Posts from March 17, 2005



: How do you like that name for all this: Volksmedia?

Yesterday, I was reading a big story about citizens’ media in Focus, the German newsmagazine — about Flickr, blogs, and all that — and they translated the phemon into the german as Volksmedien.

I like that. It has a funky, retro, populist, Volkswagen feel, of course, with that buggy attitude. NYTimes Executive Editor Bill Keller complained that “citizens’ media” — my moniker of choice, was a bit pretentious or at leas presumptuous. I don’t disagree. He proposed “people’s media,” but that seemed all too Internationale to me. I once called it “populist media,” but that brings too much baggage.

So how about volksmedia?

: LATER: Well, this one laid an egg, judging by the comments.

I’d be curious to hear German bloggers react to the reaction.

: NIGHTTIME UPDATE: Well, a couple of German bloggers don’t like the idea.

: Jim Treacher proposes “wedia.” [I was lazy and didn’t give him a link so here is a link, a very long link….]

The new national nanny: Another FOIA

The new national nanny: Another FOIA

: I filed a Freedom of Information Act request for correspondence from FCC commissioners to Brent Bozell, head of the so-called Parents Television Council. Here are excerpts from a letter to Bozell from Kevin Martin, the new chairmanof the FCC:

First, I want to thank the Parents Television Council and the many organization with which you are working for alling attention to the issue of indecency on our airwaves. I share your concern about the increasing courseness of the programming on television and radio.

The FCC plays an important role in protecting Americans — particularly children — from obscene and indecent material….”

It’s his right, but I’m uncomfortable with Martin thanking Bozell; it puts him on Bozells side; it encourages him.

I also have trouble with him saying that he is protecting adults, and not just children, from indecency.

Martin tells Bozell he supported reducing the requirements for filing complaints (no longer requiring tapes or transcripts). And he pushes to count every utterance of an alleged indecency as a violation to pump up the fines: “Classifying each indecent utterance as a separate violation could result in significantly higher fines for many complaints.”

Nothing damning there, mostly echoes of Martin’s statements (see a complete list of them here).

: Among the other letters, there are a few interesting notes.

Commissioner Kathleen Abernathy sends what appears to be a form letter but then adds in her handwriting: “Happy Holidays. I’ll see you in the new year!” Almost sounds as if they socialize.

: LATER: Terry Heaton sends along a link to this good edwardpig analysis of Martin’s relationship with Bozell:

Martin worked for Ken Starr during the witch hunt against Clinton, and when the Florida fix was in danger of falling apart in 2000, “Martin left for Miami so quickly he didn’t pack a bag. Working round the clock, he could be seen on TV peering over ballot counters.”

The possibility of having a Bush rubber stamp in the position of FCC chair is bad enough. What’s worse is that Bush’s primary motivation for naming Martin is to throw a bone to the cultural conservatives. Specifically, Brent Bozell, the head of both the Media Research Center (MRC) and the Parents Television Council (PTC), strongly endorses Martin for the post….

But the fact is that Bozell, for all of his conflicts and sleaze, is about to wield considerable power at the FCC. Not only do PTC members account for 99.8% of the complaints filed with the FCC in the past year, Martin seems favorably disposed to heed those complaints and act on them in a big way. Furthermore, Martin does not appear to be content with simply regulating broadcast television. He has suggested that he’d like to explore broadening FCC authority to regulate satellite and cable TV as well.