C-C-Call the Copps!

The much-hyped Michael Copps speech is pretty dry, especially if you've heard anti-media consolidation arguments before. A spokesman for FreePress, the anti-consolidation group (that's one of their stickers in the photo) introduces Copps as "the finest FCC commissioner we've ever had" and a lone voice of brave dissent: "Rupert Murdoch is so strong that hardly any polticians dare speak out against this media titan." The NewsCorp-Dow Jones merger "might be illegal: We can stop it."

Copps is less firey, and he basically wants to talk about net neutrality ("or Internet Freedom as I like to call it.") "I'm worried that America is playing Russian roulette with broadband," he says. "Your country and mine has been reduced to little more than third world nation, with media control handed over to an ever-smaller number of titans." He asks bloggers to join the fight against "the idea that the market will cure all evils, this mindset we've been struggling under and suffering under for years."

Before he jets off he suggests that the FCC might be able to block the Murdoch merger because some of the licenses the media outlets use are coming up for review and "could be challenged." And he suggests that the Wall Street Journal needn't be considered a "national newspaper" since it has "a great impact on people who live in New York." Not very convincing... a crowd that gaving an ovation at the start of the speech is a lot calmer when he's done.

What's that? You're not sure that the Democrats will devote themselves to protecting free speech? Read Matt Welch.

Matt Yglesias has another take here. (Note the angle of his photo.)

Headline reference here.

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    "Your country and mine has been reduced to little more than third world nation, with media control handed over to an ever-smaller number of titans." He asks bloggers to join the fight against "the idea that the market will cure all evils, this mindset we've been struggling under and suffering under for years."


    Doesn't the conference he's speaking at disprove his point?

  • Dave Weigel||

    Doesn't the conference he's speaking at disprove his point?

    He has an answer for that: "Most people still get their information from TV and newspapers." So he'd tell you no.

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    aah, true. I'm not particularly thrilled with the media we've got either, but it seems that injecting more political solutions isn't... um... the best solution.

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    Copps is a paleo-liberal who loves all forms of government regulation. Very quaint.

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    Net Neutrality: Because it's unthinkable that we still have something the government hasn't shit all over!

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    Michael Copps himself provides the single greatest reason to eliminate the FCC. Kevin Martin is probably a close second.

    This whole thing has me thinking of the "too many notes" scene in Amadeus. Just how many owners of broadcast media is the correct balance, Herr Commissioner?

  • SIV||

    Happy Mondays

    I always wondered who that was lurking behind the vastly superior Happy Flowers in the record store bins.

  • Episiarch||

    Copps and his ilk are the kind of people who say they don't want media consolodation--because it's Murdoch--but if they could have NPR beamed directly into our brains they would do it.

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    Net Neutrality: Because it's unthinkable that we still have something the government hasn't shit all over!

    Except for the fact that Net Neutrality regulations have been the norm until a recent decision by the regulatory body that common carrier regulations don't apply to the internet, you would have a great point.

    Net Neutrality was the status quo re: the internet up until last year.

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    Third World Country? I thought most poor, third world countries have plenty of regulation on the media. In fact, they usually just nationalize it.

  • JMR||

    Before he jets off he suggests that the FCC might be able to block the Murdoch merger because some of the licenses the media outlets use are coming up for review and "could be challenged."

    Isn't that how Sen. Geary tried to squeeze Michael Corleone in Godfather Part II?

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    So government action to forbid monopoly = acting against the market?

    I like small government as much as the next Reason commenter, but I don't see a way for a truly free market to emerge here. Either government regulates intrusively or the big players squeeze the little ones out to the detriment of the consumer.

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    I guess it should come as no surprise that the law firm of Sandler, Reiff & Young, P.C., whose Martindale-Hubbell listing says that they concentrate on "campaign finance, election and political law," representing "Democratic party committees" (among others), recently threatened legal action in an effort to to bully Young America's Foundation into canceling a talk by Robert Spencer, author of The Truth About Muhammad":

    http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/017609.php

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    Re: "the idea that the market will cure all evils"

    What's the free market have to do with this? The companies that put in the broadband infrastructure were, by and large, gov't guaranteed monopolies. There's nothing free market about it.

  • Seitz||

    The FCC's gonna step on you again. They're gonna take away your....promised land.

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    So government action to forbid monopoly = acting against the market?

    Murdoch owns CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, etc, etc? He owns all the newsies and blogs too?

    Where's the monopoly?

  • Stephen Macklin||

    How quaint, the media is free to be whatever the state wants it to be. Did any of you people who think Murdoch is satan incarnate ever stop to consider how Murdoch built his media empire? Where do you think he gets the money to buy up every media outlet he wants?

    He delivers viewers and readers to advertisers. If the viewers weren't there, the advertisers and the money wouldn't be there.

    And what do you think would happen if one political point of view took over and dominated every major media outlet? Let's say hypothetically that every major broadcast network and virtually every major print news source had a consistently leftist bias. (Hypothetically) what would happen. Opposing voices would find an outlet - say AM talk radio and the internet.

  • Blah Blah Shill Et Cetera||

    He has an answer for that

    That's not an answer. It's not even a deflection. But your vigilance in leaping to shield his idiocy from examination over what would otherwise have been the natural course of this thread is...your job here, evidently.

    But joe's still better at it. You've got the keys, but only half the posts on the site are about Kos.

    Grindstone, man. Smell it.

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    I like small government as much as the next Reason commenter,

    Quoted for hilarity...

    but I don't see a way for a truly free market to emerge here. Either government regulates intrusively or the big players squeeze the little ones out to the detriment of the consumer.

    In exactly what oxymoronic way do you expect little players to have a big presence in any market?

    The top six media companies have over 70% of the market share! Well, yeah... That's kind of what happens with a distribution when you order the elements from biggest to smallest. That mathematical fact in and of itself says nothing about whether consumers are being served well.

    Have you looked at countries where there is more government control over media than the US? Do you see little players with a big presence there? Can you provide any argument for why a truly free media market wouldn't have a distribution similar to what we see in the US?

    On the other hand, you may have a point... If it weren't for UK government's intrusive regulation, BBC 7 might find itself pushed into bankruptcy by BBC's 1 through 6.

  • Dave W.||

    So how do you feel about media consoldation, Weigs (aka Mr. Time.com!)?

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    Wasn't the internet purposely designed as a chaotic, decentralized system to make it harder for Stalinists to take over the country? Oh, wait, now I see why Michael Copps doesn't like it.

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    "Rupert Murdoch is so strong that hardly any polticians dare speak out against this media titan."

    Groan....not only do we have many Democrats talking about bringing back the Fairness Doctrine, and Democratic presidential candidates chickening out of the FOX debate, but Hilary has scared Murdoch into raising money for her. I'd say the Democrats are "speaking out" against Murdoch, "media titan" or no.

  • Anonymo the Anonymous||

    That's not an answer. It's not even a deflection. But your vigilance in leaping to shield his idiocy from examination over what would otherwise have been the natural course of this thread is...your job here, evidently.

    Jesus, man, was Weigel wholeheartedly endorsing the guy's "answer" or just passing it along, you know, like a reporter generally does?

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    How quaint, the media is free to be whatever the state wants it to be. Did any of you people who think Murdoch is satan incarnate ever stop to consider how Murdoch built his media empire? Where do you think he gets the money to buy up every media outlet he wants?
    Amen. Fox News is popular because it taps into an untaped market...on the flip side of that the New York Post, which has the same political leanings as Fox News is but does shitty in circulation

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    Don't you people see? It's not about what people want, it's about what they need! People are too stupid to make decisions for themselves, especially with Rupert Murdoch forcing everyone to watch Fox News and read the WSJ..

    Wait, he doesn't? How is that possible? That would make all of those people complaining about his take over of the media complete fucking morons! And we know that's not true..

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    The FCC should have no role in content whatsoever and should stick to managing bandwidth allocation, which is not without the potential for political abuse, to be certain.

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    Hey, look at that, an angry pendantic commenter who's driven to fury because Weigal dares to report that the guy made an inconvenient argument, AND he feels the need to single me out.

  • David Nieporent||

    So government action to forbid monopoly = acting against the market?

    Yes, actually. There are two kinds of monopolies: natural and government granted. The first kind -- ones that arise naturally, by doing a better job in the marketplace -- are the free market. Fortunately, they only stay in a monopoly position as long as they do a better job in the marketplace. The second kind, of course, don't require "government action to forbid monopoly"; they just require the government to stop protecting their monopoly.

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