On today's BradCast: Very troubling news from the FCC, largely being ignored by both corporate media and Democrats, as the GOP-controlled federal agency is now set to make a disastrous decision to allow local media ownership monopolies as early as next week. [Audio link to show follows below.]
But, first up today: In an encouraging about-face, some good news out of Donald Trump's trip to Asia. After publicly attacking his own Secretary of State on Twitter for seeking the same just weeks ago, Trump, in South Korea on Tuesday, says he now hopes for a peacefully negotiated diplomatic solution to his nuclear brinkmanship with North Korea.
Next: The man who used a legally purchased military-style semi-automatic assault rifle and some 450 rounds of ammunition to slaughter 26 churchgoers in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday, was not only convicted by a U.S. Air Force court martial for assaulting his wife and child (whose skull he cracked), but he also spent a year in the brig, was discharged for "bad behavior", was charged for beating up a dog, had a restraining order filed in Court against him, escaped from a psychiatric hospital, threatened to kill his commanding officers, and attempted to smuggle weapons onto a military base.
But, somehow, none of those red flags --- through both the military and civilian law enforcement --- prevented him from legally purchasing four firearms, more than a dozen high-capacity magazines, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. While Republicans and media are claiming the Air Force was "in error" for not reporting his domestic assaults to the federal background check database in a way that would have kept him from purchasing firearms from a licensed deal, it was not an "error". Evidence suggests that it is actual policy for the entire U.S. military. Nonetheless, as I explain today, the GOP will use the issue to demand a change to how the military reports crimes, declare victory, even while ignoring all of the many other red flags that should have helped to prevent the bloodbath from happening at all.
Then: Ajit Pai (pictured above), the rightwing Chair of Donald Trump's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced a vote to be held next week to do away with the last of the few remaining media consolidation rules we have left in the U.S. If the 3 to 2 majority Republican Commission votes, as expected, to overturn decades-long limits on local broadcast and newspaper ownership, one company --- for example, the far rightwing (farther than Fox "News" even) Sinclair Broadcast Group, which is attempting to purchase Tribune Media --- will be able to buy up every single local television station (and their newsrooms) in the town where you live. Newspapers would also be allowed to own local television stations in the same market, for the first time ever.
Media Action Center's SUE WILSON, whose documentary Broadcast Blues covered just some of the real life dangers of media monopoly ownership (like that by Clear Channel aka I Heart Media in radio), joins us today to sound the alarm and explain the madness, which is quietly set to move forward with almost no attention or opposition whatsoever from either media, Democrats or many of the major media advocacy groups.
The Trump administration is "using their power behind the scenes, without legislation, to derail all the rules and regulations that we have in place to protect We, The People," Wilson explains. "The real threat here is, just imagine one corporate owner owns every TV station, and the newspaper, and the radio stations in your town. One owner, one newsroom, shoving whatever they want you to know down your throat, and no other viewpoints, no other facts, will be allowed. That's what we're really talking about here."
"This is something that Republicans on the Federal Communications Commission have been lobbying for for years," she says. "And they have tried this underhanded technique in the past, where they don't take any public comment, they just put this out for a vote." Unless they are stopped somehow, it looks as if they are likely to get away with it this time. (Remember when Republicans used to claim to be in favor of "competition"? Those were the days, huh?)
"What we're really talking about here is one group having complete control over everything that you are told over the public airwaves. And that will decimate the real reporting that goes on. Those are the newsrooms that hire real reporters, that go out and beat the streets and find out what happening at city hall, or the statehouse --- or the White House. They like to compete with each other, which offers We, The People a much broader spectrum of information that we can access."
Those days, however, may soon be over if this goes through. "Their goal is to take the radio model --- the model which is 98% of all the information you get on the news-talk stations is rightwing. You don't get any kind of pushback. Sound these fire alarms now because the house is burning and they don't want you to know it!" Wilson, whose op-ed on this, headlined "Fake News is only the beginning..." was published at Sacramento Bee today, also details how you can help to fight back on today's show. See this "URGENT" page at her Media Action Center for details. And please do so quickly! The vote to scrap ownership limitations and gut whatever is left of our public airwaves is scheduled for next week!
Finally: Desi Doyen joins us with the latest Green News Report, including special coverage of the newly released, and quite dire, National Climate Assessment, and Syria's announcement on Tuesday that the war-torn country now intends to join the Paris Climate Agreement, leaving the U.S. as the only nation on the planet that will NOT be a party to it, if Trump's promise to pull out goes through as scheduled...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)