Thursday, January 12, 2012

  • Ex-FCC Commissioner Michael Copps on Media Consolidation, Broadband Expansion, Threats to Journalism

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    Michael Copps served two terms with the Federal Communications Commission. Now the staunch supporter of an open internet and opponent of media consolidation has retired. In a wide-ranging discussion, he examines the FCC’s key accomplishments and failures of the past decade. Copps argues broadband is "the most opportunity-creating technology perhaps in the history of humankind," and laments that the United States still lacks a national broadband infrastructure. He says the FCC has yet to address a lack of diversity in media ownership, noting that "owning a station has a lot to do with the kind of programing that’s going to be on that station." Regarding the future of journalism, Copps calls on the FCC to make access to quality journalism a "national priority," saying, "the future of our democracy hinges upon having an informed electorate." [includes rush transcript]

  • A Path to War? Assassination of Iran Nuclear Scientist, New Sanctions Strain U.S.-Iran Relations

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    Iran says a nuclear scientist involved in its uranium enrichment program was killed by assassins in Tehran on Wednesday, becoming the latest Iranian scientist to die in a series of similar incidents. Earlier this week, Iran announced it had sentenced a U.S.-born man to death for allegedly spying for the CIA. Meanwhile, the United States is leading a global campaign to shut down Iranian oil exports in order to pressure the country to end its alleged nuclear weapons program. Iran responded by threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, a major transit point for one-fifth of oil traded worldwide. "If we are increasing the sense of threat, we may be able to prevent [the Iranians’] capabilities to a certain extent, but we’re also increasing their desire for the nuclear deterrent," says Trita Parsi, founder and president of the National Iranian American Council. "At some point, that desire will overcome the obstacles. In essence, you cannot threaten a country into feeling secure." [includes rush transcript]