Once again, guns are in the news.  We talked last week about the latest black kid shot by a white man in Florida, with the shooter claiming a “Stand Your Ground” defense eventhough the kid – Jordan Davis – was doing nothing more threatening than sitting in the back seat of an SUV that was blaring loud music.  This weekend brought the headlines of a professional football player shooting this girlfriend – the mother of their 3 month old baby – to death, then killing himself.

Kudos to Bob Costas who used his influential perch on a national NFL broadcast to speak out against the gun violence:

Good for him and good for Mike Lupica of the NY Daily News for weighing in too, knowing that the gun nuts will attack.

The part of the Lupica piece that the unintentionally comedic morning crew at Fox should read is this:

But we do know this: Murdering this young woman, 22, and then killing himself in front of his coach and his general manager was made easy by a gun, because a gun always makes it easier.

You see, the wingnuts at Fox took issue with Costas quoting Kansas City-based writer Jason Whitlock as saying

“But here is what I believe. If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today.”


To quote Kurt Vonnegut, so it goes…

While the rising trend of gun violence is ever more disturbing, the renewed efforts to organize workers in encouraging.  On Thursday morning, we talked about the surprise strike of NYC’s fast food workers.  This morning, I spoke with independent journalist Sarah Jaffee, the only journalist who was privy to the ongoing planning leading up to Thursday’s action.  She wrote about it in a piece for The Atlantic Thursday morning, and added lots of coverage of the actual strike on her tumblr page.

It was a great conversation about the plight of these responsible citizens and their rights to work for a living wage.

After a news update from TRNS and a little fun at Grover Norquist’s expense, we turned once again to talk radio.  Sue Wilson is the founder of the Media Action Center and the filmmaker behind Broadcast Blues.  She’s been “Putting the Public Back into Broadcasters’ “Public Interest Obligations”” for as long as I’ve known her.

Last month, Wilson filed legal challenges with the FCC to deny the renewal of broadcast licenses to two Milwaukee-based radio stations.

MAC said it conducted a comprehensive study in May/June of 2012 – during the Scott Walker recall campaign – which clearly showed the two stations each gave supporters of Gov. Walker and the GOP about 80 minutes of free airtime daily on their local talk radio shows, while refusing any access to supporters of Mayor Tom Barrett and Democrats whatsoever.

In total, the two stations subsidized the Walker campaign with an estimated $1 million dollars in airtime.  The study documents that WISN and WTMJ hosts and guests not only exclusively promoted GOP candidates, but actively recruited volunteers for GOP campaigns over the publicly-owned airwaves, while refusing to provide any free airtime for the other side.
This, the challenge asserts, amounts to private censorship, which violates the First Amendment rights of those in the community who are denied access to the scarce publicly owned airwaves during campaigns.  It further states the stations willfully have violated existing FCC rules about comparable time, citing legal opinions from the Wisconsin Broadcasters’ Association.
“Broadcast stations have a unique duty to serve the entire public, especially during campaigns,” explains MAC director Sue Wilson.  “When a radio station uses its giant microphones to cheerlead for candidates of only one political party, no matter which political party it may be, it violates the First Amendment rights and public trust of the entire community.
Wilson cited the scarcely known Zapple Doctrine, or the “quasi-equal opportunities” rule.  The FCC was to have ruled on this matter by Dec. 1.  However, in a not-surprising turn of events,  the FCC apparently “misplaced”  Wilson’s complaints.
 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) apparently has “lost” legal petitions filed to deny the licenses of Milwaukee radio stations WISN and WTMJ on November 1 for subsidizing the recall campaign of Gov. Scott Walker with about $1 million of free airtime while not allowing any supporters of his opponent Tom Barrett on the air.
The public interest group Media Action Center (MAC) was informed its license challenges will be delayed because the FCC cannot find the legal pleadings, even though the agency had signed a receipt accepting them earlier this month. The deadline for the FCC to respond was thought to be Dec. 1.
Sue Wilson, director of MAC, says it is only because reporters started calling the FCC asking questions about the license challenges that the problem came to light.  After sending Peter Doyle, Chief of the FCC Media Bureau’s Audio Division, proof that the Office of the Secretary of the FCC had indeed signed for the documents, Doyle asked that she resend the documents this week.
“Mr. Doyle is working with us to accommodate our filings, but it is clear the FCC is more geared for working with corporate lawyers than the very public it is sworn to protect,” said Wilson, who confirmed she carefully followed the instructions for filing Petitions to Deny on the FCC website.
Whose airwaves? The public airwaves.  Yeah, right….