'Without freedom of the airwaves, there's no freedom of the press'...
By Brad Friedman on 10/14/2009, 8:35pm PT  

Alternet has just published my most recent op-ed article written for the Commonweal Institute (where I am a Fellow). The subject is the desperate need for media reform, particularly reform of our publicly-owned airwaves. The piece calls on Progressives to begin this most important conversation, while calling out Democrats for running away from it with their collective tails between their legs.

The article starts this way...

Our Media Need a Fair and Balanced Doctrine
Without freedom of the airwaves, there is no freedom of the press.

Just minutes after noon, on January 20, 2009, "hope" arrived for Constitutionalists and supporters of its First Amendment. A slight, little-noticed, but exceedingly noteworthy paragraph appeared on the new Administration's White House website "Technology" page.

"Encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media," the paragraph began, "promote the development of new media outlets for expression of diverse viewpoints, and clarify the public interest obligations of broadcasters who occupy the nation's spectrum."

After more than a decade of private corporatization of virtually every inch of bandwidth across the public airwaves, a new day seemed to be dawning with a new Administration's indication that they might reverse years of cynical, self-serving mismanagement of the people's airwaves by a few, very large, very far-right leaning corporations who had been granted priceless government largesse in the form of broadcast licenses without the responsibility of serving the public interest in exchange.

"Hope" would be short lived. By summer, the paragraph had been quietly excised from the White House website without a trace, apology or even an explanation.

The rightwing-dominated media's War Against Restoration of the Fairness Doctrine had been won before those who might have joined the battle were even aware there had been a first skirmish...

For more, please read, comment and/or hit recommend on the full piece at Alternet...