Week in Media Rewind

by Matthew L. Schafer

This week marked the continuation of the Comcast/NBCU merger review, continued pushback from BP public relations, and word that the National Security Agency (NSA) would work with the private sector to set up a cybersecurity/surveillance program eerily titled “Perfect Citizen.”

At the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing last Friday titled “Comcast and NBCU: Who Benefits?” representatives from EarthLink, Inc., Hip Hop On Demand, Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Inc., and Comcast and NBC Universal discussed the repercussions of the potential merger.  The hearing comes on the heels of next week’s FCC public hearing, which will also be in Chicago on Tuesday, the establishment of a new organization called The Coalition for Competition in Media to combat the merger, and word that the merger review will pass easily through the EU regulatory process.  The merger would create a media company worth $37 billion.

“Despite being a large market, Chicago is dominated by a handful of media companies,” Jesse Jackson said at the Friday hearing via submitted testimony. ” The proposed Comcast/NBC Universal merger will make this even worse. If this deal goes through, nearly a quarter of Chicago’s commercial cable channels in the most popular cable package will be owned by Comcast.”

The media saw further pushback this week from BP as the 65 feet restriction law saw it’s first full week of implementation.  Before the week began, the ACLU wrote letters to nine local sheriff’s offices reminding them to respect press access to the spill.

“No one–neither law enforcement nor a private corporation–has the legal right to interfere with the public access to public places or the recording of activities that occur there,” ACLU Executive Director Marjorie Esman wrote. “Nor may law enforcement officials cooperate with private companies in denying such access to the public.”

Finally this week, a Wall Street Journal article revealed that the NSA contracted the Raytheon Corporation to develop a program that would detect cyberattacks on domestic computer networks.  Neither the NSA or Raytheon would comment on the project to the Journal.

“The overall purpose of the [program] is our Government…feel[s] that they need to insure the Public Sector is doing all they can to secure Infrastructure critical to our National Security,” an internal Ratheon email said according to the Journal. “Perfect Citizen is Big Brother.”

Friday, July 9, 2010: A Loophole That’s Hurting Local Journalism

Thursday, July 8, 2010: Fact Checking by Newspaper is a “New Low” Politician Says

Wednesday, July 7, 2010: Comcast Faces Endemic Customer Service Problems on the Eve of Merger Reviews

Tuesday, July 6, 2010:  BP and the Government to Reporters: We’re Serious, Leave

Monday, July 5, 2010: Powerless Against Police: Recording Your Interaction with Police is a No No

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About Matthew L. Schafer

Matthew L. Schafer graduated from the University of Illinois in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Media Studies. He later attended Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication where he earned a Masters of Mass Communication and Georgetown University Law Center where he earned his J.D.
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