I just discovered a great page put together by Pacifica Radio, covering some of the Nov 30 , 2007 FCC testimony in Seattle. Check this out!
Roughly 150 people testified in front of FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioners Robert McDowell, Jonathan Adelstein and Michael Copps, as well as over 1000 attendees to the Hearing on media consolidation at Town Hall last night.
For my two minutes, I took the mic off the mic stand and jumped up onstage.
Here is what the Northwest Progressive Institute liveblogger wrote about me:
One speaker, who I believe was from the local screen actors’ guild, jumped off on stage and addressed the commissioners directly, reminding Kevin Martin that George W. Bush leaves office in 2009 and his days are numbered, but that he still had a responsibility to serve the public, and that one of the ways to do so would be to ensure the public’s access to the 700 mhz wireless spectrum that is supposed to be auctioned off beginning this January.
At the end of my testimony, I walked across the stage and shook Kevin Martin’s (soft) hand. Soon after the head of the Media Bureau asked me to come backstage to have a word with Martin. Backstage he told me he was glad to hear me thinking of the future, and said: “You’re right.” He was referring to my testimony about the 700mhz spectrum auction. He said he hoped to hear me cheering them as loud as tonight when they do the right thing. Monica, the media bureau chief emailed me a few minutes later, CC’ing the chairman, thanking me for speaking with them.
I’m very proud of Bryan, Luc, Steve and all my other friends and allies who spoke up in front of the Feds. -GD November 2007
Reclaim the Media has tons of media from the 2007 Seattle FCC hearing.
OK, now back to my efforts opposing the Bush administration’s communications policies.
Freedom of speech and freedom of the press in America are protected by the Bill of Rights. Americans have a fundamental right to redress grievances with the federal government.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is tasked with regulating our airwaves in the public interest. I believe the FCC should always strive to gather public testimony, study reliable academic and professional research and regulate transparently based on real input. Former FCC chair Michael Powell said infamously at a scripted convention speech in 1998 that the night after he was sworn in as a commissioner at the FCC he waited throughout the night for “the angel of the public interest” to visit him. “I waited all night, but she did not come.”
The studies commissioned during the Bush Administration, first under chairman Powell and now under chairman Martin, have been ignored when legislative action could expand Low-Power community radio FM service and suppressed when news coverage could expose the Republican leadership’s nefarious agenda. (To give chairman Martin some credit, this year he commissioned studies he knew he would like. Those haven’t been covered up.)
Given the state of the studies and the response to reports, and considering the FCC’s practice of privately notifying favored lobbyists of rules and hearings, it is fundamental that Americans seize our opportunities to testify in front of the FCC commissioners, their staff, the media and the public, whenever we can get an opportunity.
Back in 2003 I first witnessed public testimony in front of real, live FCC commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein in Seattle. Reclaim the Media led the charge with a coalition of west coast activists dedicated to making better media. The event was not sanctioned by then-chairman Michael Powell, because he was not interested in promising to listen to most folks other than lobbyists.
In 2004, I was removed from the official FCC Hearing in San Antonio for shouting “that is not acceptable” in response to then-chairman Michael Powell. Staged at City Hall downtown, the event was facilitated by the full FCC staff and covered– kind of– by local commercial television. Despite the obvious implications, the FCC provided no Spanish translation for their own event’s captions. This was supposed to be a localism and diversity hearing in the city with America’s fastest growing Latino population.
When Spanish speakers testified about the disrespect shown diverse viewpoints at the FCC, the caption title simply read: “Speaking in Spanish.” Powell had just announced he would not listen to all our testimony. After my outburst and ejection, complete with another Hall-filling cry, “I’ve been here since 5 a.m.” everybody was aloud to testify after all.
Whether or not the Republicans in control of our nation’s communications regulations listen to us, we need to write bravely, speak passionately and demand justice. In the name of the public airwaves!!!