Kill Bill: Steven’s Commerce Committee Posts “Tube” (I mean Telecom) Bill

Here’s an example of the narrow-minded, telecom lobbyist written, communications policies that undermine the development of a U.S. democratic media system in the digital era. Congress–as usual–doesn’t really want to acknowledge why the cable and telephone industry are so afraid of the Internet as we now know it (real competition for ideas and commercial advantage). Leaders such as Sen. Stevens have their heads in the digital sands. By letting a few narrow (but powerful) interests–such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner–dominate the distribution of digital media, Stevens/Joe Barton and company are undermining both democratic discourse and competition.
This is the marked-up bill passed by Senate Commerce. It should be called the “Telephone & Cable Monopoly Giveaway and Anti Consumer/Community Act of 2006.” We will be back soon with a full analysis. But it’s revealing that the U.S. public is treated as “subscribers” or “consumers”–not as citizens and others deserving a broad and expanded set of rights.
http:// www.

PS: The Stevens Committee also released–and then pulled, we were told–a “brochure” promoting its bill. Sen. Stevens apparently feels desperate that his bill–and lack of understanding about how the Internet works–was getting so much bad press. I guess he–and his aides–don’t know much about PR either. Here’s the brochure.

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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