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Moyers Rages Against the Machine

Media-reform activist Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, was bicycling a TV listing Tuesday, pointing out that PBS' Bill Moyers will exit his Now with Bill Moyers series after three years Dec. 17 with another show on the effects of media consolidation, in this case the view that it has become a Republican media machine.

According to the listing, the program looks at "how conservatives exploited the demise of the fairness doctrine to produce a vast echo chamber that is admittedly partisan
and powerfully successful."

The doctrine, which was scrapped in 1987, "forced" or "required" (the language depends on which side you take) broadcasters to air opposing viewpoints on controversial issues.

Moyers has covered the media merger topic on several shows, including a February 2004 installment in which Rep. Tom Osbourne (R-Neb.) called for the House to roll back the FCC's deregulatory rewrite of media-ownership rules. A court has since stayed those rules, a challenge to which is about to be lodged with the Supreme Court.

Moyers is an unalloyed opponent of media consolidation, even delivering the keynote speech at a National Conference on Media Reform in Madison, Wis., a year ago in which he rallied the troops to fight against consolidation and called the battle against deregulation a "struggle for the soul of Democracy."