Federal Censorship Commission chair Michael "Mr. Potatohead" Powell has taken another opportunity to showcase his relentless ignorance. Let's have a look at what Chairman Pow had to say.
"Here's the truth: the ownership debate is about nothing but content. Don't be fooled. I mean, this is my greatest warning to the American public. It's easy to go after every ill in society by claiming it's the media's fault. It's the American pastime, right? Anything you don't like, it's the media's fault."
Okay, Mike, the first rule of "communication" is to develop coherent thoughts before you open your big potatohead mouth. That'll help you avoid looking like a big potatohead idiot.
"We're required to review rules at a very high, ruthless standard. A lot of the rules, which are 30 or 35 years old, are difficult empirically to justify in the current environment."
Is he talking about indecency standards? No! He's talking about ownership caps! Keep going, Mikey!
"There's really only one rule that everybody's talking about � the national ownership cap."
Your tireless efforts to get people to care about indecency notwithstanding. Those pesky American People just don't know what's good for them, do they?
"We did the work, we did the research; this market is not concentrated in antitrust terms."
"The vast majority of people don't even know what the rules say, to be perfectly candid. Name all six of them. Name what they actually do. Nobody can."
On the inside, he's saying: "Their ignorance is my strength."
"It's easy to say, 'I'm comfortable with that when the government's doing it for something I like. But I get really scared when it's something I don't.' And what is juxtaposed against the media ownership debate? Indecency, which maybe is what you mean by content. Hollywood was happy to beat up on ownership liberalization because they want the government to intervene so we can promote more independent programming � which is content. But the same Hollywood says the government can't say that Howard Stern can't say the F word, because that's censorship and inappropriate."
Let's pick this chicken apart. Basically what he's saying is that the overriding issue in communications regulation is the extent to which you want the government to interfere with the media. According to Mike's retarded logic, if you want the government to interfere to limit media ownership, you should also want them to interfere and limit indecency.
Chairhead fails to realize that "content" plays a different role depending on which type of regulation he's ham-fisting upon the American public. In the ownership cap/antitrust setting, content is a commodity. Under antitrust laws the government is supposed to promote competition (read: limit ownership), which, we're told, incentivizes content providers to deliver high-quality prices to the howling masses at low-low prices.
In the area of indecency regulation, content is speech: something protected by the goddamn constitution. I realize that the federal government has broader latitude to control content on broadcast channels, but the First Amendment still governs the regulation of radio waves.
So, Mike's good for the goose/good for the gander argument doesn't work. Just because the Commerce Clause enables the FCC to promote competition doesn't mean it also enables it to crush free speech. It isn't hypocrisy to demand government regulation of media monopolies and simultaneously demand that the government ease up on selectively squelching content.
But wait! If Mike thinks that people with context-dependent views on government interference are hypocrites, then he must be the biggest hypocrite of them all! He's all about deregulation when it comes to ownership caps, but he wants to personally cross the t's of every DJ in the country when it comes to indecency! How ever does he explain that?
"First of all, there's a separate response for indecency, since Congress has passed a statute and the Supreme Court upheld it. So I don't have any choice other than to believe that it is a constitutionally permissible restriction that the people, through their representatives, have imposed as a matter of law."
I bet that's exactly what he said when both houses of Congress smacked down his relaxation of ownership rules.
And, just to remove any lingering doubts about Mike's slobbering partisanship, he reveals himself as a Fox News apologist, too!
"We wouldn't have had as much steam in the media ownership debate if Rupert Murdoch hadn't come into the world. Conservatives were griping for decades about liberal media and nobody paid attention. Now, all of a sudden, one news channel has gotten a whole new community of people freaked out."