A congressman on media deregulation

I used MoveOn to contact my congressman, Jay Inslee, about the pending media deregulation. He contacted me back:

Thank you for contacting me about the proposed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations regarding further deregulation of the ownership rules for media companies.  I appreciate hearing from you.

Like you, I believe that the airwaves belong to the American people, and I share your concerns about the end result of the FCC’s most recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.  It is important to maintain the diversity of information sources so that the public interest can best be served. 

I have joined with several of my colleagues in leading the fight in Congress to prevent the FCC from allowing this rule change to go through.  Recently I sent a letter to my colleagues in Congress alerting them to the potential negative effects of the deregulation.  I also testified against the rule at the FCC hearing in Seattle held in March, and I wrote an editorial published in the Seattle Times that further expressed the dangers that further media consolidation pose to our system of free press and American democracy.  I have attached the editorial below for your review.

As you may know, in the FCC’s 2002 Biennial Review there are four major rules being considered for possible relaxation:

  1. Broadcast-newspaper cross-ownership rule: This prohibits the daily newspaper and a broadcast TV station from being owned by the same company within the same market.
  2. Local TV multiple ownership rule and the radio/TV cross-ownership rule: These rules limit somewhat the number of stations that any one entity can own in a single community.
  3. National TV ownership rule: This policy limits the number of TV stations a single company can own. The current limit prohibits a company from controlling stations that collectively reach 35 percent of all TV households.
  4. Dual Network Rule: This policy prevents one of the four major networks-ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox-from buying another network.

Please be assured I will be monitoring the FCC’s decisions closely.  I hope you will continue to contact me about the issues that concern you, as I both need and welcome your thoughts and ideas.  I encourage you to contact me via email, telephone, or fax, because security measures are causing House offices to experience delays in receiving postal mail.  My email address is: Jay.Inslee@mail.house.gov.  Please be sure to include your full name, address, including your zip code, in your message.  If you are a resident of the First Congressional District and would like to receive policy updates and newsletters via email, please email me to let me know.

Very Truly Yours,

Member of Congress

The email included the content of Inslee’s editorial in the Seattle Times, which, as the paper notes in its archives, contains a factual error but is otherwise on the money.

So what has your representative done about the FCC action?

Only in my world…

…could a weekend that consisted of a ferry ride to an exclusive exotic plant nursery that only opens one day a year, mild food poisoning, a concert featuring one of the most difficult and rewarding pieces by an American composer in the twentieth century, and a leisurely Sunday evening of grilling, with WiFi on the side, be considered normal.

Welcome to my world.

I rehearsed until I could hardly stand straight on Friday for my Saturday concert with the Cascadian Chorale. As I’ve written before, the Copland is a humdinger and continued to be so this weekend. However, on Friday I came to appreciate the quality of our guest group, a high school chorus from Inglemoor High on the North Shore. More on them in a moment.

Saturday morning I awoke with a vague sense of promise which was fulfilled in a way I didn’t expect, as Lisa mentioned there was an exclusive nursery that only opened for two days every year. Would I mind going? As I prepared to say “Sure,” she said, “And it’s near Kingston.” Kingston? I wondered. “You get there by ferry,” she said.

Gulp. I looked at my watch. 11 am. I had to be in tux and at the church for our concert by 6. Probably could make it.

We drove to Seattle and hopped the ferry to Bainbridge Island, and motored up across the pass onto the Kitsap Peninsula, where we followed the long string of cars to Heronswood Nursery. Wow. Plants from all over the world in woodland garden settings. After agonizing deliberation, Lisa picked a few flowering grasses and a Daphne seedling and we took the Kingston/Edmonds ferry home. Somewhere in all of this I was famished and had a McDonalds chicken sandwich, and began to feel awfully ill about halfway across on the ferry ride back. (Go on, McDonalds, sue me like you did Italian “slow food” critic Edoardo Raspelli who called your hamburgers “cardboard.” I’d be proud to be in that company.) I spent the time between getting home and donning my tux alternately prostrate and frantically dashing to the restroom. But don my tux I did, once I was convinced that my legs would bear my weight, and after grabbing a handful of crackers drove to the concert.

And was blown away by the choir from Inglemoor, who bettered most college choirs that I’ve seen. They were so amazingly good, singing complex modern and polyphonic pieces from memory and pitch perfect, that they inspired us to an astonishing performance of the Copland. Considering that my first performance of In the Beginning went into the muddy acoustic of the Washington National Cathedral, my perspective may be a bit tainted. But we gave the piece a better performance than I’ve ever heard, live or in recordings. The Rachmaninoff “Bogoroditse Devo” and even the Fauré Requiem suffered, but only by comparison; both were great performances. And I managed to stay on my feet the whole time. A victory.

And the grilling with WiFi? All I can say is, you can take the network away from the boy, but you can’t take the boy away from the network…at least, not when it’s wireless. Or something.