Jewish World Review June 5, 2003 / 5 Sivan, 5763

Joe Scarborough

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The way we get our news has been altered forever | The bureaucrats in Washington have spoken, and if they have their way, free speech is going to be bought and owned by a few multinational corporations.

THE FCC VOTED 3-2 to allow multinational conglomerates to consolidate their power to suck up any and all competitors that stand between them and a monopoly. The media giants, like the one I work for at NBC, think this is a good thing. So do a lot of my Republican friends in Congress, who support this proposal in the name of the free market.

But they're both dead wrong. Here's why: Right now, anyone who has ever run for Congress knows that the most powerful force in local politics is your hometown newspaper. In my case, and in the case of most Republican Congressmen, that paper belonged to a giant corporation that loathed conservative politicians. So what's a conservative to do? Read another paper? Sorry! Except for New York and a few other municipalities, most daily newspapers are monopolies that have no viable competition.

So what's a conservative to do to have his voice heard? Well, I went to the local radio and TV stations, which had different political points of view. But because of today's FCC decision, the multinational corporation that has a monopoly on the local newspaper market can also grab a monopoly in the TV and radio market, too.

That means that one media goliath will not only tell you what lousy songs you have to hear, they will also decide what political candidate's speech you get to watch on your local newscast.

This is frightening stuff that has nothing to do with national news, or what Rupert Murdoch has done with Fox News, or whether you will still hear conservative points of view on the national level. Instead, this will hit you hardest at home. And chances are very good that if the FCC has its way, your City Council and Congressional elections will be shaped by the editorial policies of a media giant in Manhattan, Paris or Berlin.

The fools on Capitol Hill who claim today's FCC decision promotes free enterprise are either too stupid to own a Congressional pin, or have already been bought off by the media giants who will one day crush them, like they are crushing their competition now.

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Unless the Senate steps in, the way we get our news has been altered forever.

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Former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) hosts “Scarborough Country,” 10 p.m. ET, weeknights on MSNBC. Comment by clicking here.

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