FCC Chair Kevin Martin plans to relax media ownership rules so that one company can own (for example) the major newspaper, eight radio stations and three television stations in the same city. Imagine if the News Corporation owned all that in your city! Your hometown paper thinking its racist headlines are cutting-edge humor, just like the New York Postdoes! Geraldo chasing ambulances and blowing up vaults on three TV stations, not one! Hearing "For What It's Worth" and "Sunday Bloody Sunday" leeched of all their original holy righteous power on eight radio stations, not one! When will these pedants learn that freedom does not always equal fewer rules, and that "free markets" aren't free if we're not all free, and we're not all free if five megacorporations control all the media outlets? We can only hope that Mr. Martin's proposal hypes his career just like similar proposals hyped Michael Powell's in 2003 -- Mr. Powell, you may recall, got smacked down first by three million comments opposing the rule changes, then by two votes from each House of Congress superseding the rule changes, and ultimately by a federal court overturing the rule changes. Begin handing out the beatdowns here.
I'm pleased to report, by the way, that Mr. Bush has done something right lately, in signing an executive (sic) order prohibiting the federal government from using eminent domain for any purpose other than building hospitals or roads or other demonstrable public use. The order won't have much utility in practice -- mostly municipalities and states, not the federal government, abuse the eminent domain laws these days -- but I applaud the sentiment anyway. I note, however, that the eighth paragraph in the above-referenced AP report casts the debate as one between conservatives and liberals. Every liberal I know was outraged by the Supreme Court decision that approved of the taking of private property for strip malls. And I'm still waiting for conservatives who hate government power to consistently stand up to corporate power when it runs roughshod over individual property rights.
(I have some penny rants percolating. They ain't gonna be pretty.)