Frank Blethen's Alright Once in a While

blethen2.jpgSeattle Times owner Frank Blethen has driven me insane for years--what with the dog shooting, crypto-right-wing, entirely suburban editorial board, and manipulative anti-estate tax crusading (the nadir of which was the Times' decision to endorse George W. Bush in 2000 for reasons of "integrity and civility.")

Frank looks out for numero uno, no apologies. But sometimes that's to our benefit. You get the feeling that anyone who wants to shut down the Times will have to pry it from Blethen's cold, dead hands. And then there are issues like media cross-ownership.

Obama's nominee for FCC chair, Julius Genachowski, is a supporter of media-cross ownership rules--the rules that prohibit a media company from owning a broadcast station and newspaper in the same market. Like Genachowski, and unlike most newspaper owners, Frank Blethen supports the rules. (To his credit, Blethen also supports net neutrality.)

The need for these rules should be obvious; they don't guarantee a diversity of viewpoints, but they sure make it more likely. Just imagine if your least favorite media outlet--be it Fox News or The Huffington Post--ran a major network affiliate and the major daily in your city. It would suck.

On everything from wardrobe malfunctions to media ownership, the Bush FCC has been a disaster. Here's hoping Obama's crew will do better, and here's to Frank Blethen for speaking out on his--and our--behalf.

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