Thursday, February 11, 2010

Just one more reason I hate Ronald Reagan

As I've written before, I came of age, as the saying goes, during the Reagan years. The man scared me then and as I cast my eye back over that time I find no reason to change my assessment of the man. Remember, St. Ronnie. He'll be making an appearance shortly.

Today, Crooks & Liars has a post about Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) calling for public opposition of the proposed merger between media giant GE/NBC and Comcast. That this could even be within the realm of possibility lies solely at the feet of Ronald Reagan and his deregulation juggernaut.

Once upon a time, there were limits to how many radio stations, TV stations and newspapers one person or entity could own. Until, 1984 (Yay! Ronnie!) the rule was 7. You could own 7 radio stations, 7  TV stations and 7 newspapers. In 1984 that rule was changed to 12 for TV and newspapers. Now, there is no cap on the number of radio stations one person/corporation can own. Since this ruling took effect, American radio ownership has shrunk tremendously. Think Clear Channel.

US media is concentrated in the hands of 6 major companies: General Electric, Disney, News Corp., Viacom, Time Warner and CBS. Together they control 68 broadcast TV stations, 187 radio stations, over 40 cable networks, 4 of the largest film studios, 3 major publishing houses, numerous magazines and a smattering of interests in sports teams, amusement parks and more.  Check out those links above for a full listing of who owns what. It's kinda scary.

If GE is allowed to merge/acquire/suck up Comcast, they'll gain 6 cable channels, 4 sports franchises in Philadelphia, and the crown jewel - Comcast Cable. At last they'll be able to compete with Time Warner!

Once upon a time in this country, the FCC was concerned about the concentration of media ownership. They worked to keep one person or corporation from controlling the news in large markets and were committed to diversity. No longer.

It's all about money. It always comes back to money.  Just ask Rupert Murdoch.

We may bemoan the recent Supreme Court ruling that corporations are people, but in reality we should not be surprised. We've been moving toward corporate control of our nation for some time. It can be traced to the supposition that deregulation increases competition.

And we have Ronnie Raygun and his band of merry criminals to thank for that.


Dr. Jay SW said...

Jimmy Carter, for all his faults as a president, Jimmy Carter recognized that our dependence on oil was destroying our environment and making conflicts between the US and Middle Eastern nations inevitable, and at least began making symbolic steps, such as putting solar panels on the white house, toward lessening it.

Ronald Reagan's first act as president was to have the solar panels taken down, indicating he wanted nothing to do with conservation. Then he helped fund Islamic fanatics to fight the Russians in Afghanistan (as well as Saddam Hussein against Iran). There's no one who deserves more blame for the terrorist threat and the horrifying state of our environment than Reagan.

Lesley said...

It's all coming together, isn't it? Corporations can spend unlimited $$ on campaign ads. Corporations control the media. Corporations are people. The right is pretending to be scared about "socialism" creeping in, while we have fascism marching forward at an alarming rate. Truly scary.

Sassy Britches said...

I wanna just crawl back into bed. But I cannot! Not with this going on! I want to be more informed so I can join you in doing something about all this.

Work You Dogs! said...

Reagan continues to be worshiped by the U.S. too his mean set of "guiding principles," MOSTLY...though they edit out Reagan's authentic belief that relying in Mutually Assured Destruction ("MAD") was suicidal. He was ignorant enough to pursue "Starwars" as a solution, but we should also remember his authentic service in trying to limit the possibility of nuclear war otherwise...or we should if we can manage to also remember he seemed more than a few times to all the same offer the real possibility of starting one.

Reagan's understanding of economics? Zip. Trickle down a cruel, one of his most cruel, jokes. I think most of us now realize at least that much about his failed policies.

It's now fashionable to credit the man with a lot more "cunning" than history has so far given him...what a stupid direction of travel that is! I've often wondered just where this venerating impulse towards a man of such criminal conduct comes from (remember Iran/Contra?), and I've always found the same answer...THE MEDIA. He's still selling for these people...and he's selling many of the same, maybe all of the same, bad ideas and policies he fronted as President.

Do you remember the phrase "LET REAGAN BE REAGAN!!" from those bad old days? I think it's important to understand the mistakes, most especially the broad public sympathy enjoyed by Reagan. And too the militarism and the incredible over-sizing of the military under Reagan. All that misspent public money was stolen from projects that might have stood us in good steed right now. You can name any number of such projects quite easily yourself I do hope.

Ronald Reagan was a reactionary and, to a contemptible degree, a fool. A PR hack raised to the highest office of our public government. To understand his performance as such, it is important to remember his corporate ties...selling light bulbs for G.E., selling Twenty-Mule-Team Borax, selling racism and other forms of hate to the people of California to become Governor, etc.

A man to despise from a time when our country took a very wrong direction. Instead of spending the intervening time to recover, we've mostly kept going towards "Death Valley." There has been and there will be hell to pay for this mistake.