Despite what I heard as sincere intent stated by Federal Communications Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein on June 28, the FCC’s hearing in Portland was a travesty, cynically perpetrated by commercial media and unwitting supporters, with free speech reserved only for themselves.
My wife and I drove nearly two hours to attend the public comment session on “Localism” in media, (the only such session held in New England) wanting to comment on how we were being served by local media. We signed up for public comment and found that we were 95th on the list.
We then endured hours of two-minute commercials by paid representatives from commercial media and many needy groups eager to ensure continued free air time for announcements and publicity.
The harangue was only rarely punctuated by independent media and most rarely by plain folks. We had to leave while No. 68 spoke. The public was effectively shut out from what was supposed to be a chance to speak.
We heard later that sign-up lines started in the early afternoon, hardly convenient for working folks, those who drove long distances, or those as nave about the process as me.
The public were poorly served that night, an absolutely perfect example of the urgent need for a broad range of independent, reliable sources for our vital information.
The FCC must take measures to guarantee that the public is heard and heeded.
Seabury Lyon, Bethel