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Free Speech vs. Public Interest: FCC Complaint Against WI Talk Radio Looms Large for Hannity and Limbaugh

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Gustav Wynn       (Page 3 of 3 pages) Become a premium member to see this article and all articles as one long page.     Permalink

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But it's even more entangled. From it's earliest days, News Corp also had incredible help from Wall Street. In the "Black Monday" stock market crash of 1990, News Corp survived by getting extra-awesome sweetheart terms from banks who held off collecting about $7 billion in debt.

Murdoch, known for bartering free publicity for favors became a shill for Wall Street, blurring the line between news and planted PR over the years.

Another myth is that liberal shows are not popular: if you want to call NPR's All Things Considered and Morning Edition liberal, it's had ratings comparable to Limbaugh and Hannity for years and years, blasting their "free market" argument to bits.

In fact, the problem with Air America may have been that they relied on corporate America for advertising while NPR is largely listener-supported. How can you expect corporate sponsors to line up if you are reporting on the corrupting influence of industry money in politics?

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Former Air America host Rachel Maddow is an example of this. Now the anchor of the MSNBC franchise, her show features paid commercials that promote everything from high-fructose corn syrup to hydrofracking. This proves that sponsors will spend millions on liberal shows, every night.

Does Romney Own Limbaugh and Hannity?

Next we have Bain Capital. As part owner of Clear Channel the syndicator of Limbaugh, Hannity and the other big talk hosts, it's no wonder they all favor Mitt Romney, Bain's co-founder who still collects millions every year from Bain in a retirement package.

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Bain is a major shareholder in the Clear Channel media behemoth, but Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and RBS are also investors, meaning it's in talk radio's interest to broadcast from the capitalist/corporatist point of view and shut down criticism during a crucial election period.

Ironically, Bain and it's partners even plundered Clear Channel. When Bain and it's partners acquired Clear Channel in July 2008, they loaded it with unsustainable debt, making it a $20 billion dollar time bomb. By January of 2009, the company laid off 9% of the total workforce, almost 2,000 employees to boost  interest payments to investors. Last October, hundreds more DJs and staff were fired to further cut costs.

Hannity and Limbaugh don't seem to mind that their company had it's assets raided, because they are paid for their political impact, not their profitability. Clear Channel's profit centers are big market music stations, while 38-station affiliates like Cumulus lose millions on the Rush Limbaugh Show. 

The programs we watch and hear are the result of decades of media consolidation and industry lobbying, reducing competitiveness, localization and diversity in a highly manipulated marketplace. This is not about the defunct Fairness Doctrine or censorship, this is about the rights of citizens to challenge and rebut lies, distortions and manipulations made over public US airwaves. Are we for or against propaganda?

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(OpEdNews Contributing Editor since October 2006) Inner city schoolteacher from New York, mostly covering media manipulation. I put election/finance reform ahead of all issues but also advocate for fiscal conservatism, ethics in journalism and (more...)
 

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