Friday, November 09, 2007

The cable bill

AT&T won its battle in the Senate and the world won't stop turning.

Whether we have one supplier of hundreds of channels of schlock or two suppliers of hundreds of channels of schlock is not the vital question of our time. AT&T's win means there very likely will be two, as the Assembly is almost sure to ratify the Senate vote.

Yup, there are flaws in the bill. (And the boxes AT&T has planted around town to support its U-verse service are an environmental and aesthetic insult to us all. If this is how AT&T is going to treat its customers, they are in real trouble.)

The whole issue, though, is not even a pixel in the big picture of big media / telecom scary stuff. If you want to worry about AT&T, worry about its slavish devotion to the Bush Administration, its willing participation in illegal wiretapping, and the Bushies' efforts to see that AT&T and other telcos go unpunished for their crimes.

If you want to worry about the media landscape in general, worry about Federal Communications Commission Chariman Kevin Martin's rush to allow further media cross ownership and consolidation. Cross ownership occurs when a single company owns a newspaper and radio or television station in the same market.

If you think that the loss of public access cable television stations would homogenize media too much in Milwaukee, Martin's proposal -- ignored in the Milwaukee media market dominated by cross-owning Journal Communications-- would increase that threat exponentially.

The real danger of allowing AT&T into town is that U-verse will provide just one more eye-glazing opportunity to watch Leave it to Beaver reruns for the 700th time instead of engaging in and protecting our communities and civic lives.

1 comment:

John Foust said...

Long ago I predicted that ATT will eventually push for national legislation that will supercede all the state laws they've bought.