2004-06-20

Media $

Another day, another must-read article. This one's from Charles Lewis (a former 60 Minutes producer) of the Center for Public Integrity, written for the Columbia Journalism Review: Media Money, How Corporate Spending Blocked Political Ad Reform & Other Stories of Influence. A few snippets:
"No media corporation lavishes more money on lobbyists or political campaigns than Time Warner, Inc. The media giant spent nearly $4.1 million for lobbying last year, and since 1993 has contributed $4.6 million to congressional and presidential candidates and the two political parties. The second-heaviest media spender in Washington is the Walt Disney Co., Inc., which paid $3.3 million for lobbying and just under $4.1 million in political donations during the same period of time."

...

"Under current FCC rules, a single company is permitted to reach only 35 percent of the national audience through the stations it directly owns, preventing a handful of companies from owning all of the television stations in the country. With the CBS deal, Viacom went over the cap. To meet regulatory muster, Viacom will have to sell off some of its stations by May 2001. Within a week of the merger's announcement, Senate Commerce chairman McCain introduced a bill that would help Viacom skirt that requirement, raising the audience cap to 50 percent of the national audience. As noted in the Center for Public Integrity's book, The Buying of the President 2000, Viacom was McCain's fourth most generous "career patron."
While you're there, poke around CJR's site — there's some great material there.

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