January 21, 2007

Escalating the Progressive Offensive

There's some truth to the saying that "The best defense is a good offense." The progressives in the US have been on the defensive for quite some time, perhaps including the Clinton years.

Those years were dominated by the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) Republican Lite orientation. One of their views is that corporate globalization is inevitable, a view that is crumbling under the weight of reality. That period yielded the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which among other things, undermined our sovereignty via NAFTA's Chapter 11. That period also gave us the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which led to the strong consolidation of radio stations, and the grip of right-wing talk radio.

This kind of overt damage done to progressive ideals during the Clinton Administration was enabled, in part, by a complacent public. The thinking was, "Our people are in control now, so we can relax." In other words, the only time the progressive public needs to be active is when "the other guys" are in power, and we need to defend our ideals. If nothing else, the Clinton Administration should have taught progressives a lesson: We need to be on the offense at all times.

Sometimes, it's nearly impossible to be on the offensive. Faced with a multi-front offensive by the Bush administration, it's about all we can do to defend attacks. However, even in these circumstances it is possible to take offensive measures, even if it is only to launch legal investigations into cronyism.

Now that the Democratic Party has taken control of the House and Senate, it is time to escalate offensive actions. One example consistently comes to mind. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering new regulations on media ownership. The debate is framed as, "Should we allow a single corporation to own more media outlets in a local area or not?" Instead, we should go on the offensive and reframe the debate, "Should we reduce the number of outlets that a single media corporation may own in a single market?"

There is ample quantitative evidence, some of which the FCC tried to suppress, which shows that the media consolidation following the 1996 Telecom Act resulted in a degradation of diversity in news and entertainment.

2 comments:

Quipper said...

I believe globalization has hurt our media immensely. In chasing the almighty dollar, the "U.S. media" no longer exists. Instead, the media now must remain bland at best, and non-American at worst, in order to improve it's bottom line.

Where would the American media be if it did not globalize? Would it be any more frank with the American public? I think it would.

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