Lobbying Frenzy over our Broadband/Media Future

The National Journal has published a list of media and communications-related lobbying registrations from July ’05 to March 16, 2006. It’s a useful reminder that hundreds of millions at least are being spent to buy favorable telecommunications legislation (or to prevent any real safeguards such as net neutrality that would open up monopolies to diversity and competition). Rupert Murdoch’s DirecTV satellite service has hired Greenberg Traurig to work on “media mergers.” Murdoch’s News Corp is also using Park Strategies Washington Group. The NAB has Venn Strategies. Microsoft is using the Stanton Park Group. Comcast is throwing its captive subscribers money around by hiring a bevy of firms: Arent Fox, Buchanan Ingersoll, Velasquez & Lausell (a firm specializing in “minority” outreach), the Nickles Group, and Plaster & Associates. But since Comcast wants to ensure it can have an unfettered “quadruple play”–voice, video, data, and wireless–perhaps it makes sense it has hired so many firms.
This is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Our Congress is bought and sold like pork bellies. But the list is a useful reminder of the corrupt nature of communications policy-making in the U.S. The corporate media’s money and power distorts the debate–so there really isn’t any serious discussion about policies to protect and serve the average American.

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