In this interview, Mathison compares today's digital media renaissance with previous pivotal periods in human history, such as the Axial Age (800-200 BC), the Carolingian Renaissance (800-900 AD), and the European Renaissance (1400-1700 AD).
The purpose of the meeting is to "involve the public in the process of the 2006 Quadrennial Broadcast Media Ownership Review," although the Republican-dominated FCC GAVE THE PUBLIC ONLY 5 DAYS NOTICE... What's the hurry? Republican FCC Chair Kevin Martin is trying to fast-track the process that will allow big media companies to get even bigger. That is Mr Martin pictured above in the July 2006 edition of Details magazine, literally in bed with a telecom lobbyist while a radio industry executive stands nearby.
You can't make this stuff up!
According to FreePress.net co-founder and Executive Director Josh Silver, "Seven years ago, Martin was a 33 year-old GOP attorney sent by team Bush to lead the Florida recount. His wife is a former senior counselor to Vice President Cheney, and now serves as a deputy assistant to President Bush."
But mega-media lovers aren't limited to Republicans. After all, the 1996 Telecommunications Act was passed with Clinton/Gore in the White House. That Act eliminated long-standing limits on the number of TV and radio stations one company could own. A buying binge ensued, with companies such as Clear Channel gobbling up over a thousand radio stations, destroying localism and diversity on the airwaves.
Party affiliation is not the problem. The bigger issue is the corporate takeover of our publicly owned airwaves. This starts with the incestuous sleepovers between big media conglomerates, their lobbyists, "regulators" like FCC Chairman Martin, and our representatives in Congress.
What can YOU do? For one, you can tell FCC Chairman Kevin Martin that he should not be having pajama parties with the companies he is supposed to be regulating!
Seriously, Martin wants to let newspapers buy radio and TV stations in the cities where they are published. A current regulation bars companies from owning a daily newspaper and TV or radio station in the same market.
Martin has set a deadline of December 11 for public comments, with the FCC likely to vote a week later on December 18. You can file a comment with the FCC online here. Select "Media Ownership Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking - Docket 06-121," and click "Continue" at the bottom of the page.
On October 27, I participated in "Daily Acts for Balanced Living: Exploring Solutions for Restoring Ourselves and our Communities," facilitated by Professor Kenn Burrows of San Francisco State University.
"Open Space is a social organizing tool that catalyzes transformative education and supports a community finding itself, helping the energy and wisdom of a group emerge. Participants gather around a topic and create breakout sessions about whatever they personally love, or feel most urgently about."
It was also an Orangeband event, which explores the power of meaningful conversations. They encourage fostering a shift from "I" to "We" in our attitudes and actions, by taking a greater role in our democracy, and recognizing personal responsibility for these issues.
Why conversation? According to Orangeband:
It allows people to connect with one another, building community
Change begins with people talking about what they care about
No hype, nothing to sell. Just honest, open conversation
They seek to create pro-active and non-partisan conversations, with all points of view welcomed
Discussion is about topics that matter to the group and individual
An anti-dote to isolation from each other and growing disconnection between our government, the people, and common issues
We reflected on and discussed the biggest challenges facing humanity, how to restore balance to our everyday lives, how personal, cultural, and environmental addictions add to imbalance, and what it takes to live a balanced and meaningful life.
Thanks to all the professors, students, and fellow travelers who participated in this powerful event - I left with much more than I brought!