A surprising new threat to freedom of expression and progressive speech will come this Monday when the United States Postal Service enacts new publication mailing rate hikes that give preference to the large corporate owned media held by Time Warner, Hearst Publications and other large corporations, but will hit smaller circulation publications with a huge 30% rate increase.
Many progressive publications deal with a smaller circle of subscribers than the corporate media, although some publications such as THE NATION are nearly as old as the Abraham Lincoln Administration. Yet the power of the huge corporate owned media to lobby or influence special postal rates are like so many other areas where the corporate world can lobby for special rights within the American government. Smaller businesses are always at a disadvantage in this sort of relationship where largely corporate lobbyists now outnumber members of Congress by as much as a 66 to 1 margin.
One organization fighting for the rights of the small media is www.freepress.net which is run by Campaign Director, Tim Karr. However, this is probably an extreme uphill battle for the smaller and alternative media. Without the circulation figures available to fund their own corporate lobby efforts to match those of Time Warner, Hearst, and other large print media outlets, smaller progressive and alternative media publications are simply placed at an disadvantage.
This postal rate hike issue is like so many more issues where the smaller entities cannot democratically complete in the marketplace of ideas like the larger entities can. Toyota for example has found that as their marketplace power grows, their ability to influence legislation also grows in Washington. China has found out that as their share of Federal Treasury Bonds soars up to $416.2 billion dollars in February 2007, they can effectively influence trade legislation and keep the door open against fair and reasonable trade barriers that would impose any further roadblocks to their flood of low priced and low wage products that are flooding the U.S. marketplace and sweeping away American manufacturing jobs while only worsening the trade deficit
The marketplace of ideas is losing ground to an increasingly nondemocratic environment in which only the larger media is able to fund the lobby efforts required to maintain speech for themselves. Monday's postal hike increases leave the smaller and alternative media outlets in a much weaker position than they were only days before. If you have the money you have a voice; if you don't have the money, your voice is limited.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!