Get down on your knees, right now, and kiss the Anton Community newspaper you're holding. I'll wait. This family-owned, locally-owned, independent news source represents the way we used to get our news, information and entertainment.
Our public airwaves and our public discourse aren't public anymore. They're corporate owned, operated and sponsored. And our national political leaders tell us this is good, that we must remove all barriers to the movement of corporate capital over borders, into our schools, into our homes, into our lives.
Why is it good that until 1995 there used to be a limit of owning seven radio stations, and now at least one company (Clear Channel) owns over 1,000 stations? Clear Channel owns five New York FM stations, and they're in negotiations now to buy the one station that still sometimes broadcasts in Yiddish, onto which they'd like to move Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura and other shows they syndicate nationally. So much for diversity and a spectrum of thought on our public airwaves.
Why is it good that the New York Times owns the Boston Globe, and the Chicago Tribune owns the Los Angeles Times and the NY Daily News and Newsday? And each newspaper empire own its own empire of broadcast and cable stations.
Why is it good that Rupert Murdoch owns a television network, cable and satellite networks and the TV Guide? He also owns a big league baseball team and the rights to national baseball game broadcasts. His arch-rivals, Ted Turner and Disney, also owns baseball teams and their own television networks and cable empires.
NBC, already owned by a giant conglomerate, will soon be sold to a giant communications conglomerate because it isn't connected to a movie studio. Forty years ago, the last oldtime Hollywood studio, MGM, was forced to sell its movie theater chains because even President Eisenhower thought it was anti-competitive for one company to create, distribute and exhibit movies. We're so numbed to all of this we don't even notice anymore.
Well, the Alliance for Better Campaigns might wake us up a little. It's new GreedyTV.org project is demonstrating why these communications giants have a real stake in limiting our political choices and potential reforms. Television stations in the largest markets raked in over $211 million in political advertising revenue by the end of July. In New York, Channel 4 alone scored over $6.8 million in revenue on just over 2,000 ads. Channel 7 took in $5.5 million. Even Channel 5, avoided by many campaigns, hauled in over $1.2 million. These revenues may have tripled already. Most democracies allot free airtime to candidates, so they don't have to raise sick amounts of money from corporate interests. Not in this country, silly.
No wonder only candidates who smile at the new corporate culture get serious national and local airtime, or get invitations to the Anhauser Busch-sponsored presidential debates. The public only lends broadcasters the airwaves in order to "serve the public interest, convenience and necessity," but on its web page, Viacom calls itself "the Number 1 platform in the world for advertisers." Broadcasting responsibilities aren't even mentioned.
So kiss this Anton paper, with its accessible advertising rates, and give a gift subscription to a couple of people.