Here’s a post from Mike Fitzsimmons of KXLY Spokane, WA regarding media cross-ownership. Dick Adams and I posted comments in Mike’s thread as this relates to the Cowles Co media domination in the Spokane Market.
Ron the Cop
I’m Mike Fitzsimmons with commentary on 920-KXLY…
The U.S. Senate voted without debate last week to invalidate the Federal Communications Commission’s decision last December to loosen the newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership rule. The move was led by Senate Democrat Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, and Washington Democrat Senator Maria Cantwell,who argued that media consolidation has already led to a lack of localism and diveristy, and any further loosening of rules is uncalled for. Senator Maria Cantwell charged that the FCC rule had been rushed through notwithsanding many dissenting views, and the FCC’s media-ownership-rule review was not sufficiently vetted by the public.
The long-standing ban on newspaper-broadcast cross-ownership was engineered with good reason. Too much influence over public opinion in any community is unhealthy, and in most U.S. communities, newspapers already have tremendous power to shape public viewpoints. We know firsthand in Spokane about what can happen. The River Park Square story in Spokane, was deliberately and unethically under-reported by the Spokesman Review and one television station in our community, to protect the family that owned the mall and the media outlets. Imagine what might have been possible had this local media powerhouse controlled many more sources. The public might not have learned about this fiasco at all.
In my judgment Congress has not gone far enough to protect unbiased truth from reaching the people. I would prefer to see the consolidation of media ownership restricted much more than merely prohibiting newspaper interests from gabbing broadcast properties. I’d like to see stricter limitations on all owners to a reasonable percentage of any broadcast market, never to exceed 25%. That isn’t going to happen, of course. Far too much would have to be undone to make that happen. Still, at the very least, the FCC should be discouraged from any further relaxation of cross-ownership rules.
With commentary on 920 - KXLY
Mike Fitzsimons hits the nail squarely on the head with his Commentary re “Cross-Ownership rules must be preserved.” KXLY, for years was the only local TV station that honestly reported on the River Park Square scandal. I hope the citizens of Spokane realize KXLY lost hundreds of thousands of dollars by keeping the public informed regarding the RPS heist. I can remember vividly, the other local TV stations regularly advertising the RPS mall, yet I can not recall any of them reporting how the taxpayers were swindled. KXLY is to be commended for not compromising the truth! I`m sorry to say KXLY paid the “PRICE” in advertising money.
Thanks, Mike and KXLY. WELL DONE!!
I too concur with Dick Adams. I’m a recently retired law enforcement investigator from a large Southern California agency. I retired after serving for some 35 years. Twenty of which were as an criminal investigator (detective) of which five were in an economic/financial crimes unit. My wife and I relocated to the Spokane Area for it’s many excellent attributes.
I was a regular listener and caller to the Mark Fuhrman Radio Show. The Fuhrman Show was an important independent news voice for the Spokane Area. Unfortunately Fuhrman was axed much like KXLY’s Tom Grant was who was also cutting too close to the bone regarding a “dark little secret” in Spokane.
I have never witnessed in my entire law enforcement career the systemic level of political/governmental corruption that exists in Spokane. Part of the reason why this corruption exists stems from the Cowles Co Media domination in this market.
I’m am currently doing research in preparation to filing a FCC complaint regarding the Cowles Co cross- media stranglehold. Below is my current operating hypothesis. Please feel free to read other informative pieces at the Friends of Mark Fuhrman Blog. Because of my probative questioning in the S-R Blogs, I’ve been now banned from posting in all S-R Blogs by S-R Editor Steve Smith.
Det. Ron Wright (Retired)
Riverside PD, CA
AKA “Ron the Cop” a regular caller to the Fuhrman Show
The Cowles Co. is a privately held family trust headquartered in Spokane, WA. The Cowles trust owns newspapers, TV stations and produces news for TV and radio stations that it doesn’t own. The Cowles trust owns or controls a substantial amount of real property in the Spokane Region including the Downtown Core. The matriarch of the Cowles family, Allison Stacey Cowles, is married to, Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzberger, the patriarch of the Sulzgerger family that owns the NYT. The Cowles Co through its controlling ownership of media, through intimidation and extortion of the media it doesn’t own in Spokane, has very successfully concealed the criminal acts of an ongoing criminal enterprise of which it is at the heart.
In a series of quasi public/private development projects in Downtown Spokane, there is a clear pattern and practice where “tainted” public financing was used to enrich the pockets of a group of individuals at the expense of the public treasury. The Cowles Co was the principal developer of River Park Square (RPS). RPS is one of these developments where fraudulent bond transactions were involved. Ms. Jo Savage tragically fell to her death after her car broke through a concrete parking barrier in the RPS parking garage. Both former Sheriff Bamonte and I believe there is reasonable cause to believe that Ms. Savage’s death was a First Degree Manslaughter under WA law because of criminal negligence by the owners. Local authorities did not pursue this case. There is arson/murder death of a fireman in a building fire that preceded another public project, the Spokane Transit Authority’s Transit Plaza, that has some of the “usual fingerprints” of this criminal enterprise.
I believe based on my training, education, and investigative experience there is an ongoing criminal conspiracy in Spokane where a group of individuals at different times have acted individually and or in concert to commit criminal acts with the knowledge and approval of this group headed by the Cowles Co. The Cowles Co, its surrogates, have systemically co-opted and or corrupted governmental officials both elected and appointed including the sitting US Attorney for the Eastern District of WA. The normal political and governmental controls have failed because of being so thoroughly co-opted and/or corrupted by this incestuous, insidious, and malignant ongoing criminal enterprise As I wrote recently to the Spokesman-Review Editor Steve Smith including an email I sent to a S-R investigative reporter (S-R is owned by the Cowles Family Trust):
. . . S-R is nothing more than an instrumentality of the Cowles Co’s ongoing criminal enterprise to cover it’s criminal activity. This is done by it’s active self-censorship of stories and censorship of comments in S-R blogs. This information is highly detrimental to the owners that would otherwise inform the public. The public once alerted, educated and informed would hold their elected/appointed officials accountable for their criminal acts who have been systemically co-opted/corrupted by this ongoing criminal conspiracy.
The Cowles Co through intimidation also controls the flow of adverse information in other media they don’t own. When this is not successful, it silences reporters or other voices cutting too close to the bone by squelching them through a series of unfair subtle business practices and/or by violating the fundamental regulatory scheme of the FCC. While beyond the scope of this complaint, in my opinion a compelling FTC antitrust case can be made regarding a clear pattern and practice of unfair business practices carried out over many years by the Cowles Co et al that has given it an unfair competitive advantage over other businesses both new or established in the Spokane Regional Market. There are high costs associated for those who would choose to challenge the Cowles Co market domination. New businesses are similarly deterred from locating here because of “the company town” nature of Spokane. This is nothing more than organized crime without the Sicilian surname that must not be tolerated and must be eliminated.