May 16, 2008

Rupert attention!

Lost in all of the election rhetoric permeating the media this week was a rather quiet but important vote in the United States Senate. The American public sent a message to Rupert Murdoch and other corporate barons – delivered by our elected U. S. Senators – that we’ve had enough media consolidation in this country and that it’s time to put a lid on it.

It was a roll call vote, so there’s no way of knowing who voted for or against
Senate Joint Resolution 28, but we understand that it was a near-unanimous decision. The resolution effectively rebuffs the Federal Communications Commission ruling last December allowing more cross ownership of newspapers and television stations in this country.

As we have opined in the past, growing media consolidation has several negative outcomes, including fewer and fewer truly local broadcast outlets. Left unchecked, the race for bigger bottom lines would further erode what we used to have abundantly in this country -- really good local media services. There are other problems, too, and a few are spelled out in this New York Times story of May 16, 2008.

Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota spearheaded adoption of SJR 28 and deserves much credit for its passage. It’s interesting to note that Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are among the 27 co-sponsors of the resolution. It should be recognized, however, that this was a bi-partisan effort.

The next battleground is in the House of Representatives, and we’ll be looking for South Dakota Representative Stephanie Herseth Sandlin to step up and support
HJR 79, introduced by two Washington state Congressmen, Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Dave Reichert.

We’re contacting
Representative Herseth Sandlin with our views supporting HJR 79 and hope others will do the same.

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