Tag Archives: FCC

‘Death Sentence for Local Media’: Warnings as FCC Pushes Change to Benefit Right-Wing Media Giant

Free press advocates say rule changes are “massive handout” to broadcaster Sinclair that would have far-reaching and negative impacts in communities nationwide

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 10-26-2017

Federal Communications Chairmain Ajit Pai continues to push through rollbacks that critics warn will enable major media companies to have an outsize influence on public opinion and fail to serve local communities. (Photo: USDA/Flickr/cc)

In a series of moves this week that have alarmed free speech advocates and critics of media consolidation, the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) voted to abolish a rule requiring radio and television broadcasters to maintain studios near the communities they serve, and FCC chairman Ajit Pai announced further plans to end certain media ownership rules.

The policy shifts are expected to significantly benefit the right-wing Sinclair Broadcast Group—whose reported close ties to Pai have raised concerns as the federal government reviews Sinclair’s proposed $3.9 billion merger with Tribune Media, which would expand the broadcaster’s reach to 72 percent of the country. Continue reading

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Citing Dictatorial Tendencies, Critics Slam Trump for ‘Madcap Threat’ Aimed at NBC

While the president can’t take away the network’s ability to operate, former FCC commissioner calls ongoing attempts to intimidate journalists “chilling”

Written by Julia Conley, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 10-11-2017.

After an Oval Office meeting with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, President Trump attacked NBC for its reporting on his comments about increasing the nation’s nuclear arsenal. (Photo: @RT_America/Twitter)

Free speech advocates and journalists spoke out against President Donald Trump’s latest attack on the news media on Wednesday after he suggested a “challenge” of NBC’s license.

Michael Copps, the former FCC commissioner who now serves as special advisor to the grassroots organization Common Cause, noted that while Trump isn’t legally able to carry out his threats, his attempts to intimidate the press are deeply disconcerting: Continue reading

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‘Classic Propaganda’: Sinclair Broadcasting Pushes Aside Fox News to Become ‘Trump TV’

“It’s unheard of to have one company pushing one specific agenda reaching so many people and doing it in a way designed to evade local input”

By Common Dreams. Published 7-30-2017

The Sinclair Broadcasting cut a biased deal with Jared Kushner and the Trump campaign. Now the Trump FCC is paying back the favor. (screenshot)

During the 2016 Presidential campaign, the Sinclair Broadcasting group cut a deal with Jared Kushner for “good” coverage of the Trump Administration, which seems to have paid off.

Politico reported last December:

  Sinclair would broadcast their Trump interviews across the country without    commentary,  Kushner said. Kushner highlighted that Sinclair, in states like Ohio,  reaches a much wider audience — around 250,000 viewers[sic]— than networks like  CNN, which reach somewhere around 30,000. Continue reading

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‘You Can’t Make This Up’: Comcast Threatens Legal Action Against Net Neutrality Proponents

If FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s plan “is enacted, there would be nothing preventing Comcast from simply blocking sites like Comcastroturf.com that are critical of their corporate policies”

By Lauren McCauley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-23-2017

“This is exactly why we need Title II net neutrality protections that ban blocking, throttling, and censorship,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future. (Photo: Alyson Hurt/cc/flickr)

Open Internet proponents who have been fighting the Trump administration’s rollback of net neutrality protections, which has been enacted at the bidding of the telecom industry, said Tuesday that Comcast is now threatening legal action saying the website Comcastroturf.com is infringing on its trademark.

As the organization Fight for the Future quipped on Twitter, “You can’t make this stuff up.”

The website in question is currently providing a tool for the public to see if their names are among those stolen and used by anti-net neutrality bots to post comments in support of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plan to undo Title II protections that classify the internet as a public utility. Continue reading

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Massive Corporate Consolidation of Local News Underway

By Anti-Media Staff. Published 5-12-2017 by The Anti-Media

Image: LittleRoughRhinestone [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In a deal that will allow one broadcasting company to reach 72 percent of U.S. households through ownership of local news stations, it was reported this week that Sinclair Broadcast Group is buying Tribune Media for nearly $4 billion.

Such a move wouldn’t have been possible a few weeks back, but Donald Trump’s new Federal Trade Commission (FCC) chairman, Ajit Pai, just began implementing sweeping changes to previously established media ownership rules. Bloomberg explains: Continue reading

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The future of US net neutrality under Trump

Administrative decisions related to the country’s telecommunications policy often go unnoticed by the majority of the US citizenry. But now, net neutrality in its purest form is in peril.

By Michael J. Oghia. Published 3-17-2017 by openDemocracy

Welcome and Opening Remarks from Commissioner Ajit Pai, May 2014.Wikicommons/Federal Communications Commission.Public domain.

As this openDemocracy series has poignantly highlighted, digital rights should never be taken for granted. For all those keeping a close eye on US politics, this reality could not resonate more ominously. With the new Republican administration of Donald J. Trump, there is plenty of kindle to fuel a fire of discussion and, often enough, outrage.

Yet, behind all of the grandstanding, tweeting, and obscene showmanship, there lies a political machine forged in the corridors of Capitol Hill, skyscraping towers of corporate America, and musty legal libraries ready to take up the bureaucratic responsibility of running the United States. You see, outside of the more widely covered political issues such as immigration and healthcare, administrative decisions related to the country’s telecommunications policy often go unnoticed by the majority of the US citizenry. Continue reading

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FCC Passes Sweeping Internet Privacy Rules in ‘Big Win for Civil Rights’

New rules require internet service providers to get customers’ explicit consent before sharing data with third parties

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-27-2016

The rules require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to get customers' explicit consent before using or sharing behavioral data like browsing history, location, and other sensitive information. (Photo: Blogtrepreneur/flickr/cc)

The rules require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to get customers’ explicit consent before using or sharing behavioral data like browsing history, location, and other sensitive information. (Photo: Blogtrepreneur/flickr/cc)

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday passed sweeping new privacy rules designed to keep broadband providers from giving customers’ private data to third parties.

The rules, approved by a vote of 3-2, require Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to get customers’ explicit consent before using or sharing behavioral data like browsing history, location, and other sensitive information with marketing firms or other companies, the Washington Post reports.

“It’s the consumers’ information,” FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said. “How it is used should be the consumers’ choice. Not the choice of some corporate algorithm.” Continue reading

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FCC Finally Drags Political Ad Transparency Into 21st Century

While there’s more to do, unanimous vote will help expose “vital information about who’s seeking to influence our elections.”

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-28-2016

The 2016 election will see an expected $4.4 billion in political ad spending on TV this year. (Image: @SunFoundation/Twitter)

The 2016 election will see an expected $4.4 billion in political ad spending on TV this year. (Image: @SunFoundation/Twitter)

Amid what is predicted to be the most expensive campaign cycle ever, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Thursday voted to make more information about purchases of political advertising available online.

Campaign finance reform advocates applauded the development, but said there was much further to go.

“These political files contain valuable information about the ads, such as how much they cost and when they ran,” the Sunlight Foundation said following the vote. “Having the political ad files online is important: In some cases they provide the only public information available on groups that are thinly disguised as nonprofit ‘social welfare’ organizations but are, in fact, major campaign players.” Continue reading

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Neutrality: The Only Option

By GNOME icon artists (GNOME SVN / GNOME FTP) [GPL (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By GNOME icon artists (GNOME SVN / GNOME FTP) [GPL (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

On  January 14, the DC Court of Appeals struck down key parts of the Open Internet Order, the means by which the FCC defines net neutrality rules. To understand the implications of this, we need to review what the term “net neutrality” means.

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. A simple example from the commercial side would be that if AT&T is your ISP, it cannot block or slow down streaming content from Hulu, which is owned by Comcast – a direct competitor.

Without these rules in place, service providers could legally limit or slow down your access to sites not associated with the service provider, or block access entirely. If this sounds like more corporate control of speech to you, you’re right- it is. It’s also a slap in the face to smaller service providers, as the larger players in the game could put in place restrictive licensing fees, slow down out of network online activities or block access to the content that they host, thus creating a tiered service model. It doesn’t take a paranoid mindset to imagine a future scenario where political or social commentary outside what the powers that be deem acceptable wouldn’t be able to be expressed online.

However, with all the doom and gloom postulated in the above paragraphs and various blogs/articles I’ve read on the ruling, all’s not lost. The Court of Appeals overturned the provisions on a technical ground saying that the FCC hadn’t clearly defined their common carrier rules; not on the constitutionality of such a law. This leaves a clear path forward for the FCC to define what common carrier means as far as internet usage goes, as they did with cell phones (it’s why you have roaming with a cell phone out of its normal network instead of no reception at all). And, the service providers are still required to disclose their activities as far as blocking content, etc. goes; something the large service providers wanted struck down.

What can you do? Call or write your Congressthing. Call or write your service provider.  Sign Al Franken’s net neutrality petition. Make your voice heard!

Gigaom has a good series of articles about the ruling, starting with this one. Follow their links in the related stories sidebar for other takes on the subject. Ars Technica also has a good piece. For the MSM spin on the whole thing, try the Wall Street Journal.

Net neutrality isn’t dead – it just smells funny.

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