Adventures in Hacktivism
May 15, 2003
Call Your Senators Now -- Demand A Public Hearing About The FCC's New Media Ownership Rules

Estimated time: 3-7 minutes.

It took me about ten minutes, but I didn't already have the two things to say below written for me -- like you do -- and I also had to wait on hold for a couple minutes listening to classical music because the line was busy.

Please look up your Senators and then use my really simple talking points (below) or pehaps some of the more detailed talking points (with resources) that some folks were nice enough to put together.

I called up Barbara Boxer (I can't bring myself to contact Feinstein) and left a message that:

1) I am very concerned about the proposed changes in the FCCs media ownersip rules.


2) To please do everything in her power to demand another official public hearing regarding the details of the changes before any kind of final ruling can be made.

(Thanks to Michelle Wolf and Alison Brzencheck and anyone else I forget to mention that helped write and distribute the information below before it found its way to me.)

Hi All, is facilitating a national call in campaign to coincide with the
FCC's meeting today. They are asking all Americans concerned about the
state of the mass media to phone there state legislators to express their
concern (see note below). I have attached a PDF of the numbers for the
senate and the House of Representatives.

For individuals that do not feel they have enough knowledge of the issues,
I have provided talking points at the bottom of this email for them to use
in the call.

Alison Brzenchek
Vice President of Media Reform
Action Coalition for Media Education Board of Directors


Hi all,

I'm really sorry for the late notice but it's been decided
that the call in day is tomorrow/today Thursday May 15th to
coincide with the FCC's meeting.

MoveOn will send out the call late tonight/early morning
to ask folks to call their Congresspeople asap. Please
forward on to your lists and let's make sure our elected
officials in DC hear us (and the NRA :)

Word is that MoveOn got over 150,000 people to sign their
petition last week, and all of those folks will be emailed
to make a call tomorrow.

We should discuss as a group whether we want to build for
another call-in day closer to the FCC's vote.

Let's burn up those phone lines and keep the momentum


Talking Points

1. I am aware of the letters you have received from legislators:

There was a letter sent from Senate Commerce Committee members Allard,
Snowe and Collins to Chairman Powell.

The letter urged Powell to publicly address how any changes in media
ownership rules "will promote diversity, competition, and localism" before
issuing a final ruling.

See more the letter at:

2. I have been made aware of a poll done by the Project for Excellence in
Journalism and the Pew Research Center for the People and The Press that

"How much, if anything, have you heard about a Federal Communications
Commission proposal to reduce current limits on the number of news outlets
one company can own," the survey asked. "A lot, a little, or nothing at

72% of Americans have heard "nothing at all"

4% of Americans have heard "a lot."

Find out more at:

3. I am concerned that corporations are being prioritized over the public

"Chairman Powell defines his job as promoting variety in the entertainment
market," said Mark Cooper, CFA's Director of Research, "but the First
Amendment is about ensuring vibrant civic discourse through diversity of
viewpoints and vigorous competition between institutions in the gathering
and dissemination of news and information."

4. I am familiar with the Supreme Courts 1945 decision on the First
Amendment. I believe that further elimination of media ownership
regulations is in conflict with this decision.

In 1945, the Supreme Court decided that "the widest possible dissemination
of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the
welfare of the public, that a free press is a condition of a free society."

See full case decision at:

5. I am aware of evidence that shows that eliminating media ownership
regulations will not support the diversity, localism and competition the
FCC is charged to protect.

A study by the Consumer Federation of America called, Democratic Discourse
in the Digital Information Age demonstrates that the FCC studies are asking
the wrong questions.

"They look at variety of entertainment when they should be looking at
diversity of information."

"They worry about number of outlets when strength of journalistic
institutions is what matters."

"They downplay the key role of concentration of ownership, and they ignore
the size and diversity of the population served by the media."

See the Executive Summary at:

6. I am aware of differing opinions within the commission. Additionally, I
am concerned that the Chair of the Commission (Powell) has only held one
"offical" public hearing and has only participated in one "unofficial"
hearing spearheaded by Commissioner Copps.

There have been 4 unofficial hearings through out the US and Powell only
attend 1

There are four additional unofficial hearing scheduled between now and May

"If you take this to its logical conclusion, you could end up with a
situation where one company owns the newspaper, the television station, the
radio station and the cable system. That may have some economic
efficiencies attached to it, but I daresay it also has some profound
democratic and social and political considerations that we ignore only at
our own tremendous peril."(Statement made by Commissioner Copps in an
interview with Bill Moyers on NOW, 2002)

7. I am extremely concerned because the majority of television, newspaper
and cable broadcasters are not covering this extremely important issue.

We do not hear about ownership issues in the mainstream media due to the
financial benefits that the owners stand to gain with further deregulation.

------ End of Forwarded Message

Posted by Lisa at May 15, 2003 12:19 PM | TrackBack
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