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They all see the kettle

They all see the kettle

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Published by Edward Coll
Deluded producers come to the defense of government controlled public TV access entities.
Deluded producers come to the defense of government controlled public TV access entities.

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Published by: Edward Coll on Apr 29, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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They all see the kettle yet none dare call it black 
The four hostages in Kreditbankenrobbery sympathized with their captor 
Kauai, Hawaii March 18, 2007 -
Yesterday I attended theHawaii People's Fund Media Justice Conference  at Kapi`olani Community College in Honolulu Hawaii. The major topic and concern for attendees was the threat of media concentration to democracy. Hawaii media activists, academics, and pioneers who are andhave been at the forefront of a very select group of individuals that have some understanding of the primaryand fundamental connection between mass media, the diversity of ideas, and democracy were in attendanceas participants, presenters and panelists. Chris Conybeare's "Media and the Struggle for Democracy" presentation made it clear to those that had any lingering doubts that the media monopoly predicted byBagdikianhad come home to roost. Sean McLaughlin localized the problem by answering the question "Whoowns Hawaii? Answer: Time Warner.I thought to myself, "living in a free market version of a North Korean style state media monopoly is a badthing."Everyone seemed to think diversity was a good thing. Jay April Akaku's CEO stressed that this diversityincluded, "ideas in conflict" as a panelist in the workshop "REAL Public Access: Do we Have It?"Real public access do we have it? "No!" I thought to myself. We have sole-sourced, state created and DCCACable Television Division controlled non-profits pretending to provide free speech in the form of first-come,nondiscriminatory access. In reality these PEGs historically have been proxies functioning as a cabal to slushresources and services back to government (including education)."Combining Public, Education, and Government services and resources under one PEG roof allows internalshuffling of resources and services back to government and away from the public producer. Of course thesePEGs do provide de-minimus services to chosen public producer/presenters and favored nonprofits recipientswith the crumbs swept from the multi-million dollar banquet table funded through state mandated cablesubscriber monies. These favored public producers are not selected on a first-come, nondiscriminatory basis, but through a filtration process articulated by Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky in their classic book "Manufacturing Consent".
The current PEG's differential treatment of public producers into "worthy and unworthy" has an odd side-effect. The chosen served suffer a Stockholm-like syndromeand become allied with and apologists for there  providers (and captors). The few franchised to speak cannot hear their voiceless disenfranchised cousins.They become blind to the disenfranchisement of "unworthy" producers and adopt an attitude best expressedin the words of Native Hawaiian activist Kekuni Blaidsdell, "If someone is a victim - blame them."On the same panel with McLaughlin and April was Larry Geller, a public presenter, and Ruth Hsu a public/producer, and Meredith Nichols `Olelo's outreach coordinator. Akaku under McLaughlin and with thesupport of some board members (including April)tried to remove majority board appointment authority fromthe director of DCCAand assume that authority themselves. DCCA Cable Television Division reacted to thischallenge to state control through a series of punitive actions including massive funding cuts, the exile of Mclaughlin, and a demand to reinstate board appointment authority to the director of DCCA.
Ironically now the Director of DCCA (soon to be Judge Recktenwald) has reversed himself and isnow demanding all the non-profits remove the DCCA director appointment authority from their bylaws, andappoint their own boards!What Akaku was punished for  is now a government demand that presumptive  "private" nonprofit corporations change their bylaws.While Akaku was engaged in it's intercine battle among it's own board and DCCA's Cable TelevisionDivision the other PEGs (`Olelo, Ho`ike, and Naleo) stood quietly and nervously in the shadows, on thesidelines watchingtheir pugnacious Maui cousin take a brutal beating at the hands of the government.This all changed and the other PEGS and their chosen "worthy" public producers came out of their "like-say-nothing" hiding when an opinion (not released to the public), requested by DCCA from the State AttorneyGeneral found the Cable Television Division had engaged in a multi-year violation of state procurement law by not going through the Request for Proposal (RFP) competitive bidding process. This claim of procurementlaw violation by DCCA had been asserted by disenfranchised nonprofits (including CMPA) and public producers for years but DCCA failed to respond. Now as political response to the uppity Akaku, correcting this egregious violation of procurement law became DCCA job number one. Instead of the Cable Television Division just giving the money to thenonprofits they created and control, the rebellious and battered Akaku, `Olelo, Ho`ike, and Naleo suddenlysaw all their food bowls in jeopardy. They would now have to compete with other nonprofits (real nonprofitsin the sense these nonprofits are not created, funded, or have their board majority appointed by thegovernment). The PEG selected "worthy" public presenter/producers sensed their privileged access andservices were also under attack and mobilized to save the state created and controlled PEGS fromcompetition from other real non-profits.This poses a paradox for social justice media activists who favor competition, are opposed to mediaconcentration, and value the diversity of free speech, but apparently support a sole source exemption from procurement law for the government created and controlled non-profits. Strange bed fellows indeed when progressive media activists find themselves in a position of supporting state created and controlled PEGentities' right to sole sourced contracts.Everyone seemed to agree that DCCA's Cable Television Division (CATV
) needed to be audited, somethingCMPA and other activists had advocated for for years with zero support from the PEGs themselves.However, now public producers chosen by the PEGs as "worthy" recipients of access services, and evensome PEG administrators, are in accord with the disenfranchised public producers in their call to audit theCable Television Division. CMPA agrees, but unlike our "worthy" franchised public producer cousins, arenot suffering fromStockholm Syndromeand do not support a sole-sourced exemption for the current statecreated and controlled PEG service providers.CMPA agrees with Geller, April, and Hsu's concerns that the RFP process as currently constructed is unfair 

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