Tales of The Sausage Factory: CBS caves again for Bush

For those of you haven’t followed, Bush and the Republican leadership fought off an broad attempt by Congress to roll back the national television ownership cap to 35%. The compromise was to freeze the limit at 39%, which means that Viacom (parent of CBS) and News Corp. (parent of Fox) don’t have to sell off any stations. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) says that CBS has paid the administration back for this favor by refusing to sell time to an anti-bush ad on the Superbowl.

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Fileswapping: A coda

just a brief coda on my predictions for file swapping. According to The Washington Post, fileswapping is up again in October and November after declining steadily from June to September. I note that coincides somewhat with the college year, if new students get oriented in August/Sept., get a taste of broadband, and start fileswapping. that last is just speculatiuon on my part.

Stay tuned . . . .

Tales of the Sausage Factory: More Than A Toaster With Pictures

My colleague Cheryl Leanza and I wrote an article for the American Bar Association Communications section defending media ownership limits and explaining why the old rules should be retained. It’s written with lawyers as the target audience, but we think we put it in English. It is available here.

Stay tuned . . . .

Tales of the Sausage Factory: I Am Now on the Sh–list of the Wall St. J. Editorial Board. Go me!

Well, actually my boss, Andrew Jay schwartzman, and my organization, Media Access Project. But since MAP has only three attorneys and one admin staffer, I think I’m entitled to crow a bit.

The WSJ is a pay site, so I can’t provide a link. And copyright prevents me from reprinting the editorial — which appeared in the print addition of the WSJ on Dec. 30, 2003.

But to see my more detailed comments, see below.

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Read Bernard Lewis — When He Goes On Sale

Bernard Lewis has two books out this holiday season: “What Went Wrong?” and “The Crisis of Islam.” WWW was written before 9/11 and published just after, but has been rereleased to take advantage of the surge of interest in the Middle East.

Lewis’ work is interesting and insightful, but overpriced. Especially since much of what he says can be found in various articles over the last 15 years and available via Google. So I recommend the books, but only when they go on sale after the holidays.

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Tales of the Sausage Factory: Golden Globes, former presidents and media ownership

The Reagans, the miniseries originally created by CBS and then moved to Showtime, has been nominated for two Golden Globe Awards. Not bad for a series that CBS dumped to its sister property Showtime on the grounds that it didn’t have enough balance to air on broadcast TV. But was moving the Reagans off broadcast an artistic decision, or a financial decision by Viacom to curry political favor at a critical time.

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A good week for civil liberties — mostly

Three opinions came out last week that made a nice little Chanukah gift for civil liberties buffs. Two related to Ashcroft’s attempts to circumvent the Constitution in the name fo security, one cuts short the RIAA’s efforts to gut the Constitution in the name of copyright. But the opinions still leave a lot of room for concern.

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