money.) So this idea of allowing internet providers to discriminate against content is very dangerous.

    As for steps to take about the FCC, write to your Congressman! People on both sides of the aisle have raised questions about the vote; this one’s not over yet. http://www.moveon.org has form letters and addresses.

    And thank you, Governor Dean–your campaign has me feeling more excited than I have ever been about a presidential candidate, and more hopeful about where this country is going than I’ve felt in years.

  • http://somethingaboutorange.com/mrl/ jhp

    Richard Bennett:

    “Bravo for you – choice is confusing, and it�s much better to have a Big Brother in Washington telling us how to think.”

    You are absolutely right to insist, however ironically, that choice and competition in media are essential to the functioning of our democracy. But how would it be any better to have a Big Brother in the boardroom of a corporate media monopoly? I am a strong believer in free markets, but I am concerned about more than companies’ freedom to buy and sell each other. In the media market, I am concerned about the actual freedom of citizens to hear, speak, and be heard, all of which are diminished as more media outlets are controlled by fewer and larger companies. Greater profits for media companies clearly lie along the path of greater consolidation; so the invisible hand, in this case, is pushing in what I think we can agree is the wrong direction, toward less choice and less freedom. If you can’t stomach the idea of government as a check against this natural tendency of media to consolidate, what do you think we should do do instead? Cross our fingers and hope it doesn’t happen?

  • http://dean2004.blogspot.com Aziz

    I don’t think it’s my place to educate anyone about copyright threat – especially not on Prof. Lessig’s blog! But I can refer you to a recent article on the topic that I think makes a good introduction.

  • Janelle in NM

    I think we should consider donating to the Troll Goal fund just like we do on Dean’s regular blog. I plan to do some $$$ to Dean’s campaign right now in Richard Bennett’s name. Thanks Richard for feeding the troll!

    http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/TR?pg=personal&fr_id=1090&px=1217779

  • http://www.deanforum.com/mt/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=683 Jonathan in GA

    We couldn’t agree with you more, Governor!

    How do you feel about mp3s being “shared” online?

    You should be the first to offer a compromise that allows the millions of Americans that love file sharing to continue, but get the artists paid as well.

    Let W. tell us why 5 million Americans are criminals for swapping songs and other files.

    Also, I think it’s time to throw a bone to the anti-globalization/anti-NAFTA crowd.

    Maybe propose a study on the negative effects of globalization, and possible remedies.

    Thank you SO much for blogging—you’re one of us!

    Jonathan in GA

  • http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/TR?pg=personal&fr_id=1090&px=1217779 Sam in San Diego

    BAD TROLL, BAD TROLL…. Oh, I’m sorry, several more donations for Dean just came in…. THANKS TROLL!

    “A donation a day, keeps the Trolls away!”

    http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/TR?pg=personal&fr_id=1090&px=1217779

    Posted by Sam in San Diego at July 14, 2003 08:04 PM

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Carlton, you make a very cogent point: “Yes, the Dixie Chicks are fine now, but remember at the time of the boycott, the outcome was not clear.”

    I agree that Clear Channel’s decision to drop the Dixie Chicks’ copyrighted records from airplay just before the liberation of Iraq was a bad thing. One of those songs that wasn’t played, “Goodbye Earl”, is a strong statement in favor of taking pre-emptive, extra-legal action against an aggressor whose character is known. (For those who aren’t country music fans like Dr. Dean, this song celebrates the killing of a wife-beater by his victim and her friend; there’s a strong parallel between the action celebrated by this song and the action taken by the Coalition against a heinous dictator who tortures, abuses, and kills his own people.)

    The national dialog on Iraq would have been greatly enriched if “Goodbye Earl” had been part of it, but as it turned out, the country music audience, which is very patriotic and not at all scripted by Aaron Sorkin, supported the liberation of Iraq anyhow. That’s just the way those folks are, lovers of freedom.

    BTW, can somebody tell me why it’s a good thing to invade Liberia if it was a bad thing to liberate Iraq? I just can’t figger that one out.

  • Doug

    Those of you that criticize Dean, I just ask you to remember a couple of things. How many 50-60 year old men have even a basic understanding of the internet? And, more to the point, how many have found an incredibly effective way to use the biggest benefit of the internet (i.e., you don’t need to be a megacorp to make a splash) to get the word out to 60K+ people and get them energized? My Dad is Dean’s age, Kerry’s age, etc., and I still have to help him weekly to do basic stuff. He probably would think DMCA is an illegal drug. I applaud anyone of that generation with the courage to risk making a few missteps to try to reach out to our generation in the most technically advanced and difficult way for him. Al Gore may claim to have invented the internet but every major candidate was around 40 or older when the internet took off. In my experience, this is a man who can learn quickly. That makes him a very saleable candidate to the “internet crowd.”

    I think we start with the biggest and most basic threat to the internet: freedom of speech. A-s-h and friends (no I won’t spell his name out, thank you). Break it down, everything *has* to start here. No more random wiretaps of political enemies, no more bs about the unruliness of the internet being a breeding ground for terrorism. He is right – it is the only mass medium where someone can reach everyone with their message cheaply, which is both good and bad but is freedom of speech in its pureist form…currently its only pure form I would say.

    There’s lots of other problems. DMCA which lots of hosts and billing companies seem to ignore in my experience, and for websites that accept credit cards, draconian rules coming down on high from VISA and Mastercard which are enforceable only because of a huge corporate monopoly which is ironically a nonprofit.

    The things I see in Dean – and I don’t necessarily agree with him 100% on all issues – revolve around the fact he’s not part of a machine. No other electable candidate can really say this. He’s against corporate government, against restricting freedom of speech in the name of the “war on terrorism”…and from what I have seen on his blog the campaign responds to people’s suggestions directly in many cases. I can’t think of the last time the government responded to me.

    Dean isn’t an internet prodigy like a lot of us. But the fact he has been able to learn to use the internet effectively to get his message out speaks volumes. It impressed me, and I believe that unlike the DNC elite he recognizes that it’s time to stop giving up on the younger generation and speak to them.

    -doug

  • Mr. Sensitive

    so do the airwaves belong to us or what? that’s what I often hear but I’ve never seen any other trace of it. We should act like we own the airwaves and finally get something of value from the media we created and sustain. Free airtime for qualified candidates for office! The stations should be forced to do this – so we finally get something we need out of something we supposedly own.

    So Howard (can I call you that?), I’m amazed at your forthrightness on many of the issues you talk about – so thank you for that. It’s a great diversion to find a candidate one actually admires and watch that candidate tell the assholes off – so thank you for that. I hope it lasts a long time. I much prefer it to the spectacle of watching another wussy Democrat tiptoe through another lifeless campaign.

    Please advocate for free campaign airtime for qualified candidates. Take back America and take back the airwaves – they’re ours.

  • http://duckseason.blogspot.com Hei Lun

    Why is it that when people rail against media consolidation, Rupert Murdoch and Clear Channel are the only examples brought up? What about AOL-Time Warner? Are they smaller or less influental?

  • Max Philby

    Richard Bennett,

    thank goodness for a fair and balanced voice crying out in the sea of Liberalism present here.

    Governor Dean is indeed pandering to his base, much like his fellow traveler William Safire over at the New York Times, who has consistently taken the line that “putting [media] outlets in fewer and bigger hands profits the few at the cost of the many.” I’m delighted that we have real Conservatives like Rupert Murdoch to stand up to such socialist nonsense!

  • http://kilroy.blogspot.com Kilroy Was Here

    Richard Bennet writes:

    “Much better to have a Big Brother in Washington telling us how to think.”

    Of course, this leads to the question, much better than what? If the choice is between Big Brother in Government vs. Big Brother in the Corporation, I’ll take Government.

    In a market that is completely consolidated, the Corporation, unlike Government, has no accountability to the people for what they do. If they abuse their power, the citizenry has no alternative. In other words, while the citizenry can vote GWB out of the Oval Office, they cannot vote Rupert Murdoch out of his Chief Executive Office.

    If you look at Public Media in other Western Democracies (CBC, BBC, and even NPR), you’ll find a media that owes more allegience to the public welfare than the bottom line. As a result, you’ll find these media to be more critical of our government than our increasingly centrailized corporate media is of ours.

    Now, Richard and his ilk will probably cite Pravda in some follow up post, but again, this is just a red herring. We are more likely to get to a Pravda-like propanda-machine by the continuing centralization of a corporate media afraid to jeopardize its profits by challenging a corporate-friendly administration than we would through more diversified media or more public media.

    Kilroy Was Here

  • Doug

    Max-

    I admit to being a social liberal – but in other aspects I am a real republican (i.e., I don’t want Georgie in my bedroom). They’ve criticized democrats as tax and spend, but what we have is a tax-cut and spend spend spend approach full of deceit and more. He’s not Establishment. Even the Dem Establishment is attacking him. I’m sick of Establishment candidates on either side who really are two degrees apart. It’s time for change, real change, and I (who have *never* contributed to a campaign or believed in one) believe this is our chance to take it all back from the Enrons and Exxons.

    -doug

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Bill Safire, like any number of other journalists, is protecting his own income. One of the fears aroused by streamlined media operations is that they’ll employ fewer journalists. I think we can all understand that.

    Internet newbies, the vocabulary word of the day is “troll”; the shorthand definition is “conservative”, and it’s an attempt to silence diverse views by demonizing their authors. Don’t pay it any mind.

    Doug, I’m a 50-60-year-old white, heterosexual male, and I *think* I understand the Internet pretty well, even though I didn’t invent it. (OK, I did invent the twisted-pair Ethernet standard and the WiFi MAC protocol, but those things aren’t essential to the Internet, not at all.)

    Perhaps I should just leave this high-tech stuff to the kids.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Now, Richard and his ilk will probably cite Pravda in some follow up post

    Actually, I was thinking more along the lines of NPR/PBS. I’ve been interviewed for the New Hour and somehow the clips always end up on the cutting room floor, but Fox News and the L. A. Times love me. Go figure.

  • Janelle in NM

    Richard,
    No, troll does not mean conservative, although trolls tend to be conservatives on Dean’s blogs. A troll is someone who is being rude.

  • Marc Love

    “‘Goodbye Earl’, is a strong statement in favor of taking pre-emptive, extra-legal action against an aggressor whose character is known. (For those who aren’t country music fans like Dr. Dean, this song celebrates the killing of a wife-beater by his victim and her friend; there’s a strong parallel between the action celebrated by this song and the action taken by the Coalition against a heinous dictator who tortures, abuses, and kills his own people.)”

    Good to hear that you think foreign policy decisions of the United States should be based on country music lyrics. Get some help Richard.

  • Doug

    Richard-

    I wasn’t suggesting there aren’t tons of tech-savvy guys your age. I’m sure there are. But it’s unreasonable to expect someone who was 40 when the internet was invented to be an instant expert on all subjects related to the internet. I’m of the “kids” generation and every day I find a new angle that I didn’t expect. (Speaking as a 31 year old kid)

    The internet is a fluid and volatile medium. A lot of the difficulties facing it now though are easily translateable to other mediums in broad strokes. Privacy being one. Spam being another. The EU has taken a sensible approach to dealing with these issues; the US has not, preferring to promote guillotine politics including automatic sentences for spam and dismiss privacy on the internet.

    The problem the internet has come up against is most of the guys in charge are quite set in their ways and probably use a computer for e-mail at best if at all. We’re talking mainstream white upper class America here. They get p/od because of porn spam in e-mail so they try to enact a law to imprison spammers but to them spam is all the same, no concept of opt-in, double opt-in, or any of the complexities related to every issue here. I use this as an example because the EU’s own double-opt-in standard came from an American researcher.

    They enable filters across the board which block ERA, politically incorrect, or sex education sites. They insist on holding ISPs responsible for things they can’t possibly control because they have no concept of how the internet really works. They just want to slam the door on free speech with filters and laws. Much like Saudi Arabia.

    My big point was Dean isn’t old at heart in my view. He has passion, intelligence, and is capable of learning things. His staff responds to suggestions on their blog. He’s the only candidate to build his base from the ground up using the internet.

    Do we really want another corporate presidency? Do we really want someone who thinks there ought to be limits to freedom of speech (Bush quote)?

    -doug

  • http://www.thirdsuperpower.com/ Michael

    “If the choice is between Big Brother in Government vs. Big Brother in the Corporation, I�ll take Government. In a market that is completely consolidated, the Corporation, unlike Government, has no accountability to the people for what they do.” – Kilroy was Here

    In 1776, Thomas Jefferson and some others found themselves in a situation where the government had no accountability to the people. They had to fight a war to do something about it.

    Corporations are somewhat easier to deal with.

  • http://ethanol.blogspot.com Evan

    Dan Chay: That’s a very big question; you could write a book to answer it… and Professor Lessig has already done so a couple of times, actually.

    As I see it the problems boil down to increasing control of both the sources and flow of information, and of the content of that information, by wealthy interests. We already see big corporations like ClearChannel taking over more and more media outlets and controlling them more and more tightly, and that trend could spread to the internet as media companies merge with telecommunication companies and turn the wires that carry our data from common carriers into “information services”, over which they can exercise editorial control. And as for content, copyrights and patents continue to increase in both duration and scope of what they control: the DMCA (digital millenium copyright act) gives copyright holders the power to decide *how* you watch a movie that you’ve bought, the Bono act stretches the duration of that power to nearly a century, and patents have become applicable to mathematical algorithms and human genes.

    The impact of concentrated corporate ownership of media on political speech and expression, and the potential impact of a more controlled internet, is fairly obvious. Less obvious is the impact of intellectual property laws on innovation, art, and cultural development.

    A freewheeling atmosphere of ideas flowing back and forth is the best way for technological innovation to occur; when a new basic technology like the internet comes along, people rapidly find new and useful things to do with it and improve on one another’s work. But then they begin filing patents for things that are novel and nonobvious only because the technology itself is new and unfamiliar to patent officers, and waiting for someone else to come along and invent the same obvious thing so they can slap them with a lawsuit. It creates a chilling effect that those of us in the industry can already feel today, and I fear it will get worse.

    Then there’s art and culture. My personal favorite example in this arena is our familiar depiction of Santa Claus, which would not have entered the public domain until 1977 if today’s copyright law had existed when Thomas Nast was drawing him for the first time. Many thousands of beloved children’s books, movies and pictures, not to mention happy memories of visiting Santa Claus at the shopping mall, would probably never have come into existence, and our culture would be very, very different when December rolled around. The lengthening and broadening of copyright protection may be strangling in the cradle some aspect of American culture that would have been just as important to our descendants in 2100 as Santa Claus was to us when we were growing up.

    We were lucky to have a rich public domain; we owe it to our children and their children to see that their public domain is just as rich, if not richer.

    Copyrights and patents are good things, in moderation; they provide incentives that drive innovation. Rolling back regulations that stifle innovation can be a positive thing too, and lead to a big burst of creativity. But it’s possible to have too much of any good thing, and that’s where we stand today: these tools that should have increased innovation are instead threatening to stifle it.

    A balance is needed between the public interest and the various interests of artists, publishers, telecommunications companies and broadcasters, and things have gotten badly out of balance today. We need to bring the balance back, by either reversing the deregulation of media ownership OR increasing the deregulation of spectrum so that, one way or the other, monopoly is harder to achieve; by ensuring that our cables and phone lines be common carriers and not tools of increasing oligopoly; by protecting the public domain and fair use rights, and ensuring that patents are not improvidently granted.

  • http://www.deanforamerica.com/site/TR?pg=personal&fr_id=1090&px=1248112 Chris G

    I’m really pleased to watch Gov. Dean branch out to new and exciting constituencies who are eager to engage him in a conversation. I understand a bit about the hectic schedule the Governor must be living, having worked for a US Senator whose day was scheduled out in five minute blocks — when she wasn’t campaigning.

    I urge people who like what they hear to consider exercising one of their strongest political voices and opening their wallets as a show of support. Dean is proving time and again — on Iraq, and on media monopolies — that he is willing to speak the truth. Donate a Dollar for the TRUTH.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    it�s unreasonable to expect someone who was 40 when the internet was invented to be an instant expert on all subjects related to the internet

    Dude, the Internet was invented in the 70s, and the World Wide Computer Web in the early 90s, so we’re not talking “instant expert” about people who finally learned how to operate a keyboard in only ten short years.

    Don’t be such a bigot about your age; the Internet was invented by people in my age group, most of them white, heterosexual males with no particular political orientation. If you don’t like us a group, then leave us alone and go invent your own network.

    Still waiting on that Liberia thing.

  • Pat McLaughlin

    “…James Madison and Thomas Jefferson spoke of the fear that economic power would one day try to seize political power. No consolidated economic power has more opportunity to do this than the consolidated power of media. “

    Hurrah! At last, someone who has read something of the Republic’s founding documents, and the supporting materials, and understands them.

    Lincoln warned us, too, about the threat of corporations to the Republic. In very blunt, explicit terms.

    I’d love to hear Dean speak out against corporate personhood (which is not to say against corporations, per se). I know of no single thing that (corrected) would put the people’s political leash back on corporations.

  • http://www.inuus.com/ Paul in SF

    While the proposal to re-regulate the media is interesting, I still wonder if there’s another way to achieve the goal of open access to both broadcasting and internet access? If one reads Lessig’s “Code and..” we find that there are many ways to regulate behavior. He also mentions that the more indirect the regulation, the more unintended consequences one will have.

    Instead of ownership limits perhaps we need to institute definite rules that enforce exactly the goals that are desired.

    So, what law/regulation would you propose to congress and the FCC to insure that we have local content and voices while limiting centralized control?

  • Sherri in Tx

    Richard,

    I get the impression that it’s Ok with you to suppress the ideas of others, as long as you agree with those doing the suppressing. What if, as Gov Dean suggests, a Corporation which has different views than you, decides they don’t want YOU making comments on the internet. Will it still be Ok with you? The fact that corporations have that power right now on TV and radio, and are exercising it, scares me to death! The internet is our only outlet for true freedom of expression. It’s a priviledge I hold dear. I think you do, too.

  • Mike S.

    Speaking of censorship, the Dixie Chicks are actually doing fine, selling lots of (copyrighted) records and selling out their concerts, but that right-wing fascist Michael Savage is getting what he deserves, don�t you think?

    � posted by Richard Bennett on Jul 14 03 at 4:35 PM

    I just want to be clear about this. Are you saying that the Chicks saying that they are embarassed by President Bush is no different then Michael Savage telling someone to go get aides and die?

  • emily

    richard, jeez, yuck, it’s one thing to support our invasion of iraq, but to compare it to a woman killing her abusive husband?

    in an abusive relationship, there’s an aggressor and a victim, yeah? one has power and control and the other can’t get any.

    in the case of iraq v. the united states, there was no imminent threat, we’ve never been bombed by iraq, there was (as is becoming increasingly obvious) no reason to expect they might bomb us, they weren’t even in cahoots with anyone who HAD bombed us. in what way was iraq doing something even REMOTELY comparable to what a spouse does when he beats his wife for not wearing make up or “talking back”?

  • doug

    Richard,

    Stop arguing a senseless point. I’m well aware the internet was invented, not in 1970s but I believe in 1964 – but unless you are DOD, a professor or a serious hacker then for all intensive purposes it became popular with Netscape I believe around ’92, and I (grrr kicking myself) passed an opportunity as a naive young guy to buy stock in Netscape. I have been online since 94.

    Sure it’s taken off great since then. It’s still for MOST people barely ten years old or less. For popular use I mean which in this country is what we are talking about. It is the single most important thing for freedom of speech in probably a century, and every day practically I deal with issues a more technologically interested admin could work to resolve, namely, copyright violations, spam and credit card monopolies.

    Nonetheless, the point you keep eluding is that for once someone actually is trying to bridge the gap between your generation and ours at its widest point – technology. Find me twenty average American males in their 50s and 60s, working typical jobs with a wife and two kids, who use the internet for more than e-mail and a little web browsing. You’ve seized on this because you think it will distract from my argument by portraying me as an ageist. I am anything but. I have helped lots of people who are to use a term is despise “newbies” of all ages to get more internet savvy. Keep arguing this and I will ignore your posts. Argue my main point if you want to.

    -doug

  • http://www.plusnothing.com sara

    thank you so much for addressing the issue of media consolidation. too few politicians have been willing to speak out strongly against it.

  • Dana Powers

    To be fair, there is a bit of a culture clash here – the dean bloggers, lovers of the Troll Goal $$$ maker, and the more used-to-harsh-debate lessig bloggers, including the venerable Richard Bennett.

    Richard Bennett is not a troll, he’s a long time (or at least as long as I’ve been here) member of the lessig blog community. He provides a much needed, though often disputed, conservative outlook on the ideas that Prof. Lessig posts about, and although he is much maligned, this blog would not be quite as good without him.

    I urge Dean-bloggers to remember that this is a forum traditionally rich in debate, with few people that entirely agree with one another. Do not be surprised that the nature of this blog is quite different from blogforamerica – people frequent this blog typically because they have read Lessig’s books and/or are interested in copyright reform or at least in knowing what the copyright reform camp is up to ;)

    If you are new to this blog, please take a minute to visit this website:
    http://www.eldred.cc/
    Prof. Lessig argued Eldred v. Ashcroft in the Supreme Court, in which he challenged the Sony Bono Copyright Extention act. The Court rejected Lessig’s claims, effectively saying that any copyright reform must be initiated by Congress. The Eldred site now hosts an ongoing petition which will hopefully initiate just that.

    Again, if you are a visitor from the Dean blog, please take some time and read over the Eldred Petition. In turn, we will certainly take time to actively engage Dr. Dean’s ideas and positions.

  • http://oceanfordean.blogspot.com doogieh

    Reversal of the FCC decision is a great first step, but how do we get past the multiple DC Circuit decisions finding previous ownership caps to be unconstitutional restraints of speech under the First Amendment?

    While I, like many, disagree with the DC Circuit’s reasoning, and find it inconsistent with earlier supreme court decisions, it makes the simple act of reversing the FCC deregulation ruling much harder. (Not to mention, the DC Circuit cases in which the FCC was reversed were Michael Powell’s principal public reason for lifting many of the ownership caps).

    Even if restoration of the caps passes and is signed into law by the current administration, the DC Circuit is unlikely to find any differently than it already has.

    There should be a way to prevent monopolization and concentration of media ownership without running afoul of the first amendment, but I’m not sure if simply reinstating ownership caps likely to be found unconstitutional is the answer. I’m just not sure what it is.

  • Janelle in NM

    Dana,
    Thank you for explaining the culture clash. I hear and see enough angry, antagonistic discussions elsewhere so I will leave.

    I support Howard Dean for President in 2004.

  • Mark J

    Dr. Dean,

    I’d have to say your blog today is “darn good”.

  • http://dijest.com/aka Phil Wolff
    • Amen to Michael Bryan re: Bring Back the Fairness Doctrine. Equal air time is about diversity of views.
    • Amen to Ashworth re: physical proof of vote. Today’s technology makes Florida’s 2000 ballot problems look good.
    • Amen to Alison S re: Lobby Capital Hill Now as a byproduct of DeanForAmerica. Please adopt MoveOn style persuasion on key issues. Along the way, give visibility to those fighting to keep or get House and Senate seats.
    • Amen to Carlton Nettleton re: California’s budget shortfall lies with (a) over deregulation of energy companies, (b) collusion by those firms to game the system, and (c) Bush choosing to have his administration intervene on behalf of those firms.
    • Amen to Jonathan in GA re: Bush insisting that copying files for personal use is theft, defining more people as criminals than voted for him in the last election.
    • Thanks to Richard Bennet for provoking the conversation. I enjoy your blog, btw. It forces me to questions my/your dogma to better understand the issues. The freedom to disagree in public should be protected, right?

    So some questions for Dr. Dean for tomorrow:

    Where do you stand on…

    • Fair Use? Lots of LessigBlog regulars can clarify the issues which, imho, comes down to when am I free to copy a TV show to videotape for personal, non-commercial use? Opponents say copyright controls should extend into every use, including personal ones.
    • Library censorship? Laws passed require all Federally funded libraries to put censorbots on all publicly accessible Internet stations. Supporters say protect the children.
    • Student / Child Speech rights? While laws say we can execute children, minors don’t have adult rights to commerce, speech, or privacy. Is this correct? What would you change, if anything?
    • Medical Privacy? Does the new HIPPA law go far enough to protect patient privacy? How fast should we adopt Europe’s more expansive definition of privacy rights?

    Thanks for blogging here and getting back to us. This can be a tough crowd, but we’re worth it.

  • http://kilroy.blogspot.com Kilroy Was Here

    Richard cites Fox as an exemplary media arm because they include his opinion, while NPR/PBS must be Pravda-like because they do not include his opinion.

    However, this seems to undermine the thrust behind Richard’s first point. Richard was worried about regulation because that would put too much power in the hands of the government. (See the whole Big Brother comment.) The logical extension of this type of reasoning is that the media should be skeptical of government propaganda, provide facts and opinions that allow the citizenry to consider all sides of an issue, and serve the public good.

    However, of all of our major news outlets, Fox is the least likely to hold this administration’s feet to the fire. In fact, Fox News is more likely to broadcast slavishly unskeptical, pro-Government content than CNN, NPR, PBS, etc.

    If Richard is truly worried about the power of the Government, Fox is the media he should rail against the most. Fox News, and its Hearst-like jingoistic, pro-Government voice provide one of the greatest obstacles to a free public receiving the information necessary to hold their government accountable.

    NPR and PBS, in contrast, provide several outlets for skeptical, objective examination of our government, both during Democratic and Republican administrations. PBS has many programs that provide conservative viewpoints (Washington Week in Review, The McLoughlin Group) and business viewpoints (Marketplace, Nightly Business Report). Fox does not provide any sort of similar liberal viewpoint. (You’d never find “The Nightly Labor Report” on Fox).

    During the Clinton presidency, NPR and PBS dilligently reported on the scandals, providing similar levels of coverage as that of other media. I remember in great detail the wall-to-wall 24 hour coverage my NPR station provided of the impeachment hearings and Senate deliberation, for example. I think one would be hard-pressed to find the same level of objectivity on Fox.

    But, from Richard’s remark regarding his bruised ego, I think that vanity more than ideals are the motivation to his message.

    Kilroy Was Here

  • stephen

    Indeed, consider Mr. Bennett in the way baseball players view swinging a heavier bat before hitting…it’s tough practice. It’s practice for arguing with people who’s opinions on matters actually count. The hard part is realizing that he’s putting more effort into arguing with you than actually listening to you, or trying to understand where you’re coming from. So all in all, not a very *good* arguer, just an energetic one. good luck.

  • Zelig

    Governor Dean,

    Why did you seal your gubernatorial papers from public dissemination?

  • Eddie

    Dr. Dean,

    I’m going to be blunt. I hope you don’t mind.

    Most of the people that regularly read this blog are up to speed on issues of copyright law, so I hope this particular post was meant to be an introduction to, and not the body of, your position on the media.

    Media consolidation is a big problem, and it has been ever since the early days of television. Three major networks carried most of the TV programs, and the only other sources of information were the town paper and the radio. Nowadays, it has of course gotten far worse. All aspects of the media have been subjected to consolidation after deregulation–and each time we have a Bush recession, struggling companies get swallowed up.

    The most significant part of this problem is the fact that these companies are themselves given eternal life–they can only be killed by the market. They have no natural life span, and they have been foolishly given the same rights as people were granted under the 14th Amendment.

    Last March (or was it April?), I talked to you about a plan to abolish term limits on corporate charters and to protect American entrepreneurs by placing protective tariffs on multinational corporations–not states–that had documented human rights violations. Your response was that something had to be done and that you were going to talk to some friends of yours in law about the viability of the plan. It’s my hope that Dr. Lessig was one of these friends.

    At any rate, I know the campaign trail has left you ridiculously busy, but I’d like some answers, and this blog is a perfect forum to give them.

    I plan on caucusing for you in Iowa, by the way.

    ~Eddie

  • patrice

    Evan, thank you very much for your cogent explanation of the basic ideas discussed on this blog. I’ll readily admit I am simply a Dean supporter and came here to learn more. I have.
    I do have an on topic question for Dr. Dean though. While doing his undergrad work, my son worked on a DNA research project. The work was very interesting but there were disturbing side issues that popped up. I had no idea scientists were so propietary. In the world of ideas it seems that exploring and sharing discoveries can only be good for all. But in the current climate scientists seem to be compelled to guard every little bit of info they come across. This has got to stifle inventiveness. To use a very common problem, with respect to lowering the cost of prescription drugs how would you encourage a more vigorous and open research community?

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    But, from Richard�s remark regarding his bruised ego, I think that vanity more than ideals are the motivation to his message.

    My ego, dear one, is pretty stout, so you needn’t worry about it. The point is that NPR/PBS/The News Hour exercises a heavy hand of censorship to spin the news a certain way, and I’ve seen this at work at first hand. It’s my experience that Fox is more accomodating to liberal views, and this is partly driven by my experience where they asked me to debate Neil Cavuto on Martha Stewart. There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a news gathering operation that the average citizen isn’t aware of (sometime ask me about Daniel Schorr and Lowell Weicker during the Watergate hearings).

    The number one issue for all voters in these times of focus groups and polling has got to be whether these candidates believe the things they say or are just parroting the material their handlers give them. Ex: Dean tells the NAACP he’s against racial profiling. Can Dean defend this position to the families of the 9/11 victims who just might be happier today if there had been a little closer scrutiny of Arab males in airports on 9/11?

    That’s the test of character, not just sucessfully doing the serial pandering game that they all do.

  • http://www.myrmecos.net Alex in CA

    Above, I see blame flying left and right (literally) over who and what caused the budget crisis in California.

    Right-wingers like Bennett hold that it is leftist “special interests”, leftists blame the energy industry market manipulation. As tempting as it is to use the crisis as political fodder, the truth is that both sides are right about some things, and wrong about others.

    The bottom line in CA is that we were riding high on the 1990′s economy, and when the economy tanked so did tax revenues. THAT is the primary problem, and it is neither the fault of industry nor of special interests. The budget deficit is not really Gray Davis’s fault, nor that of the legislators. They did not deflate the dot-com bubble, nor surpress consumer confidence.

    Conservatives are wrong when they fault the government and the special interests for causing the crisis- and I think the most that can be said in agreement with them is that these interests should be more willing than they have been to make sacrifices to bring the budget back into line.

    Liberals are (mostly) wrong to blame the crisis on energy market manipulation. It is certainly true that 10 billion or so of the deficit comes from the manipulation, but 10 billion out of the nearly 40 billion total shows that market manipulation is not the main problem. However, it is an important factor and the liberals are right to pressure the feds.

    The ultimate solution to the crisis in California is to get the economy moving again. Blame-mongering does not help achieve this goal.

    You may now return to your regular scheduled topic.

    (ps- Go Howard! I am with you 100% on the FCC regulations. And I am confident that you will take the 2004 election.)

  • Anne Bradley

    Thank you Dana.

    Context always helps.

  • Andrew

    Dean, you have it ass-backward on the media regulations. Clear Channel et al make their decisions based on ratings, which are determined by (pause for emphasis) what the people want to see and hear. PBS, BBC, CBC, and other state-run media are bad not because they are liberal, but because they take a side while feeding off of tax dollars. Let them go private and be as liberal as they want. Meanwhile, Fox News succeeds not because Rupert Murdoch owns everything, but because Fox News taps into an ideological zeitgeist that CNN, MSNBC, and the broadcast stations completely ignore. That is, Fox News has found it prosperous to take into account the conservative, Republican viewpoint. Now, if everybody became like Fox News, the strategy wouldn’t work, ratings would drop, and a liberal Fox News would rise up to suck in the market for liberal media. Therefore, the market drives content, not corporate ownership. Corporations are interested in making money, not thought control. The best way to make money is to give the people what they want. Why should government stand in the way of that?

  • Eddie

    I have to say that I agree most of what Mr. Bennett is saying. I don’t think that simple media re-regulation is going to solve the problem of corporate-controlled media. I also hope that Dr. Dean will stick to his guns and not kiss a single square inch of ass on his campaign. He will lose if he begins to.

    I also agree with Mr. Bennett’s position on Fox News, though I despise Fox and their puffery. I agree with the democratization of media. I agree that conservative viewpoints need to be aired nationally alongside liberal, libertarian, moderate, and socialist viewpoints. But points of view are not readily disseminated through corporate power, which is why caps must be imposed on the charter length of the existing news corporations. This would give the companies some time to prepare for their eventual demolition, and the economy some time to adjust to short-term charters–the kind of charters the Founders preferred.

  • Phoenix Woman

    Richard Bennett’s a GOP troll from way back, folks. He used to pollute Salon’s Table Talk message boards with his specious arguments before it went to pay-to-post.

    Sigh. Richard thinks that the GOP will let him in on their Grover-Norquist-designed gravy train. Sorry, Richard — the only thing that you’ll get out of Bush (besides the knowledge that less and less of your taxes — or Halliburton’s taxes, for that matter — will be going to nonwhite nonrich people) will be a GOPTeamLeader mug.

  • JP Abenstein, M.D.

    For a physician, Dr. Dean, your understanding of current events is amazingly thin.

    Thirty years ago there were only 3 television stations, ABC, NBC, CBS and maybe, considering where you lived, PBS. The only news available was from these three, New York based, sources. Newspapers all reprinted the same columns and editorials. The source of news and information available was very narrow and controlled by east-coast elites, but of course you come from east-coast elites so maybe that’s OK in your world.

    Today, we have the big-three, CNN, MSNBC, Fox, and most-importantly the internet. There is no central control of news and information. You’re worried about conservative-talk-radio, but you have no concern with relentless, government funded, radical left NPR.

    You are, as usual, self-serving and transparent on this issue Dr. Dean. Today the american people have access to more information and more sources than ever before and maybe that’s what you and your friends on the radical, anti-american left are concerned about

  • Janet

    Just a comment about the current state of free expression-in working for our local Dean Meetup, we have been trying to post flyers advertising…Meetup. WELL, we have found that places that allow you to post a flyer are now few and far between. The local library…? No, if it is political. The local community center…? No, if it is political. Grocery Store? We took the bulletin board down because it was too controversial. Put up flyers at work? Torn down in a day.

    We found the only local outlet is at the University (Michigan State), which has a rule that all flyers from student organizations can be posted on any bulletin board on campus. But, at MY community center, and MY library, no.

    Now of course I understand that if I am allowed to put up a Dean flyer, the young Nazis can post also. Yet how bland and uninformative we have allowed our world to become.

    Thank God for the internet. The info may sometimes be bogus, but it is FREE AND UNCENSORED. Pretty frightenening and enlightening to see how hard it is to report just a darn meeting!

  • The Law Student

    I hate to spoil the party over here but I think I’m going to disagree with you folks, and I hope you guys will indulge me by hearing me out.
    Leaving aside the moral question we really have to ask ourselves about where anyone (the FCC) gets a right to tell anyone else (the media) how to invest and develop their enterprises. Without the sacrafices and “selfish” contributions that those that create value in an economy make, we would still be living in a cave picking berries to survive, (and watching one government channel). Always think of the staggering hard work that media moguls like Steven Gottleib make, and after that their entire life’s work the New York Times can destroy with one poorly scribbled article. (article http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/14/business/media/14TUNE.html)(you may have to login – “How dare the evil media conglomerates make us login to read the product that they produced” /sacrasm). Keep in mind (much as in the economy as a whole a mere ten percent is responsible for virtually all production) in media, a very small group of responsible, capable, “selfish”, productive people produce virtually all the financing and organization responsible for running the strongest and most diverse media complex in the world. A media where whether Republican or Democrat; Libertarian or Green every politician gets a voice, and has that voice challenged respectfully. It is this productive core of talented people we want to encourage. One Rupert Murdoch or Ted Turner goes farther in producing a diverse and put together package than 100,000,000 whiny libertarians, or leftists. They need to be encouraged, not held back.

    To put it another way, let’s sketch two futures:
    Future one – An “Equalization of Opportunity” bill is passed which disallows any one person from owning more than one media outlet in one city. Except for in the very largest cities, there aren’t more than a handful of people with the vision, the capablity, the intestinal fortitude to do what it takes to create a quality media channel. Because there is no genuine competition, no profit motive, and no hope worth the sacrafice for the producers what you end up is with a mediocre half-hearted effort by uninspired fat cats aware of their monopolistic position. Let’s give an example::An exec comes up with an idea to radicalize prime-time. “Reality Television,” he says,”is the wave of the future. It will allow viewers to connect and identify with what happens”. Equalization of Opportunity hires think, do I want to risk money and prestige on this hairbrained, out of the box idea? There isn’t a great deal of payoff I will get if it goes well. Brand name is inconsequetial since without networks there is no cross-synegry, so what benefit can justify risking this new idea.
    Future Two: eight or nine major networks, each one alone dwarfing the BBC, the French Government spokesmedia, and the CBC; in cutthroat competition for viewership and advertisers. Every network develops an entire pallette of channels, that appeal to the high-brow, to the low-brow; to the left, to the right; to children, to adults, to the elderly; in a way that is specifically targetted to the needs and wants of that audience. The line goes out the door and around the block of productive, capable and “selfish” people willing to sacrafice their comfort and security in investing in trying to join the fray. Let’s look at that example again::An exec comes up with an idea to radicalize prime-time. “Reality Television,” he says,”is the wave of the future. It will allow viewers to connect and identify with what happens”. Profit focussed and “self”-interested individuals spring up, knowing the risks of such an enterprise and revolutionize the boob tube.
    Through which future is a better media produced, through which medium is the best brought out of society, through which medium are people served better?

  • plasmastate

    Dr Dean, I remember asking you about the DMCA and Mickey Laws in NH, at the SEE Center. At the time you said I was the first to ask you, and you therefore couldn’t provide a proper position. I’m glad, based on your posting this week, that you found the right one. Just one more reason I support you through good and bad. Your bases are covered, so give all ya got against Bush. And when you are president, bring Larry onboard – he is wise far beyond his years. Dean Has The FIRE!!!

  • Maven

    Andrew:

    you say: “The best way to make money is to give the people what they want.”

    I sure would love to think so. But that would assume that there’s some sort of two-way communication with the audience. Despite what you might think in the world that supports your theory, you can’t actually vote for what comes on TV, let alone how the news is reported.

    Ratings, you say ? Riggghhht. Just like Richard pointed out, when there were only 3 networks, we ate what they fed us, anyway. And continue to do so. Ratings are basically irrelevant when it comes to news reporting. Most ratings are there for metering audience response to entertainment, not coverage.

    some simple math here:

    when more companies own the airwaves, you will have more companies looking for markets to get into…left, right, centrist, whatever. when there are less companies, then content WILL be shared across all media outlets…or, at least, it’s much more possible, and likely. Hence: not as much of a diverse set of viewpoints.

    Now, Mr. Bennett has argued in the past that he thinks that it doesn’t matter…that “TVnetwork A” will compete with “TVnetwork B”, “RadioChannelC”, and “NewspaperD”, with *opposing* viewpoints, especially if they are owned by one company. His theory is that, just like in employee corporate culture, that each media channel will be ‘rewarded’ for having diverse viewpoints. I’ll leave it up to someone else to explain to him what a naive opinion that is.

    point B…
    So going along with your theory, if “The best way to make money is to give the people what they want.” is indeed true, then it should be true whether or not there is few companies providing media, or many. So why not many ??

  • Eddie

    And we are now all better off because of the focus groups that like watching people eat worms.

    Anyway, I disagree with your dichotomy, The Law Student. As these corporations desire to stay competitive in a free market, why would smaller markets access become any less competitive? With a smaller pool of advertising money to draw from, you would think each media source would trying even more ardently to outmaneuver the other with new products and innovation.

    Then again, I’m imagining a scenario in which media corporations have long since had their term limits expire.

    I do not understand where you get the idea that cities would have their media monopolized when regulations are passed that don’t allow them to monopolize media–i.e. the “Equal Opportunity” you speak of. What I see are smaller markets being created, in which driven local entrepreneurs have the means to compete for the attention of their readers and viewers.

    What this would result in is not a lack of brand-name identification. Rather, it would more closely resemble the newspaper wars of the 19th century, and while many papers at that time resorted to yellow journalism, the profession has matured somewhat, and mainstream audiences have lost a lot of their appetite for libel. What I envision is a scenario in which people are fiercely loyal to their local paper, whichever one appeals most to them–in the manner that viewers are often fiercely loyal to Fox News. The key difference is that the media are more responsive and beholden to their readers/viewers when circulation is smaller and the leaders more accessible. The market becomes more competitive and more innovative.

  • http://www.myrmecos.net Alex in CA

    Above, Andrew wrote:

    ‘Clear Channel et al make their decisions based on ratings, which are determined by (pause for emphasis) what the people want to see and hear. “

    So the Clear Channel hired a market research team to determine whether or not listeners wanted the Dixie Chicks pulled off the air?

  • Roger Zimmerman

    Dr. Dean,

    I believe Madison and Jefferson had a solution to the “fear that concentrated economic power would one day try to seize political power”: it was to drastically LIMIT the scope of government power, so that the state could not supress the rights of the people, regardless of who held the reigns of power. The means by which they limited the scope of government power was the constitution, which they viewed as a document of enumerated powers for the government, NOT of enumerated rights for the people. The people’s rights – in their view – extended ANYWHERE that the government’s powers (as explicitly listed in the constitution) did not. And, to close this loop, nowhere in the constitution is listed the power to interfere with the free association of individuals as they form corporation, make contracts, buy and sell their property, i.e. engage in all of the actions which you imply should be legally restricted in your criticism of “big media”, whatever that means.

    Now, I suspect like most modern liberals, you do not take the constitution literally. You therefore can rationalize that phrases like “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press” do not actually mean that our government has no such powers. Your position is likely that it is the outcome that matters, not the process; that if protecting the freedom of the press means that the Dixie Chicks need to pay for their freedom of speech by losing air time and record sales, well, then we can’t REALLY have freedom of the press. Or perhaps you believe that freedom of speech means you don’t have to be courageous enough to risk losing some income; that, in fact, it means that others must provide you with the means to speak and not criticize you, lest your feelings be hurt.

    To hold those positions honestly and forthrightly would honor your reputation for being a straight-shooter. However, to rely on Jefferson and Madison to support a position which is in direct contradiction to their intentions at the founding of this country does no honor to your reputation, and is an insult to their memory and their legacy.

    Sincerely,

    Roger S. Zimmerman

  • DougLevene

    Dr. Dean,

    Please forgive me, but I think you’ve entirely missed the point of the Dixie Chicks episode. What I saw happen was several United States Senators implicitly threaten a private company with the loss of its radio license if it didn’t broadcast the musicians favored by the senators. That’s an abuse of power, and a real threat to the First Amendment, which is precisely what a private company deciding what musicians to play is not.

  • tom hirashima

    nice to know someone speaks my language, dean. keep it up and you have my vote.

  • Eddie

    Mr. Zimmerman, I’m afraid that you have missed the point and also, to a small degree, misrepresented the opinions of Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Madison.

    In fearing that economic power would someday try to seize political power, they had in mind the East India Company, which represented the commercial interests of the British elite–those in power. This case is not a perfect comparison, but none existed at that time. My point is that when economic and political power were shared, human rights were violated. The colonists were unfairly taxed, and seeing as they were not represented, they dumped the tea in Boston harbor. This, along with the anger manifested toward the British at their former religious persecution and at class warfare, led to the American Revolution. But I digress.

    It is true that they sought to limit federal power by holding it to the Constitution. However, James Madison was a Federalist, and he co-authored the Federalist papers, which adjucated a stronger central government than under the Articles of Confederation.

    It is also true that Thomas Jefferson envisioned a nation of citizen-farmers, which would have no strong economic power beyond self-sufficiency. Neither Jefferson nor Madison favored the existence of corporations, nor would either of them have supported corporate personhood and eternal charters. That is what their opposition to economic power would more closely resemble–not simply a cap on governmental power.

  • http://www.kmentor.com/socio-tech-info/ mentor cana

    I do believe that the open source Internet as we know it today does posses the properties and the attributes to empower the �little person� or the �one-man-band� to impose certain agendas (to some extend) on the large companies.

    In the open source Internet as a possible antidote to corporate media hegemony I have argued exactly this: the open source Internet, as a result of open source movement, manifests itself as a possible antidote to the corporate media hegemony, not only in the US but also throughout the world.

  • Eddie

    Hubris, I hate to be the one to tell you this, but corporations are, by legal precedent, considered private citizens.

    The precedent, amazingly enough, comes from the HEADNOTES of the Santa Clara County vs. Southern Pacific Railroad Company case in the Supreme Court, in which the court recorder records a statement by Chief Justice Waite, in which he claims that corporations are persons.

    Headnotes are not legally binding, however, subsqeuent court cases have used Mr. Waite’s statements as precedent, thereby establishing a binding precedent that corporations have legal personhood.

  • Katherine

    Roger Zimmerman: Freedom of the press in no way involves freedom to buy as large a % of the airwaves–which belonged to the public in the first place–as you can get your hands on. It doesn’t mean that anymore than it means we each have to be given our own printing press. The Supreme Court interprets the 1st Amendment to allow restriction of CONTENT on broadcast media like TV so the government can certainly prevent ownership. What you’re talking about sounds much more like the Lochner court’s “freedom of contract” than anything Jefferson or Madison ever wrote.

    I think I’ve located one of the Jefferson quotations Dean is referring to:
    “With money we will get men, said Caesar, and with men we will get money. Nor should our assembly be deluded by the integrity of their own purposes, and conclude that these unlimited powers will never be abused, because themselves are not disposed to abuse them. They should look forward to a time, and that not a distant one, when corruption in this, as in the country from which we derive our origin, will have seized the heads of government, and be spread by them through the body of the people; when they will purchase the voices of the people, and make them pay the price.”

    http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch10s9.html

    To me this supports Dean’s view much more than yours. Can’t find a Madison quote offhand.

  • Ian Field

    Richard,

    Regarding your question as to Governor Dean’s position on Liberia:

    First, it is a question of morality, rather than (or at least primary to) pragmatism. Most progressives are of the opinion that the US’ singular position of dominance comes with a singular responsibility to humanity. Part of that responsibility involves looking and acting the part of “leader.”

    The perceived conflict at the center of this question is “National Interest-ism” vs. Humanitarianism. I say these two “-isms” are one and the same. Unlike an objectivist, a progressive will tell you that the good of humanity is the good of the individual, with the qualification that this is a reciprocal relationship.

    Back to looking and acting the part of leader. It undermines our credibility of a leadership role if it is perceved (correctly or not) that the leader’s interests a.) are not aligned with the interests of the group, and/or b.) are prioritized above the interests of the group. Iraq created that perception, and was bad for humanity, and for our national interests. Regardless of whether or not the invasion of Iraq was justified, or even right, it was perceived as a misplaced, self-serving, lashing out by the US towards a weaker opponent, in opposition to world opinion. Further, it undermined the efforts of international institutions (all of which we “lead,” at least in spirit) in the middle east.

    This was bad for humanity, and bad for our national interests. The situation in Liberia, and our intervention, is/would be a polar opposite. Our leadership is desired. It is a chance to repair our tarnished images, and help humanity. There is no reason not to do it, Somalia be damned.

    I could go on, but I don’t think you’re listening now — you’re framing your response.

    Ian

  • David in AK

    Roger Zimmerman said, “The means by which they limited the scope of government power was the constitution, which they viewed as a document of enumerated powers for the government, NOT of enumerated rights for the people. The people�s rights – in their view – extended ANYWHERE that the government�s powers (as explicitly listed in the constitution) did not.”

    On the other hand, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia stated the other day that, “The Constitution just sets minimums. Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires.”

    So, I guess Justice Scalia is a liberal?

  • Mark J

    I can’t believe some people here are actually *for* media de-regulation and consolidation! Even the NRA, John McCain and Olympia Snowe are both republicans that are against the FCC’s most recent rulings. It seems the dittoheads have gone to a new level if they are for consolidation.

    The only people that seem to be for what the FCC has done are the ones that are being bought by big media! They are lucky enough to have bought the chairman of the house commerce committee and will kill any legislation banning cross ownership and lowering the % back to 35%.

    This isnt even a Clear Channel or Fox News issue. This isnt a left or right issue. This isn’t a liberal or conservative issue. This is an issue that is very much like Dr. Dean. It is an issue that is hard to pigeonhole. It is an issue for the people. It is an issue that puts the public good over the bottom line.

    I commend Dr. Dean. He is a true independent thinker that decides issues based on the facts (not the polls). Gov. Dean seems to approach politics like a physician. He finds the problem and fixes it.

  • Ian Field

    Richard,

    Regarding your question as to Governor Dean’s position on Liberia:

    First, it is a question of morality, rather than (or at least primary to) pragmatism. Most progressives are of the opinion that the US’ singular position of dominance comes with a singular responsibility to humanity. Part of that responsibility involves looking and acting the part of “leader.”

    The perceived conflict at the center of this question is “National Interest-ism” vs. Humanitarianism. I say these two “-isms” are one and the same. Unlike an objectivist, a progressive will tell you that the good of humanity is the good of the individual, with the qualification that this is a reciprocal relationship.

    Back to looking and acting the part of leader. It undermines our credibility of a leadership role if it is perceved (correctly or not) that the leader’s interests a.) are not aligned with the interests of the group, and/or b.) are prioritized above the interests of the group. Iraq created that perception, and was bad for humanity, and for our national interests. Regardless of whether or not the invasion of Iraq was justified, or even right, it was perceived as a misplaced, self-serving, lashing out by the US towards a weaker opponent, in opposition to world opinion. Further, it undermined the efforts of international institutions (all of which we “lead,” at least in spirit) in the middle east.

    This was bad for humanity, and bad for our national interests. The situation in Liberia, and our intervention, is/would be a polar opposite. Our leadership is desired. It is a chance to repair our tarnished images, and help humanity. There is no reason not to do it, Somalia be damned.

    I could go on, but I don’t think you’re listening now — you’re framing your response.

    Ian

  • Ian Field

    Sorry about the multiples, I guess we are stressing this blog’s bandwidth/capacity…

  • Sydney Platt

    I figured it was only a matter of time before the Power Mongers started to target the internet, the last power base of the people. It is obvious the way the Bush administration has assaulted our civil liberties in so many areas that they mean to silence the masses. “Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of this Nation must begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech.” — Benjamin Franklin. It is very crucial that those of us who haven’t been scared silent by this radical right wing agenda gather up our courage and become a chorus to the rest of the country. This will only remain the “land of the free and the home of the brave” if we don’t wimp out and let the tyrants take our freedom from us.

  • Jag

    Right. So I suppose we’d be better off if all media were regulated? Everything judged by the omniscient state? It’s simple: either you support state interference in speech, or not. This is not about Fox News seizing the presidency in a bloody coup. This is about whether the State should or should not determine what views are broadcast. Media deregulation is a step towards getting the state out of that business.

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

    Corporations may not be individuals, but they are formed by individuals. Denying them rights means doing the same to the people owning and running the corporations.

    Is it the role of a liberal state to determine who shall or shall not be allowed to run the printing presses (or TV channels)? Would the founding fathers ever have supported using the coercive power of the state to shut down a printing press they do not like? For that is what you are proposing to do against Fox News or Clear Channel.

  • The Other Law Student

    Law Student, I’m glad you’ve read Atlas Shrugged, where everyone has one of two personalities. In that world no rational person disagrees with you. Unfortunately, this is not that world. People can be “looters” in Rand’s sense of the word and still get by just fine. In fact, I’d argue that this is exactly what media conglomerates are. They’re not the imbeciles of Atlas Shrugged, who regulate themselves into oblivion, but maximize profits by selectively playing the game of economics and the game of politics. They get to have their cake and eat it to, at least in your false dichotomy.

    What we have are people who, at the flip of a switch, can deny entire people access to vast amounts of information. You’re passing off our rights from an entity that, insofar as it follows the Constitution, is limited to one that is essentially unlimited. What we need is a way to limit both.

    I do find it amusing, though, that you swiped Rand without attribution. I mean, you even mentioned an “Equalization of Opportunity” bill. Isn’t that a bit like taking something you haven’t earned?

  • http://kilroy.blogspot.com Kilroy Was Here

    Richard writes:
    My ego, dear one, is pretty stout, so you needn�t worry about it. The point is that NPR/PBS/The News Hour exercises a heavy hand of censorship to spin the news a certain way, and I�ve seen this at work at first hand.

    I’m glad Richard’s ego is stout, since my vanity comment of mine was too much bomb-throwing a not enough lamp-lighting. I hope he accepts my apologies.

    However, if Richard’s main point was censorship of views, then that doesn’t jibe with criticism of government regulation of the media. Unless, Richard is arguing that government regulation of the media somehow creates or enhances the type of censorship Richard has viewed. I’d like to hear his thoughts on why that would be.

    (Of course, one man’s ‘censorship’ is another’s ‘judicious editing.)

    It would be hard to argue; however, that government regulation increasing the number of media owners and types of content would decrease skeptical inquiry of the government.

    Moreover, it would be far easier to argue that centralization of the media coupled with a need to show profit would be more likely to prevent skeptical inquiry of the Government.

    That argument would go as follows:

    • The main goal of centralized corporate news media is to increase profits. Any act that may endanger profits is less likely to receive airplay.
    • The main content source of centralized corporate news media is government officials themselves.
    • Anything that damages relationships or limits access to government officials could potentially endanger the main content source.
    • Endangerment of the content source could endanger profits.
    • Ergo, centralized corporate media is less likely to present views or news that could damage access or relationships to government officials.
    • Thus, centralized corporate media is more likely to bias along pro-government lines and less likely to provide skeptical scrutiny of government actions.
    • The more centralized the media, the more pro-government the media will become. Since their centralization (and their profits) depend upon the government refraining from regulation.

    Case in point is BBC media vs. US major media outlets. BBC Media, though government-run and financed, has been far more critical of the British Government than US media outlets. Is this because the BBC is more liberal? Probably not, since the party in power is the Labor party.

    (If the BBC was just a liberal version of Fox, you would think they’d be far more supportive of Tony Blair.)

    In America, Government-sponsored censorship is far less likely than the more insidious subtle censorship of corporations protecting their turf and their profit at the expense of the public good.

    If censorship is the demon one wants to fight, better to fight it with the collective action of democratic government accountable to its citizenry than a centralized private media accountable only to a profit motive.

    In other words, if you want to prevent censorship, better to increase regulation.

    Kilroy Was Here

  • Matt Young

    Hey, I liked you best in “Rebel Without a Cause”.

  • Jan Ducker

    First, I would like to thank Al Gore for being the first in Congress to “take the initiative” in proposing funding for taking the internet to the public.

    Second, all of this stuff about ratings driving the content –

    The public’s perception of the world is greatly shaped by what the media (which used to be called the “news” and was populated by journalists, not readers) tells us.

    Do we want to be edified or just have stuff pre-packaged and spoon fed to us? For example, during the Iraq attack, the true story was not reported. The number of innocent Iraqis killed and maimed was not reported. The continued suffering of the Iraqis without sufficient food, clean water and electricity (in 120 degree weather) is not discussed. Fox and CNN apparently decided for us that we didn’t want to know this, that we didn’t want to know all of the facts before the attack, and we didn’t want to know the true cost in human suffering as a result.

    Any statements by experts, leaders of other nations, inspectors, scientists, witnesses, that disagreed with the rah rah attitude and awe-struck fanaticism in support of the attack was kept out of the “news”.

    So it’s not a matter of ratings, which measure a degree of choice, but of manipulation of the perception of the public. It’s the media deciding what we should know and think.
    It’s easy to please people who don’t know any better because they don’t know all the facts.

    Perhaps even more people would watch if they were given the opportunity to review the whole story – i.e., treated like adults.

    Is it really “liberal” to expect newspeople to simply state the facts, as in “We report, you decide?”

  • Joe

    Just wanted to make a note that I saw a sarcastic anti-Dean post, from some ass complaining that the media was too liberal. These anti-Dean posts should be trashed immediately. Limbaugh doesn’t allow Liberals to have a fair shot on his show. This is OUR forum – remove their comments immediately.

    There is no such thing as a liberal media, and there never has been.

    As Greg Palast has noted, and I’m paraphrasing, Liberal Media my ass! You just try taking on corporate power and see how far your career goes!

  • http://kilroy.blogspot.com Kilroy Was Here

    Andrew writes:
    PBS, BBC, CBC, and other state-run media are bad not because they are liberal, but because they take a side while feeding off of tax dollars.

    However, Andrew fails to see the point. In fact, we do want our media to take a side. We want them to take the side of the public against those institutions which may act against the public good. This would include government and large corporations. (I’ll throw in big labor here as well.)

    This means that we want a media which will, regardless of which party is in power, skeptically question administration policies, unearth corruption, and present various positions critical of the government from the left and the right.

    Whenever you have a media that is pro-government, that suppresses debate, that parrots a party-line fed to them from Washington (no matter what party), you have a media that is betraying the public good for their own private dollar.

    For example, Fox News. The main beneficiary from the de-regulation of the media has been Fox, AOL/Time Warner, and Disney. As a result, you have a media now that will protect the source of the hegemony (lack of government regulations) at the expense of true debate.

    Far better for us to have a BBC like media that would seriously question the government and fund their news organization from the people at large.

    Why? Because if the people began to see the Pravdazization of the public media, they could hold their government accountable through their votes.

    How can we hold Rupert Murdoch accountable?

    Kilroy Was Here

  • Mark J

    The purpose of the regulation is to put a limit on media ownership. The bandwidth of the TV stations and Radio Stations is very limited. This inherently makes this market something other than a free-market.

    The more consolidation, the less workers you need to do the same job (only need 1 marketing team for 4 TV stations, for example). And the more consolidation, the better price control you can have. Without regulation, the natural tendency in the broadcast market would be to very few people owning the entire market. This is because of the very high profit margins in broadcast media. Quality would go down, and we are already seeing this. The amount of commercial time per hour is going up rapidly in the radio, and programming seems to be more homogonized.

    With cross ownership, we are also seeing more advertisements set as “news-segments”. For example, the morning “2 Fast 2 Furious” came out, I saw 2 news segments on the UPN and CBS morning news that ran a minute long trailer for the movie. This was basically a free commercial. And it benefited the parent company –viacom.

    So regulation is not the same as big brother. Government in this case serves the purpose as creating the rules and enforcing the rules. They are out there to promote fair play and create as close to a “free-market” in a closed-market such as broadcast.

    And one more important point, the government has inherent checks and balances–the people. In the case of broadcast media, there are significantly lower checks. Sure you can stop backing a product, but you must have alternatives. Slower and slower our alternatives are going away. Public broadcasting and the internet have filled nicely as an alternative, but if Ashcroft or Senator Hatch get their way, the internet will soon be controlled by big business.

  • http://www.causingeffect.com/blog Josh

    35% or 45%, a spectrum swath monopoly is a spectrum swath monopoly. We want our spectrum back.

  • Lucian

    Howard Dean has surprirsed me with his knowledge on the subject. He’s done his research and made alot of good points. Now Howard, what are some of your solutions?

    Mike Stark”theft of intellectual property”
    Its copyright infrigement, civil disobedience, theft is when you take something, such as taking someones intellectual property and then selling products based on it. Most people dont do this, they simply refuse to pay.

  • Jonathan in GA

    Election Strategy

    1. Energize base in liberal states (Iowa/Minnesota/Wisconsin, West Cost, New England, New York)

    2, Fight HARD in tossup states (Missouri/Illinois/Pennsylvania/Michigan/Florida/

    3. Hope to squeak by on a few small states that are tossups (Arizona, New Mexico, etc.)

    4. Win the state your VP comes from (hopefully a decently sized, moderate-to-conservative state)

    5. Cause enough damage in highly republican states (Texas, Lousiana, etc.) that George Bush has to divert resource.
    This one is critical. Al Gore never campaigned in the deep south, and Bush didn’t have to spend a penny here.

    Dean can carry his moderate message to poor whites and blacks in rural Georgia. He may not carry the state, but he can win 45%.

    That’s all you need to do, Dr. Dean!

  • Macemming

    This is hilarious. Howard Dean keeps talking about private property owners not shutting down speech they don’t like. At the same time, this website will be blocking trolls (people who argue too rudely).

    I don’t have a problem with a person running a privately owned website blocking trolls.

    Where exactly is the problem with a CEO choosing not to provide funding for the propagation of views he finds distasteful? Should he be forced to fund views with which he disagrees?

  • http://kilroy.blogspot.com Kilroy Was Here

    A quick point on media goals. As I have pointed out, private corporate media’s primary goal is to increase profit. However, some have confused increasing profit with giving people what they want.

    Profit is created by giving people what they’ll take for the smallest cost. For example, let’s suppose that we have two shows. Number one show: Investigative Reporting. Number Two Show: Man Eats Worms.

    SomeCableNetwork (SCN) broadcasts Investigative Reporting and gets a 3 share. From this, their ad revenues are $25 million per show.

    OtherCableNetwork (OCN) broadcasts Man Eats Worms and gets a 1.1 share. From this, their ad revenues are $10 million dollars.

    So, from first observation, you think shows like Investigative Reporting would begin to dominate the media.

    However, that analysis ignores the other important feature of profit — cost.

    If Man Eats Worms only costs $1 million to produce each show, then the profit on Man Eats Worms is $9 million a week.

    If Investigative Reporting costs $20 million to produce each show, then Investigative Reporting only nets $5 million a week.

    So, before you know it, SCN has cancelled Investigative Reporting and put in Man Eats Cockroaches.

    Remember, profit does not tie into what people want; profit is all about what people will pay for and how much that will costs to make. It’s a mistake to think that this is always the best for the public good.

    Kilroy

  • http://baylink.pitas.com Jay R. Ashworth

    Mr Bennett writes: The point is that NPR/PBS/The News Hour exercises a heavy hand of censorship to spin the news a certain way, and I’ve seen this at work at first hand. It’s my experience that Fox is more accomodating to liberal views, and this is partly driven by my experience where they asked me to debate Neil Cavuto on Martha Stewart.

    After I pick myself up off the floor from laughing, I’ll say “NPR? Censor?” Obviously, Richard, you either get a different feed than I do, or you use the word censor to mean something other than I am accustomed to people meaning when they use the word.

    Or, maybe, it’s “liberal” you’re redefining.

    But I follow some of the international press along with CNN, FNC, and NPR, and it isn’t NPR that sticks out of that crop like a wart…
    – j

  • Mark J

    Facetia:

    Well said on all accounts. Remember, the purpose of the FCC is to promote the public good, localism, and competition. Those are good goals, right? Well I don’t think the FCC rule rollbacks do any of these.

  • Steve Adams

    No organization should have more then 10% of the local radio, TV or print access to a local market. If they do they should be forced to devote whatever percent it is over that to the public.

    Long live free speech!!! Dr. Dean Rocks!!!

  • Katherine

    Whoa. I think I can speak for most of the left when I say: I don’t think Fox and Clear Channel should be shut down by the FCC because they’re conservative and/or lousy. I just don’t want them owning any more of the airwaves than they already do–in fact I think we’d be better off if they owned somewhat less. But not none. I mean, I hope people would spontaneously decide that Rupert Murdoch’s various media outlets bear no resemblance to journalism as a rule, and stop buying them, but a government shut down because they’re conservative? No–that would absolutely not be acceptable.

    I know the MoveOn ad campaign singled out Murdoch but it’s because he’s considered a particularly unscrupulous guy by many on the left (and some on the right, that sucking up to China is no good either) so he’s the specific example that’s good at calling attention to the general problem.

    As for the Dixie Chicks: No one was asking Clear Channel to play anti-war songs. But blacklisting someone for political speech made in other place at another time, which does not affect their ability to do their job (sing catchy songs) is different, and it’s not good. It’s the difference between McDonald’s firing you because you antagonize customers by spouting off on the Iraq war, and firing you because they find out you went to an anti war protest on your own time. What Clear Channel did is not illegal under the first amendment, but it’s bad and it shows why media concentration in a few private hands can stifle debate. (Volokh has some decent posts on this.)

  • http://e-town.blogspot.com/ peter jung

    Given that the Right is convinced that our media are essentially one big liberal conspiracy, one would think that conservatives would be the most outraged over the prospect of media consolidation….

  • http://www.allenbukoff.com/lunch.php Allen Bukoff

    I am all for democratic governments restricting and regulating media ownership by and for the good of the people. That’s the America I grew up in. I believe that our FCC (and much of our current government) has been hijacked by neoconservative extremists and the sooner we stop and undo this crap, the better. I am, however, not too worried that ideologically driven corporate media conglomerates can easily wrestle the internet to the ground, buy out or run off everyone else, and then provide only their content. Maybe I am too naive or too polyanna-ish about the internet and current economic forces, but who would subscribe to a broadband service provider who provided limited internet content (even a whole bunch of conglomerate content and special goodies bundled together)? NONE of the big companies that I am aware of has been able to date to provide internet content that is attractive enough to rival the attention and enthusiasm that is generated by hundreds of thousands of websters, designers, writers, bloggers, and wonderfully crazy people. What web sites do you go to …for news, for culture, for entertainment, and how many of them are hosted by one of the major media companies (a minority, I’ll bet)? I’m already getting a ton of news and information from an informal network of websites and political blogs outside the traditional media…and if I couldn’t get cnn or msnbc online…would I really miss em? So far these resource-rich corporate giants haven’t been able to rival the collective content, coolness, insight, and authenticity provided by our “open interent ” system. Any ISP who provides continued access to the open internet system is just going to beat the hell out of a Fox/ClearChannel ISP who provides only their crappy web content (I don’t care how many Michael Powells try to put the fix in). Look at AOL. AOL tried to be its own proprietary world but had to provide access to the world wide web to keep from losing subscribers. How many people now would subscribe to AOL if they couldn’t breeze through AOL to the real internet? The internet is the big genie that got out of the bottle. Thank God. So, yes, let’s support government regulation to help INSURE this does not happen to the internet and (much more practically) to keep from wasting our economic and political energies on greedy neoconservative and corporate attempts to wring huge profits/bonuses out of an internet whose content they fantacize they could control. At this time, I believe the traditional broadcast industry (TV & radio) needs government re-regulation more than we need to worry about protecting the internet.

    Allen Bukoff

  • ben

    Sorry to be OT…. this is more for the Dean-crowd :)

    http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/dailydose/index.html?uc_full_date=20030713

    I love this doonesbury.

    Dean is the most likely to win if nominated, and i’m expecting that our Q3 fundraising will finally allow his voice to heard first and foremost over the din (i’ll be giving twice as much next quarter as I did before, won’t all of you? :-) — plus we’re all going to be writing personal emails to our 30+ like-minded friends in that marathon last week!

    Mike in Michigan, the general fundraising is probably doing just fine, but people don’t instinctively feel comfortable (or motivated) to pump up the featured dean team if they’re not sure how it works.

    On a side note, as Joe keeps posting periodically, we are doing really well as a campaign — on track to get maybe 400K supporters/volunteers by october, on track to outraise everybody, and even if Kerry can get in the news more easily, many thinking voters in NH will realise he’s just Dean-lite (and just as “liberal” as Dean)in the long run.

    The whole “electability” spin the press and pundits try to fool with — it’s frustrating, but i think it’s worse for those of us who are so eager to get Dean in the White House that we hang on the latest news. Slow and steady, and we’ve got more aces up our sleave than any other campaign.

  • http://onefatherfordean.blogspot.com One Father For Dean

    Law Student:

    “Leaving aside the moral question we really have to ask ourselves about where anyone (the FCC) gets a right to tell anyone else (the media) how to invest and develop their enterprises.”

    Corporate charters, natch….Once we create, we can regulate.

    There are three, not two, futures, correct?…Of the two choices among Diverse/Free/Equal, I think most would choose Diverse and Free….But unequal size CAN mean unequal access, unequal control and unequal of development of the Commons. That is what most concerns many who would choose this idealized media world: the abuse of inequalities.

    And as I read Lessig, ensuring less abuse of inequality from a technical perspective drives more/better/true/new value in the marketplace.

    The question of capturing ones entrepreneurial value for accepted risk? Depends on the assumption that Fox is risking as much to gain their additional 10% marketshare as they did for the first – somehow I think not, if it is so difficult in the first to build media empires. If it is not so difficult (i.e. any one of us can be a mogul, something you consider improbable a priori), then fine: let Rupert take it all….as long as he does not abuse his inequality in size.

    (Side question, nee Shirky: does Instapundit or DailyKos abuse their blog readership size? if no, then it’s all fine by me).

  • Ben
  • http://www.mrlawson.com/Main%20Blog.htm mike lawson

    Uh..you guys attacking Mr. Bennet really should read his resume on his site. Between him, Mr. Metcalf, Mr. Andreesen, and Mr. Berners-Lee, they DID help create what us youngsters (30 years old here) call the Internet. Debate his political affiliation and ideads if you want, but I would not get into an argument on the creation of the Internet with him..lol
    P.S. online since ’89 but no RFC’s from me :-(

  • Yoshi

    Re: Shutting down Murdoch

    Does Richard Bennett support anti-trust laws? The argument is very similar–too much economic concentration can actually impede the ability of the market to operate, and decrease consumer choice. Monopolization–be it the airwaves or the marketplace–is, all things considered (no pun intended), the dominant profit-maximizing market strategy. Government regulation can operate to make it a “fair fight” and in fact that is the FCC’s mission, or was until the Fairness Doctrine was deep-sixed.

    Re: Dixie Chicks and Censorship

    No, no, no, you’re missing the point people. The blacklisting of the Dixie Chicks cannot be compared to Mr. Bennet’s slights at the hands of NPR. It has nothing to do really with the content of opinions.

    In a functioning, diverse marketplace, both the Dixie Chicks and the Mr. Bennetts will have outlets for their viewpoints. The scary aspect of the Dixie Chicks blacklisting was that ClearChannel had consolidated so much economic power that it was able to operate as a quasi-governmental entity and effectively silence political dissent.

    In a functioning marketplace, that could not have happened, as OtherChannel would have simply cleaned up with advertising revenue for ClearChannel’s brash political purity.

    Re: Liberia

    Way off topic for this blog or this post, but easily refuted.

    The UN, Liberia, Nigeria, and the world community wants US troops to enforce the peace. We aren’t “invading” since we are “invited.” More importantly, the people want us there because not only do we have the firepower, but for some reason they still see us a neutral broker. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, unlike Iraq, there is actually a documented connection between Al-Qaeda and Liberia’s Charles Taylor. It is in our national interest to stabilize the situation there.

  • Adam I.

    Mike — for what it’s worth….Andreessen hardly invented the internet.

    And Richard’s resume qualifies him to comment on anything except for what is on it, just like the rest of us. Indeed, he has the experience, but that doesn’t mean that his technical suggestions of how the Internet *should* be working are to be revered as the word of an omnipotent elder. It’s the *democratic* and consensus-based agreed-upon ‘rules’ that built the Internet…not the words and ideas of a select few.

  • Sue in Kentucky

    I’m not as up-to-speed as some of you guys, with regard to the details of the most current copyright act and other issues now involving the Internet, but I was here at the beginning of its use among non-governmental types (and no, I didn’t invent it either — even though I’m a lot older than Al Gore!). And after all these years, with politicians either being clueless — and apparently proud of it! — or grandly talking the talk without a speck of ability to walk the walk, I am both astounded and delighted to see a politician who’s willing to learn about a medium whose advent he admits “passed him by” but which he’s willing to be educated about.

    One of the most endearing things about Gov. Dean as a presidential candidate, in my opinion, is his ability to make his grassroots supporters realize we are vital cogs in his campaign — for our ideas just as much as for our financial and volunteer support. He actually *listens* — how novel is THAT among the candidates for high office you’ve seen in the past 20 years or so?

    I’m more excited about the possibilities I can see in a Dean presidency than I’ve been since I was a high-school senior and JFK was galvanizing this country’s young people to take part in our democracy. He’s challenging everybody — regardless of color or age or class or orientation — to have a hand in taking our country back. (And am I ever ready for that!)

    So thanks, Gov. Dean, for blogging here, and thanks too to all you folk who’re knowledgeable about the issues you’re discussing — we just might ALL learn something from the dialogue this week!

  • Zelig

    If Dr. Dean is worried about the media and its access to information from governmental sources, why did he seal his gubernatorial records?

  • Carlton Nettleton

    No one in favor of media regulation is telling a CEO they have to pay for programming or fund a project they do not agree with. We are not talking about massive state funded television or movie production. What Howard Dean is asking people to consider is it right that one corporation can own ALL the media in a single market? Howard Dean is suggesting that a DEMOCRATIC form of government has an interest in a maintaining a multiplicity of voices (or a diversity in owenership) in a single region. He is not suggesting that the government providing funding for these voices, but simply saying a corporation can only own SOME of the radio stations, SOME of the television stations and SOME of the newspapers. He is also suggesting that by limiting the power of corporations to own media in a region, it allows smaller groups of individuals, or very wealthy ones, the opportunity to produce an alternative viewpoint to the public, if the market will support it. Now it we lived in an autocractic society fueld by a totalitarian state, then there is probably no need for a multiplicity of voices.

    Unfortunately, I actually believed all the “propagada” I was taught in school about the United States being the freest country in the world, where we value liberty and equality and that democracy functions best when we are presented with a marketplace full of ideas, so I am going to fight for the right to hear multiple opinions. I think discourses like these have value and I believe other people here do as well. Let us all exchange ideas and let who ever has the best ideas win.

    We can already see the effects in the consolidation of media on the quality and type of programming presented to the vast majority of people. Large media corporations are driven by the desire to make profit. I am fine with that. That is why people form corporations – to make money; it’s the American way. Unfortunately, this desire to make money will limit what type of content a corporation will produce. A media corporation will not make programming that will makes its viewers turn off the television because the images on the TV are too disturbing. If people leave the channel, ratings go down and when rating go down, media corporations lose money. As an earlier poster noted, no major media outlet will report on all the human damage and suffering caused by OUR military during the invasion of Iraq. This is the truth, but Americans cannot stomach the idea that we caused this suffering, so it is not shown.

    OT – I think I have to disagree with the Governor on the issue of sending military aide to Liberia. The situation seems exceedingly dangerous; we are being asked to stop a civil war. While I think the suffering in this poor country is deplorable, interveneing at this moment would be inviting harm to our soldiers. Wait until the fighting is over and President Taylor is gone, then it will be time for our help.

    BTW, why is sending help to Liberia an “invasion”, but invading Iraq a “liberation”? I was not alive when we liberated the French or the Italians in WWII, but I don’t recall reading that the local populations in those countries were taking pot shots at our soldiers every day. Each day this pass, this invasion feels less and less like a the “liberation” we were told it would be.

    Finally, why is it so important Richard tells everyone of us he is a heterosexual? I frankly don’t care, but he seems to bring it up. Anyone have any ideas?

  • Andrew

    Those of you that have responded to my earlier comment, I appreciate the arguments you have each set forth.

    One person said state-run media should be critical of the government/big business/big labor. Other than the fact that that presupposes a role for journalism in society that far from all journalists believe in (I, for one, think the job of journalists is to tell*the truth* as best they can, not to comfort who they perceive to be the afflicted and afflict those they believe are too comfortable). Yes I agree that media should be willing to be critical of the government, but I don’t need my tax dollars supporting that cause–that can be done by private individuals and corporations just fine.

    For those who think that ratings and what the public wants doesn’t drive media content, you’re awfully naive about marketing and advertising. Sure, you can look back at the old days of the Big Three (ABC, NBC, CBS), but there was scarcity there, which is why there had to be rules about fairness, equal time, decency, etc. Now that there is AM, FM, shortwave, internet, PDF/mobile internet, cable, satellite, and so on, the scarcity principle doesn’t apply. The parts of the public that wants their news delivered in the nude can get that; those that want right-wing talk radio can get that; and those who want the old-fashioned, I’m-an-unthinking-TV-viewer-zombie-so-feed-me-whatever style TV that the Big Three still provide, then those people can watch that, too. Because scarcity isn’t an issue anymore, there’s no reason for government to regulate ownership beyond a certain bare minimum.

    Finally, the Dixie Chicks were blacklisted not because Clear Channel producers were monolithically pro-war, they were blacklisted because thousands and thousands of people called their radio stations and said, “I refuse to listen to them!” When you get that kind of public outcry (and yes, that did happen!), the corporation has to, unfortunately, make a choice: play the music that pisses people off, or take them off the air until things cool down. The Dixie Chicks have nobody but themselves to blame. Free speech isn’t free; you can’t make people listen to what you’re preachin’, nor can you make people broadcast what you’re preaching. The government can’t shut down Bill Maher or the Dixie Chicks, but ABC and Clear Channel have every right to do that. Whether that is in the best interests of society is irrelevant; it’s not the government’s position to regulate and control what it (and the ruling elite) believe to be in the best interests of society.

  • Andrew

    Regarding Liberia: whether or not we ultimately go in, the hypocrisy of the Left is pretty rank here. I’m appalled that Dean could justify Liberia while at the same time ripping our president for deposing a much worse thug in Iraq.

    For those of you who want to call Iraq an invasion and not a liberation, I could care less about the semantics. But let me ask you this: why do you consider a few angry people shooting at our soldiers representative of our whole population? If 60% of Iraqis are happy we’re there, does that soothe you? How about 75%? How about 95%? Do you have to have Iraqis unanimous in the belief that we liberated them for it to be a liberation? The problem is, even if 95% of Iraqis are happy we toppled Saddam and are helping them set up a functional democracy, there are more than enough people in that 5% demographic who are willing to resort to violence in an effort to hasten our exit (yes, the numbers are closer to 70/30 who are for/against us, but the principle is the same).

    In short, anytime we can knock out a tyrant, or any time we decide to knock out a tyrant, and we succeed, we should rejoice, for the realm of liberty has been expanded. Charles Taylor needs to go, no doubt about that; the only real question is how big a role should we play? In Iraq, we had to take a very big role for obvious reasons, but if we can get away with other nations shouldering the load in Liberia, why insist on taking the lead role? We can assist without getting too involved. But let’s figure out what the best option is first; right now everything is too murky.

  • jbou

    To Zelig, he sealed the records because he doesn’t want anything to pop up that might hurt his chances of being president, it’s the same reason why Bush did it in Texas.

    Now, media regulations. This argument shouldn’t come down to a left vs right argument, it should come down to a quality argument. The quality of radio broadcasting that Clear Channel puts out is not very good at all. They produce one show, and then shoot it out to their stations across the country, it has no local flavor, and their music choices seem to repeat every 2 hours, it’s crap, and if they’re the only game in town then crap is what you are stuck with. Clear Channel also uses their control over many stations to control the ad markets, if a local station wants to offer ad time to a national chain they charge a certain rate, but Clear Channel can offer a better ad rate because they can offer a package deal, some would call this good business, but if the little guy’s station can’t compete with Clear Channel then he’s out of business, thus ending the consumers choice, and it ends the ad buyers choice so now Clear Channel is free to charge more for ads, which they do, and they have no one competing with them so just like your local cable company, they can keep charging more, and more for ads.

    The above situation happens everyday in this country, and is the reason why we need some regulation on the radio, and television industries. This doesn’t have to be an either or situation, regulations can be balanced with free markets, it’s called a meritocrisy, and it works. Free market fanatics, and Socialists annoy me, there is a middle ground, and if you all would stop snipping at each other we could achieve it.

  • Andrew

    *the whole population, not our whole population

  • Daniel Vivian

    As usual, the tenor of the debate on a hot issue like the relationship between government, the media, and the citizenry, has been frustratingly poor. Chain-yankers on both sides of the fence exhibit the same polarizing attitudes as the networks whose idea of “fair and balanced” is two diametrically opposed views yelling at each other and spinning soundbites for the partisans with no attempt at synthesis. The shaky, tear-stained, ridiculed face of a national joke asks, “Can’t we all just get along?”

    To those like Roger, who would be as impudent as to suggest that opposition to media cosolidation is an insult to the legacies of Madison and Jefferson, consider the balance that was at the heart of the Consitution and Federalism. Free-market capitalism was not the idea at the core of our government, it is simply a related idea evolved from a similar core. You conflate “the rights of the people” with the “the correctness of the people”–somewhere between populism and mob rule. There were reasons that the framers called for Senators to be appointed by state legislatures and presidents to be elected by the electoral college–it was, cynically enough, that the framers wanted limits on the power of the people. The people would be represented by the People’s House, but that wasn’t to be the only voice.

    One of the prerequisites for a perfect economy is perfect information. For better or for worse, we are a nation that has come to rely on mass media for information. Sometimes I think it’s amazing that a country as big as ours is able to remain united. I think my amazement would be shared by many of the framers, who never expected that the document they created could function at so great a scale. It’s quite overwhelming to know that millions of Americans share similar views on a such a wide variety of subjects. Millions of people buy the same CDs, watch the same TV shows, read the same newspapers, shop at the same stores, and eat at the same restaurants. Economies of scale have driven corporations bigger and bigger, and the markets they create have to grow and conform to support them. Make no mistake, while we aren’t a nation of sheep, we are a nation profoundly influenced by the marketing of large corporations. On the positive side, we’re a united America, but on the negative side, we’ve perverted the Federalism and diversity of opinion that was so important to the man who wondered if the sun on Washington’s chair was a rising sun or a setting sun.

    The barriers to entry are so high in traditional media–there’re laws against low-power radio stations, and costly and restrictive royalty schemes for internet radio. Media is so expensive to produce and sell, and marketing and branding are so important that corporate pressure on issues of fair-use, public domain, and intellectual property is understandably intense. Why would you spend years and years and millions of dollars on the exclusivity of your content if you knew that it could later be co-opted for nothing? Doesn’t that also say something about the power of marketing, branding, and influence?

    To deny that huge corporations have an overwhelming influence over public opinion and public policy would be as ostrich-headed as denying that market capitalism is the most effective system way of balancing human motives and desires. Which is to say that each is true, but both must be tempered. As the framers of the Constitution knew, no single power should remain unchecked. That was the basis of their government and that should be the basis of our discourse.

    Richard Bennett shows incredible arrogance and impudence masked in the language of laissez-faire populism. No doubt his ego is as stout as Howard Roark’s. He can’t speak about the founding of the internet without mentioning “white, heterosexual males,” serving only to beat his chest and bait anyone who is confused or offended by his repeated insistence. Race, gender, and sexuality are hardly meritocracies–they’re just qualities, signifiers of a certain time and place, for which Mr. Bennett asks our congratulation or waits to judge our distaste. “The baser passions of the majority,” indeed.

    The suggestion that racial profiling would have prevented 9/11 is ludicrous and bullying, using sophistry to imply that present knowledge is a magic bullet, flying backwards through time and righting all wrongs. It is the difference between a trend and a criminal, between cause and effect, between foresight and hindsight.

    This is bankrupt, ugly rhetoric. It replaces respect with contempt and leaves no room for compromise. Contempt comes from the Right and the Left–it is a disgust that is equal and opposite to faith. We currently live under an administration whose Faith is only equalled by its contempt. It isn’t because they’re Republicans, it’s because they’re as arrogant as any ivory tower intellectual and as distorting and deceptive as any trial lawyer, yet they have the hubris to claim that theirs is the unshakeable Ultimate–to deviate from their Noble Path is date rape.

    But the secret to evolution is in the deviation. The compromise and the unexpected. The balance and the synthesis. James Madison wrote in the Federalist Papers, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. [...] A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxilliary precautions.” We do not expect to be governed by angels, we should not confuse an absolute faith with an absolute right, or an angel with an Invisible Hand.

  • Daniel Vivian

    I shouldn’t have said “poor”. I was tired–this thread is actually really good. Sorry.

  • Marisacat

    20+ years ago I thought television might someday save democracy (we have been under assault a very long time) but the past few years it became clear it would be the smaller more powerful screen.

    Welcome Governor!

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    Raise your hand if you want to live in a country where there’s only one media outlet, and it’s controlled by the government. Those with your hands up, please leave the room so the rest of us can talk.

    Somebody raised an interesting point a ways up-thread: why not have a whole bunch of little media companies instead of a few big ones? One of the rationales for barring cross-media ownership (newspapers owning TV stations and radio stations) was to promote this kind of diversity, after all.

    And certainly one can argue that a whole bunch of little companies competing with each other is a richer ecosystem than a few lumbering giants. There’s just one problem: there are those, primarily in the government but elsewhere as well, who really want one, big, uniform news organ keeping all the people in lock step as Orwell predicted. So how do you fight that? I think you need big media companies to fight the government, because the little guys, who depend on the actions of government bureaucrats to award them licenses and keep them in business, can’t afford to stand up to the tyranny that all governments tend toward.

    You need power to combat power, in other words. And to the exact extent that you allow government to regulate the free flow of ideas from media, you encourage that little censorious element that 1984 was all about. Remember, we have more diversity of ideas in the media today than we did in the 70s, not less. So I don’t trust any politician who wants to impose shackles on media ownership and operation.

    Over at Dean’s blog, several of the comments I left were censored, deleted right off the blog even though others had responded to them. If that’s the way Dean runs a blog, how do you suppose he would run the FCC? Any opinion you want, as long as it’s mine seems to be the rule.

    Well, we each get one vote.

  • Adam I.

    Andrew:

    “it�s not the government�s position to regulate and control what it (and the ruling elite) believe to be in the best interests of society.”

    it’s not ? then why am I voting for people ? why am I paying taxes and trusting that the government spends it well ?

    in a democracy, I’m under the assumption that the government is what we make it, as a country. if it’s not the government’s position to work towards what is best for society, then are you arguing that it’s ABC and Clear Channel’s job ?

    seriously. the fact is, you have NO idea why Clear Channel refused to play Dixie Chicks. You’re guessing, as much as I am. Did the people in San Francisco cry to them to black them out ?! Berkeley ?! Cambridge ?! Provincetown ?

    not ONLY do we not know what motivates media companies, it would be very naive to think that the only motivation is consumer’s money. if you don’t think that enormous media giants like NewsCorp, AOL, etc. are not motivated by political favor or other corporate finances (i.e. interests) then you’re fooling yourself.

    You’re also fooling yourself if you think that anything CLOSE to the majority of the country is getting their news from “internet, PDF/mobile internet, cable, satellite”.

    Go to Missouri. and Nebraska. People watch the networks, and listen to the radio (where there is more concentration than anywhere else).

  • jbou

    The Dixie Chicks were victims of the right wing spin machine. They made their comments at a concert in England, Murdoch’s Sky channel got a hold of them shared them with Fox News, then Limbaugh, Hannity, and the rest of the gasbags told the people the Dixie Chicks are evil treasonus girls who need to be boycotted, so the dittoheads did their duty, and called clear channel stations demanding a boycott, but clear channel also got calls defending the Chicks, but Clear Channel is a Texas based company with a history of giving to Bush campaigns so they decieded to punish the girls, one question, how come clear channel’s biggest rival Infinity broadcasting didn’t throw the Chicks off the air, and hold Chick’s disc burning rallies? Don’t call a clear right wing propaganda machine giving the customer what they want, it’s just not that simple. It’s a well funded right wing machine that’s been 30 years in the making, it involves think tanks, radio shows, Fox News, The Washuington Times, The National Review, The Weekly Standard, and on a lesser extent the Freerepublic website, and the other right wing web sites, even the knuckleheaded Pat Buchanon realizes this.

    I still think the answer to the right wing spin machine would be a television network based around the Daily Show, but also include the writers from the Onion, and give a few comedians like Chris Rock, Bill Maher, and Wanda Sykes their own hour programs so they can make fun of all the days events, then use the Newshour from pbs for their straight news, I think it would be popular, and it would be an effective way to take the spin off of everything.

  • Daniel Vivian

    The Dean Blog should not be censoring Mr. Bennett. Is that really happening? Poor form. He’s unpleasant and arrogant, but not a troll.

  • Adam I.

    Richard….that’s not the first time you’ve whined about your blog comments being deleted. I think you’ve run out of wolf crying. Yes, it’s all a big conspiracy.

    Clue: Dean is running for president, not the head of the FCC. Quit the drama.

    “Raise your hand if you want to live in a country where there�s only one media outlet, and it�s controlled by the government.”

    what kind of respect do you expect to gain by making such an extremist comment ? Is that an attempt at wit ? Here’s a hint: next time you make a comment, proofread it, and mark out the little stabs at being dramatic. 1984 was a book. It’s fiction, and to compare it to reality is a seriously lame and poor attempt at trying to start a fire where there is none. Seriously, Richard. You’re not a dumb guy…just cut down on the transparent tries for attention. Make *credible* arguments. It’s hard to take you seriously when you’re so sophmoric.

  • Ian Field

    I’m a Dean blog-addict, and I don’t think so.

    We’ve had far more seditious commentary than Richard’s go uncensored. They’ve only recently begun censoring the most outrageous trolling (for Deanizens, “TaxnSpendHowieDude” comes to mind).

    Richard’s comments protesting his “censorship” and other issues are still there. I think this is a misunderstanding. Perhaps someone can contact Zephyr or Matt for a clarification?

    Ian

  • Andrew

    Adam, you vote and pay taxes so that government will safeguard your liberties by funding an army, funding a criminal justice system, and creating fair rules for everybody to operate by in the marketplace. To the extent that the FCC has to create fair rules for the media market, that’s fine, but what you guys are arguing is to distort the market so that there are only small, diverse corporations and no conglomerates, with little or no concept of what side effects this would have on society. Keep regulation to a bare minimum; apply antitrust laws, copyright laws, and broadcasting interference regulations when necessary, but otherwise have the government get out of the way.

    I have a hard time believing people in Berkeley, San Francisco, Cambridge, or Provincetown listen to country music in large numbers, and to the extent that the Dixie Chicks are crossover artists, they could still be found on Top 40-type stations.

    Jbou, what you call the “right wing spin machine” is in fact merely alternative forms of media that conservatives invaded and popularized because they were ostracized from mainstream media. Technology allowed them to flourish and attract an audience, where before regulations and scarcity snuffed out their voices. The problem/advantage of the Left is they’ve never been really snuffed out of mainstream media, they’ve always been allowed to play a prominent role. Thus, they are naive about how these alternative forms of media work and want to control them desperately, believing them to be some conspiratorial agent out to destroy their progressive efforts.

  • ryan

    Dr Dean,

    I’m not from the USA, but I come from a country that shares the ideals yours was founded on. I’m encuoraged that someone of integrity and with real goals and ideals is trying to topple the current foolishness in politics, economics and media in the USA.

    I just read your official announcement to run for Presidential of The Unitited States of America.

    I have one comment from someone who has no direct stake in your country, but an indirect one due to it’s influence in the world.

    You talk of leading the world morally rather than miltarily. I would argue that the world doesn’t want you to lead it, but rather join it.

    Cheers,
    Ryan

  • old maltese

    If a tree falls in the forest …..

    Over 150 comments have been posted, with no response from Governor Dean.

    Did he compose all of *his* original post?

    Just wondering ….

  • dan robinson

    hey c’mon read the first line

    … but it’s great to blog here on Larry Lessig’s blog.

    What spinmiester is this from – the department of redundancy department? I think he wrote it himself – and he was in a hurry.

  • Carlton Nettleton

    A democracy is defined by civil discourse. A troll by definition is uncivil and by his or her actions, disrupts conversations so that no one can speak.

    The only “censorship” I have seen on the Dean blog is the elimination of the trolls and their posts. I think the people on the Dean blog are simply maintaining their right to have a civil discourse. While the OP might be perceived to have powerful opinions and be abbrasive, he hardly qualifies as a troll and I don’t believe that his comments are being deleted. However, he may be posting under another handle as a troll and those are the comments he is referring to, but that is imposible to verify.

  • Anonymous

    So what are you going to do about it?

  • J.B. Nicholson-Owens

    Thanks for standing against the FCC’s decision, but I don’t see how Dean’s stance on this issue is significantly better than, say, Kucinich’s. I also don’t see how this is a good forum for discussion with presidential candidates–it seems to be one-way and there’s no debating with other Democrats to inform those who vote in Democratic Party primaries. It looks like the Dean campaign is simply overworked and overcommitted. As Joe Trippi, campaign manager for the Dean campaign said, “…we will be lucky to have time for a post or two a day this week”.

    I’ve worked on a campaign (a Congressional campaign) and one of the big problems is talking to constituents–it’s worthwhile but time-consuming, and too many appearances go unrecorded so the only people who see them are the few that were there. Considering the blog’s strength is its interactivity, a post or two a week doesn’t sound like this will be informative for those of us who aren’t well acquainted with Dean. And hosting this on a blog that chiefly deals with copyright issues makes no sense to me unless Dean has some opinions on copyright he’d like to share.

    I don’t have any problem with Dean supporters getting together and discussing their favorite candidate. However, I don’t think that guest blogging is likely to be a good place to get questions answered.

  • Carlton Nettleton

    In nature, a sign of a healthy ecosystem is the diversity of species in all the small niches of that environment. When one species dominates an environment, ecologists look for a reason in the imbalance. The conglomeration of media power is sign that our democratic ecosystem is out of balance. It is not the cause of our problems, but probably the effect of something larger. What that is, I have no idea. However, as someone who lives in a democratic society, I have a right to make an observation and to say to my elected leaders that I think something is wrong.

    I feel people who support media deregulation are not saying that there should be no large media companies. All I feel we are saying that there is something wrong when all your news and information in one area or community is coming from the same source with the same editorial controls. That would be the same position if the government was the only source of news and information as well. It might surprise you but I think the government has no, or very little, business in funding the production of news and inforamtion.

    Jefferson and Madison both hated the ammalgamation of power by government. They very likely felt the same about large corporations. Their writings have shown they felt that any individuals with that much power were likely to abuse it. I think both men would have been quite suspicious the power resulting from media conglomeration if not completely against it.

    The idea you need power to fight power goes way back to Hobbes and the Leviathan. While I think those ideas were in fashion with Cromwell and his men when they needed to find a rationale behind their execution of the king in the 17th century, the founders of our Republic probably put more faith in Locke’s ideas of limited government. The greatest threat to their freedom was government since they could not even imagine corporations as they operate today. As someone mentioned earlier, corporations can pose more of a threat to our liberties than government since they are answerable to no one but their own interests. At least with government, we go through the ritual of regular elections which gives the appearance government rules with out consent. Now I would conceed it is arguable that exchanging one party for the other is no real change, but that is WAY OT.

  • http://www.ecis.com/~alizard A. Lizard

    Anyone (Hi, Richard) who uses the phrase “liberal mass media” in a public policy debate automatically admits that he does not deserve to be taken seriously because he is either a liar or fundamentally ignorant.

    The ideology of the corporate-owned mass media is neither liberal nor conservative in the traditional sense in which these terms have been used. It’s primarily about what will get the multibillionaire owners (owners of the largest blocks of stock, if you prefer) the most money and power, and these can be traded off on an issue by issue basis.

    What is good for Ross Murdoch is not necessarily good for any of his network’s viewers, and the converse is true as well.

    How many well-known liberal Democrats do you personally know of who are on the Boards of Directors of any major media corporation?

  • AE in NJ

    I’m a visitor from the Dean blog and the last thing I expected when I came to check this site out was to be riveted, but I was. You have kept me up way past my bedtime. Thank you Lessig Blog for inviting us over, it was quite a discovery. I have bookmarked many sites referenced here for future reading. I have a long way to go, since I was just your average worried consumer zombie when the insistent creepiness of the media coverage of the war, and then Dean’s vision, jolted me awake–but I loved the exchange of ideas here. All that newly awakened hope in me seems to like anything it can sink its teeth into.

    An aside…one place where I could almost feel the two sites lock together in my mind was Facetia’s post that mentioned the Nash equilibrium. I couldn’t have put it into words–I only know of it from the movie–but I have had the fleeting thought sometimes that Nash’s inspiration must be instinctive with Gov. Dean. It’s something about the comprehensiveness of his vision. I have even fantasized, reading Dean’s blog, that the Dean campaign will reference “A Beautiful Mind,” the scene of Nash’s inspiration (the blonde in the bar), in the context of some of these self-interest/invisible hand discussions. Reading this thread, I was thinking it again–and to my delight there it was!

    I am looking forward to learning from my reading so I can better understand the issues you discuss.

    What an inspired thought to bring the Dean campaign’s energy and the Lessig blog together. I will definitely be back to read silently, while Dean is here and in the future. Thanks again!

  • FART

    Yesterday, after Greater Manchester Police issued an all-ports warning with descriptions of the two and Interpol was alerted, the girl’s parents, Stephen and Joanne Pennington, held an emotional news conference urging their daughter to return. Mrs Pennington said: “Please, we just want you back, we’re not angry with you, we love you very much and just want you to come home. You are not in any trouble whatsoever. We just want her back, home, that’s all.”

    The Penningtons had warned Shevaun of the dangers of the Net. “We told her she wasn’t to give her name, address or anything else to anyone. As far as we were aware she was chatting to people of her own age,” Mrs Pennington said.

    “Shevaun had never had a proper boyfriend. She has had people she’s called boyfriends, but she’s never been on any real dates with boys. She does look older than her years. I’m praying that once this man knows how old she is he will do the right thing. I honestly believe Shevaun thinks this man is a lot younger,” she said.

    However, on the other side of the Atlantic, Mr Studabaker’s family defended the actions of the former marine, claiming that he had been convinced he was meeting a 19-year-old student rather than a 12-year-old schoolgirl.

    Speaking from the family home in Michigan, Sherry Studabaker, his sister-in-law, said the family was shocked at the discovery of Shevaun’s age. “When she first e-mailed him, she said she was 19,” Mrs Studabaker told The Independent. “She said she was a student at college. He didn’t know.”

    She described how Mr Studabaker, who had planned the trip only two weeks ago as a “spur of the moment thing”, had spent hours sending e-mails to Shevaun on her personal computer. The FBI removed it for examination yesterday as part of the international investigation into the disappearance of the schoolgirl.

    Insisting that he would not have gone to meet Shevaun if he had known her age, she added: “I just want him to call me so that we can talk.”

    Inspector Steve Crimmins, the UK officer leading the search, issued an urgent appeal. “I urge everyone to keep their eyes open. An American ex-Marine and a 12-year-old English girl travelling together should be quite distinctive.”

    Shevaun, who should have been finishing her first year at Lowton High School this week, was last seen wearing a top emblazoned with the name of the pop group AFI, and wearing black baggy jeans. She had not returned home after leaving the house at 7.30am on Saturday under the guise of meeting two friends. Her parents’ anxiety over their missing child rose when a police officer found that clothes and her passport had disappeared from the house. “We discovered later on that she had taken her school bag, which had some clothes in it. I had given her the passport a week ago because she said she was finally going to get an under-16s bus pass … I never asked for it back, and I never had any reason not to trust her,” Mrs Pennington said.

    There has been growing anxiety over the susceptibility of young children to the dangers of internet grooming. A survey commissioned by the children’s charity the NSPCC found nine in 10 adults were worried about the threat posed to children in chatrooms. Earlier this year, the Government launched a �1m advertising campaign to encourage parents to help children surf the Net safely.

    However, in keeping with many children, Shevaun loved surfing the Net and, her father admitted, it had been difficult to prise her away from the compute at times. “She was on the internet all the time, like any kid is. It got to the stage where I would limit her to five hours, but she would still go on when we weren’t there. On some occasions, she was on the internet for 11 hours,” he said.

    The computer took centre- stage in the kitchen of the family home in Leigh, Greater Manchester. For 12 months, as her mother prepared meals a few feet from the screen, Shevaun was becoming more deeply embroiled in her relationship with Mr Studabaker.

    According to her mother, her response to boys was a maternal one and she took her school male peers under her wing, referring to them as “little boys”.

    It could be that maturity of attitude, and her grown-up appearance � standing at 5ft 3in and with shoulder-length blond hair, she was taller than most of the boys in her class at Lawton Community High School and needed proof of identity to get concessionary bus fares � that police are hoping has fooled Mr Studabaker into thinking she is older than her years.

    But despite the semblance of maturity, Shevaun was the type of 12-year-old who still ran to her mother for hugs. The adult world of sexual relationships was a long way off.

    Mr Studabaker, who grew up in North Carolina, had been based with the 3rd Battalion of the 6th MarinesDivision after attending college in Ohio. He had recently left the forces after completing a three-year tour of duty.

    He served as a lance corporal in the US Marines anti-terrorism unit between May 2000 and 30 June 2003, and took part in the war in Afghanistan. His wife, Jenny, died of cancer last year.

    A photograph of Mr Studabaker making a final phone call before being deployed overseas from his base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, appeared in newspapers around the world just a few days after the 11 September terror attacks.

    Another photograph of Mr Studabaker guarding Taliban and al-Qa’ida suspects at Kandahar airport in December 2001 was also used by news organisations.

  • dsmtoday

    Some ramblings…

    I don’t understand the connection between regulation and diversity of views. Some here seem to think that increasing the number of owners necessarily increases the number of viewpoints presented. I don’t think that has been proven. Where’s the science to back this up? Further, how does any of this matter with the rise of the Internet, 500 channel cable, sattellite, and TiVo? All of these will help to dillute any short-term dominance any particular media player will have.

    Someone mentioned that the airwaves belong to the public. That is entirely untrue. They belong to the FCC/Congress, and if you don’t understand that difference, you are missing the entire point. Small segments of bandwidth allocated to amateur radio, CBs, walkie-talkies, and baby monitors – this maybe you could consider public airwaves. But I can’t even legally build *receivers* to analyze most of the spectrum of unwanted electromagnetic engergy that is radiated throughout my house by cable and satellite broadcasters and cell phone networks. How public is that?

    I’d like to know where all of you guys were when Congress and Clinton authorized auctioning off segments of the amateur radio spectrum in 1997. That’s just a bad precedent for so many reasons, not the least of which the people who pay for the licenses feel they “own” the spectrum, which is supposed to be public.

  • Avi Frisch

    Governor,
    I agree that deregulation of media has gone too far, but I must take issue with your concerns about treating internet service as an information service. Information serivces are not taxed, and do not have all of the fees that have been imposed on phone service over the years. These taxes are not a progressive way to raise revenue, and they affect the poor most significantly, like any sales tax. Therefore, it is a positive for most users of the internet to have internet services classified as information services. This way, the government will not so highly tax internet service as to prevent its logical growth as a medium for all the people.

  • dsmtoday

    “corporations can pose more of a threat to our liberties than government since they are answerable to no one but their own interests”

    I work at a self-funded startup corporation, and I’m tired of taking these kind of cheap shots. If my corporation (yes, I’m a part-owner) doesn’t make products that please our customers, it will die. Let me repeat — our customers determine whether our corporation lives or dies. I’d say that puts us in a position where we are very answerable to our customers, would you not agree?

    What you are really thinking about is not a corporation, but a company completely owned by one person only. This person is vastly wealthy in REAL DOLLARS (ie, all wealth completely liquid) and can afford to run the entire company from this wealth, with no income, at least not from the company. That is a situation of company power for which there is no accountability. But this situation does not exist in any of the corporations you are probably thinking about.

    If corporations go against our interests, we can stop giving them money, and they might die. If they don’t die, we can blame our fellow citizens. If we stop giving the government our money, then we might die (or at least lose our freedom).

  • Katherine

    Dean is a DEMOCRAT. So it’s automatically pandering to take positions that democrats agree with? Is every good thing Bush says about a tax cut a pander? I have no doubt that Dean believes what he says about media consolidation and racial profiling. When he used the Paul Wellstone line he often pointed out that he was not nearly as liberal as Wellstone. So I guess his sin is emphasizing parts of his platform he knows the audience is more likely to care about?

    Come on, you can do better than that.

  • chase

    J.B. Nicholson-Owens: Joe Trippi said a post or two a day, not week.

    Richard: stop whining. Your post was hostile and combative (“pandering”? nice opener). If you want people to respond with civility, try exercising a little. Ask honest questions instead of sarcastically loaded rhetoric. No one is going to give you answers unless you’re willing to hear them. The owner of the blog is no more obligated to tolerate your posts than the Wall Street Journal is obligated to print your letter or I’m obligated to let you sleep on my couch. You have freedom of the press, that means the freedom to use your own press, not the freedom to use Dean’s press, and there’s nothing (financial or political) preventing you from starting your own blog and censoring all the Deanocrats who post there, or not. Everyone gets to choose their own level of tolerance, and only their own.

    And by the way we only had three networks twenty years ago (before cable took off, remember, and back when the Fairness Doctrine was still in effect) because of market pressures, not Big Brother government regulation of media ownership. Quite the opposite: the FCC made CBS split off Viacom because it was getting too big (ironically, Viacom recently bought CBS with nary a peep from the modern FCC). So how exactly do restrictions against media consolidation cause media consolidation, again? Oh, that’s right, you were trotting out a completely fallacious straw man.

    The problem with the Dixie Chicks wasn’t that Clear Channel didn’t want to play them. The problem was that because CC owns such a huge percentage of the radio stations in this country, Dixie Chicks fans had little or no alternative to turn to. It was the opposite of a boycott, because it came from the top down. This is anti-competitive and therefore anti-free-market. The purpose of regulation is to prevent this kind of monopolistic abuse of public airwaves. Emphasis on public. We own them, not CC.

  • Brian Perry

    Blah, blah, impending fascist dicatorship, blah, free mumia & Iraq, blah, blah, Fox News government takeover, buzzword, blah, blah, fawning, blah, El Bushisto eez el liar-o, blah, blah, rich people did it, blah, who cares about the Congo. Blah.

    This Dean post was rated 100% Filler by the Bushitler FDA.

    And if my post gets erased it’s way more dangerous than the consolidation of the media! Don’t squelch dissent! Hands off my post!

    Thanks.

  • chase

    dsmtoday: Well, who do you think Congress and the FCC are supposed to work for? Unfortunately they sometimes seem to have forgotten this.

    “I�d say that puts us in a position where we are very answerable to our customers, would you not agree?”

    Yes, but only because you are a small corporation. Small businesses are more involved in the community because they are interdependent with it. What about a gigantic multinational that knowingly uses slave labor? What about a conglomerate that controls what its customers know because it owns the news outlets?

    When the US was founded corporations were regarded with considerable suspicion, they were not allowed to own shares in other corporations or to participate in politics, and revocation of charters was much more common (it’s almost unheard of now). The Boston Tea Party was as much or more an anti-corporate protest as it was an anti-British protest.

    The problem isn’t incorporation, which serves a purpose, the problem is unchecked growth. Multinationals now have resources greater than many, many countries and (as someone else pointed out) claim the same rights as a person, but can live longer than any person and can be in many places at once – they are superhuman. Nor are they particularly democratic.

  • Dana Powers

    Richard,

    I was first introduced to Dean from a post to this very blog concerning the FCC decision on conglomeration (MediaCon in Lessig shorthand). You remember the one?

    Its hard to call Dean’s latest post pandering, when we were exposed independently to this very position months ago. I think what is more likely is that Dean is just not nearly as familiar with all the issues we deal with daily on this blog and so wrote about the first thing that came to his head. Its certainly hard to call it pandering when MediaCon has been a hot topic in Democratic circles for quite a while.

    As for censorship, I can understand why you are upset. Just as I tried to explain to the Dean-bloggers about the culture clash, I guess you should have some background as well. Blogforamerica is heavily trafficked with trolls – from posting Nigerian email scams to copy/pastes of the same 3 words for pages and pages to downright nasty and inflammatory comments. Understandably, the community over there has become increasingly defensive and has had to start removing posts. Now does anyone really want to endorse censorship? No. But sometimes it is necessary to have any semblance of order.

    Now should your posts have been characterized as trolls? Probably not, but you must remember that they are not used to the rough-and-tumble debate that is allowed to progress freely on this blog. Give them some room, and notice that your subsequent posts were not censored. I’m not sure if there is an undelete function in this blog software, but I imagine if there were, they would have no qualms getting you back in there. You must admit, your post was terribly sardonic and inflammatory. It may have expressed your ideas, but it belittled your audience and even Lessig admits that the type of in-your-face posts that frequently show up on this blog just don’t pass muster elsewhere.

    Anyways Richard, continue on.

  • jayo

    Dr. Dean,

    First let me say it is great to see a Governor and hopefully a future President, interact with his constituents via the internet like this. However the state that our nation is in, is worry some to say the least.
    First Copyright laws are broken, and the DMCA makes it even worse. Here are some reasons why, please comment if I am wrong.
    1) Copyright was extended benefiting Corporations
    Side note: when content enters public domain, but the CD/DVD has copyright protection how can I legally use the content, in light of the fact it is illegal to circumvent the copyright protection?
    Answer: I can�t. So copyright protection creates and access control mechanism ensuring perpetual copyright, therefore no content under copyright protection can ever be used even after it enters public domain.

    2) DMCA was introduced taking away fair use, benefiting Corporations not artists or consumers because most artists do not own their copyrights, the labels do. Consumers are left with products that you need a degree in the law field just to figure out what you can and can’t do with it. Worse yet most artists are not getting substantial payment for the works.

    3) The whole subpoena process (see verizon) because of the flaws of the DMCA, proves only to benefit large corperations (RIAA, MPAA) also could inturn be used by Stalkers, Telemarketers, Etc. I ask were in the DMCA is there protections for the people, because I can’t find them?

    4) Super DMCA Bills, read them closely, support Corporations and take away user privacy and security.

    I also pose a very interesting question to you. When you buy a CD/DVD are you buying the physical CD/DVD or are you purchasing a license to listen or view what is contained on the CD/DVD?
    The reason why I ask is if I am purchasing the physical CD, like I would a car. I can do anything I want with it. Open it up, use it, etc. Therefore breaking any copyright protection should not be illegal because the CD/DVD is mine, no longer belonging to the RIAA/MPAA, because I paid for it. Also the sheer act of breaking the copyright protection is not doing unjust harm to anyone, actions following that could be doing harm, dependent on what those actions are, but the action of breaking the copyright protection alone does not.
    Now if by purchasing the CD/DVD I have a license to listen/view, then for me to back up my CD/DVD or change its format (space shift) is legal because “fair use” allows be to do so, the license is only for the content not the physical medium it is contained on. Once again the mere act of backing up and space shifting does no harm, actions which may follow, may do harm, BUT the mere act alone does not. The RIAA/MPAA wants it both ways, and in thier desire to have the cake and eat it too. It seems they wish to make it a pay-per-use society, which is unacceptable.

    I also ask how is it that congress can support criminals? Were not the RIAA just found guilty of antitrust and given a slap on the hand, I don’t know anyone who has recieved there check yet. Also is it not the RIAA that has a lawsuit pending over backroom deals where webcasting royalty rates are concerned. Was it not the RIAA whose representative lied to congress about how many releases they had in the last 3 years. Check http://www.azoz.com there is proof of that there.

    I will not argue that people are trading low quality copies of songs via P2P, and will not argue whether this is right or wrong. However the RIAA has given people no other choice online. They, the RIAA, claim to have set up online services to meet the needs of consumers and I and many others like me, feel they have not. Here is why.

    1) ALL services have DRM which in some way inhibit our fair-use.
    2) The price per song is almost equal to the price breakdown of a regular cd. 1.00 Per song. To paraphrase: (Online they are not selling apples they are selling apple slices, so why are they charging us for full apples?) “MP3″ is not the same quality of the “Wav.” on a CD/DVD, so why are we paying about the same price in the end for both? Also the overhead cost of duplicating a “MP3″ is near zero, so addition savings should apply.

    These are major injustices and now the FBI are basically gonna work for the big corperations too. With what financial backing, OUR TAX PAYERS MONEY!! Well it must be our money, because 4 out of the 5 lables are not even based in the USA, yet can basically buy our laws.

    I mean come on is this the wild west? Thank god for my second amendment right to bear arms, because I thought I just saw the “Regulators” just go by my house, I better stay in side, they’re headed over to the Mayors house to have a discusion with a couple bags of money, about what laws they need and what laws they don’t need.

    Since when was this county founded, by the people, for the corperations. Last, I knew the CONSTITUTION was not worded that way.

    Please Dr. Dean bring sense to all of this. You have my support.

    Jason W.
    Resident of Pennsylvania,
    A state currently governed under the SuperDCMA

  • Ian

    Richard,
    I spend enough time on internet forums that I can reliably detect trolls, and of course you’re not one. But if you’re being honest then you have to admit every one of your posts as a tone so, hmm, churlish, that to many people it could easily seem like grandstanding rather than genuine argumentation. I don’t agree with the deletion, but I can understand why people would think your posts were just insincere trolls. The deleting appears to have stopped, though, so hopefully you have the fortitude to acknowledge this and stop the “Help! Help! I’m being repressed!” schtick.

    Also, I take issue with you implying that Orwell intended 1984 to be predictive rather than descriptive. The media has changed quite a lot since 1948, and it’s at least arguable that he simply intended 1984 to be simply descriptive of that year. But please, don’t let me get in the way of your extended analogy.

  • Rob Davis

    I am quite happy to see the FCC topic lead this blog. It shows Dr. Dean has thoughts away from the current media buzz. That’s a great sign.

    After reading the comments, it makes me even more anxious to get a progessive administration in the White House in 2004. There is so much being done in America today that is an assault upon the middle class — in fact, on all but the super-rich.

    The GOP wants to use the winds of change to blow society back to the 1890′s when industrialists had control of the country and labor had no voice (and lived in squalor).

    We need to stop the GOP to save all the gains American people have made in the past 100 years. Start by voting them out in 2003. Continue by voting Dean into office in 2004.

    Rob

  • Adam I.

    Andrew –

    to be fair…I have never arued that there should be many small media companies…just regulation toward a bit more diversity than there is now.

  • Paul

    “One of the most dangerous things that has happened in the past few years is the deregulation of media ownership rules that began in 1996.”

    Wrong. In the arena of free speech, the singular most dangerous thing that’s happened was McCain-Feingold. Political speech deserves the greatest protection, and is currently the most limited.

  • http://artists.mp3s.com/artist_song/3204/3204233.html Jeff

    support free speech by playing “Soldier On” by Confidence Man – a great thinking person’s approach to patriotism
    Lyrics:
    Your attention please!
    The dogs of war are off the leash,
    the bombs all have our names
    and I don’t understand
    why it’s this bad man.
    There are so goddamn
    many of them.
    The cowboy king has drawn
    his line in the sand.

    If I get a gun and kill
    another human, will I
    go to heaven,
    will I be American?

    Better pin a flag on,
    sticker for the wagon.
    Pride is never dragging
    cause I am American.

    But it’s American to question
    any goddamn thing I please.
    And I don’t like your suggestion
    that I follow your decrees.

    Have you ever seen an eagle
    wheeling high above the pines
    to land upon a windswept rock?
    It’s so terrible and regal.
    What I want to point out is
    it sits alone.
    It does not flock.

    http://artists.mp3s.com/artist_song/3204/3204233.html or
    http://www.garageband.com/artist/confidenceman

  • Thomas

    One of the most dangerous things I’ve seen in recent American politics is a serious presidential candidate proposing to make policy changes in telecommunications for partisan political purposes. That surely is what Dean is propsing here today–he wants to make sure that critics of the current president have the airwaves. Next, perhaps he’ll propose that his critics be denied such access… (And why wouldn’t we expect that from him? His criticism of recent FCC action–mandated by Congress–suggests an attitude that law doesn’t matter, only partisan outcomes.)

  • Carlton Nettleton

    I agree, McCain-Feingold certinaly appears to be a violation of an individual’s, or organization of individuals, 1st Admendment rights. Why is an individual with $1 billion allowed to run a presidential campaign, but 10,000,000 people contributing a sum of $1 billion dollars illegal? Something seems not right to me. Both should be free to donate/use their money where they see fit.

    Now corporations are another matter. A corporation is not a person, so a corporation does not have a right to free speech. The people who work at the corporation do, but the corporation is a ficiticious entity, so it has no inidvidual rights that deserve to be protected. It might have corporate rights, but not individual rights.

    As for what I meant about a corporation, I was not talking about a sole proprietorship or even a start-up company. I was referring to companies like Viacom, GM, Exxon-Mobile and General Dynamics – massive multinational corporations. I appologize if I was not clear.

  • Alan in Seattle

    Dana– I just wanted to add a Thank You for making an effort to explain and try to bridge culture clashes of the resident and visiting bloggers.

  • Jack Kessler

    You said,

    “James Madison and Thomas Jefferson spoke of the fear that economic power would one day try to seize political power. No consolidated economic power has more opportunity to do this than the consolidated power of media.”

    Here are the two Ben Franklin quotes which the American Library Association uses to justify their campaigns for freedom of information and freedom of speech: they might be useful to you –

    “Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech”

    “Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such Thing as Wisdom; and no such Thing as publick Liberty, without Freedom of Speech”

    http://www.ala.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Our_Association/Offices/Intellectual_Freedom3/Banned_Books_Week/Banned_Books_Week.htm

    ALA and the ACLU just lost badly in the Supreme Court to the Bush Administration, two weeks ago, on Internet censorship –US v. ALA, upholding the new CIPA law — so we all are going to need your help on this, as it looks as though the law courts can do nothing more.

    I hope very much that you will work up a strong position now on media concentration and censorship, Internet and other.

  • http://blog.deanforamerica.com/archives/000683.html zephyr

    We did -not- intend to edit Mr. Bennett’s post. We have corrected this and reposted it over in the comments section of our blog (click my name). We’re sorry for the mistake. Thank you very much for pointing it out.

  • J.B. Nicholson-Owens

    Chase: ah, good catch. But to me this is a distinction without much of a difference because the main issues are left unaddressed–is this enough feedback and does Dean have anything to offer this audience on lessig.org? Given the gravity of Dean’s visit and the number of points that are going unaddressed in what looks to be multiple dozens of posts per topic, two posts a day simply isn’t enough. I’ll be surprised if Dean has opinions relevant to copyright law to share on this blog. So, amending my post for the correction you thoughtfully provided, I stand by my assessment in the remainder of my previous post.

  • http://www.bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    How do you delete three comments by accident, zephyr?

  • Robbie D

    If you read Mr. Richard Bennett at WatchBlog, you’d quickly realize he is a GOP troll with little substance to add to any debate. Please don’t feed the troll.

    Robbie D

  • http://taint.org/ Justin

    BTW, as a European, I’d like to proffer a correction. I think the original article should take the phrase, ‘the Internet might soon be the last place where open dialogue occurs’, and suffix the important modifier, ‘in the US‘. ;)

    While media consolidation is rolling on in the US, that doesn’t mean the same applies everywhere. Well, rather, there are attempts at consolidation, but many places are still avoiding these attempts effectively. So far, at least.

    And it’s important to take an international viewpoint, as I’m sure Mr. Dean would agree!

  • http://taint.org/ Justin

    Dr. Dean, not Mr. Dean. oops, sorry about that.

  • JT Palmer

    The past several presidential elections I have had difficulty choosing a canidate with whom I can relate. I am proud to say that I did NOT vote for Bush and my reasons are now relevant as seen in the news and current state of the economy.

    Many people would say that I wasted my vote by voting Green, but this election I have decided to everything in my power to oust our current �hail-to-the-thief�.

    This election I am advertising my support for Howard Dean to friends and family so that we won�t have to deal with Bush for another 4 years.

    PS –

    -Like many people on this Blog, I am curious about Dean�s views on Intelectual Properties (ie – patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade dresses, etc.) and the threats of the RIAA against small budgeted individuals who are forced to settle out of court.

    -How does he feel about the idea of patented human genomes and patents reguarding information encoded within DNA�Is it right for a corporation to own the decifered codes or is it ultimately everyone�s right to that inherent information?

    Granted it cost millions to unravel the codes and decifer the information, but is it correct to let some corporation own a monopoly on what many believe to be public domain�kinda like the �public� air waves that are tightly regulated by the FCC (bastards).

    -Lastly I am curious about his views on Stem Cell Research. Most candidates won�t touch this with a 10 foot pole (understandably).

    I assume as a doctor he would acknowledge the great deal of information we would be able to gain from stem cell development and the ultimate positive result on the entire human population.

    Thanks for joining our Blog!!

  • http://www.christopherhuffman.com/chris Christopher Huffman

    You said it, Governor Dean. Lets take our country back.

    Dean for America in 2004!

  • chase

    J.B. Nicholson-Owens: Unfortunately, Dean is only one man, and a very busy one at that. So I understand your concern; my two suggestions are (a) look at this as an opportunity to speak to Dean about what issues matter to you, whether or not he has the time to respond personally – for instance, he’s looking into black box electronic voting because of people like us raising concerns – and (b) visit http://www.blogforamerica.com or dean2004.blogspot.com and see if Dean supporters can provide answers for you about where Dean stands on the issues you care about. There are thousands of us!

  • chase

    “Next, perhaps he�ll propose that his critics be denied such access�”

    Another completely unsubstantiated straw man. Next troll please.

  • Ben

    Richard Bennett believes in racially profiling Arab males at airports, but doesn’t like being censored as a troll at blogforamerica.com. Sorry, Richard…I guess you fit the description.

    –Ben

  • brian

    An interesting opinion piece that might be useful to Deanheads:

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110003749

    “The problem for the Democrats is that their base is so furious, it may be impossible for them to nominate someone level-headed enough to make a plausible president.”

  • http://smokeyjoe.pointclark.net Smokey.Joe

    Maybe I’m drunk, but maybe it has more to do with the fact that a future President would actually read this post, but I”m crying. I completely understand the deregulation issue. I’ve lost one of my most favorite radio stations due to this. I used to be able to listen to the music that I enjoy, but now, it’s a Spanish station…. Like others have mentioned, I would like to know how you, as President, would fix this mistake? It would be so nice to be able to hear alternate view points to subjects, or to even listen to music thats not “the norm.” I hope that you can expound on this issue and tell us, “How you could fix this?”

  • Sapphire

    Ratings, not ideology, is what drives big media companies, huh? I guess that explains why one media company’s highest rated show, Donahue, was cancelled.

  • maxomai

    Mr. Bennett,

    You stated:

    And certainly one can argue that a whole bunch of little companies competing with each other is a richer ecosystem than a few lumbering giants. There�s just one problem: there are those, primarily in the government but elsewhere as well, who really want one, big, uniform news organ keeping all the people in lock step as Orwell predicted. So how do you fight that? I think you need big media companies to fight the government, because the little guys, who depend on the actions of government bureaucrats to award them licenses and keep them in business, can�t afford to stand up to the tyranny that all governments tend toward.

    You need power to combat power, in other words. And to the exact extent that you allow government to regulate the free flow of ideas from media, you encourage that little censorious element that 1984 was all about. Remember, we have more diversity of ideas in the media today than we did in the 70s, not less. So I don�t trust any politician who wants to impose shackles on media ownership and operation.

    The problem with this is that the pendulum can easily swing too far, once the large corporations get too much power. Eventually they will start telling the government what to do. We’re already seeing this happen with copyright extentions in aeternum, the virtual elimination of “pirate” radio stations that could compete with the big guys, etc.

    It seems to me that a compromise can be reached in this matter rather simply, by both eliminating media ownership rules (that is, any company can have all the outlets they wish) and by lowering the barriers for entry into the market (thus allowing low-power, “pirate” radio stations to compete with the big guys).

    Perhaps we should suggest this to the folks at Clear Channel, et. al., and see what kind of reception we get.

    Completely aside: as far as racial profiling is concerned, it might also have been good for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation to carefully monitor and thorougly investigate white Christian males around the time of the 1996 Olympics. Wouldn’t you agree?