Extinction Threatened 4 Your Favorite Magazine Via Postal Rate Hikes
How do bad things happen? Is it usually malice of/with
forethought, or just an accidental unobservant ditsy
bitsy whoosh of slackened attention to what could
transpire if A affects B affects C affects D? Time
Warner is in the mix here, threatening our smaller
magazines with postal rate hikes…….
Bob McChesney, the Guru of Media Watchers, is telling us
that today “the news media are covering the tragic murders in Virginia this morning, and as they do an extraordinarily significant story is slipping through the cracks.”**
Meanwhile, “The U.S. Post Office is in the process
of implementing a radical reformulation of its rates for
magazines, such that smaller periodicals will be hit with
a much much larger increase than the largest magazines.
Because the Post Office is a monopoly, and because
magazines must use it, the postal rates always have been
skewed to make it cheaper for smaller publications to get
launched and to survive. The whole idea has been to use
the postal rates to keep publishing as competitive and
wide open as possible. This bedrock principle was put
in place by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. They
considered it mandatory to create the press system,
the Fourth Estate necessary for self-government.
It was postal policy that converted the free press clause
in the First Amendment from an abstract principle
into a living breathing reality for Americans.
And it has served that role throughout our history.
What the Post Office is now proposing goes
directly against 215 years of postal policy. The
Post Office is in the process of implementing
a radical reformulation of its mailing rates for magazines.
Under the plan, smaller periodicals will be hit with a
much larger increase than the big magazines, as much
as 30 percent. Some of the largest circulation magazines
will face hikes of less than 10 percent.
The new rates, which go into effect on July 15, were
developed with no public involvement or congressional
oversight, and the increased costs could damage hundreds,
even thousands, of smaller publications, possibly putting
many out of business. This includes nearly every political
journal in the nation. These are the magazines that often
provide the most original journalism and analysis. These
are the magazines that provide much of the
content on Common Dreams. We desperately need them.”**
Turns out the concept was created by Time Warner, our
biggest USA magazine publisher. Perhaps, “the bureaucrats responsible have never considered the implications of their draconian reforms for small and independent publishers, or
for citizens who depend upon a free press.”**
And, YES, there is something you can do. Please go
to www.stoppostalratehikes.com and sign the letter to the
Postal Board protesting the new rate system and
demanding a congressional hearing before any
radical changes are made. The deadline for comments is April 23.
Make a copy of this and also send it to your Congressperson in the House Of Representatives, and your two Senators.
You can also these three individuals via
1-202-224-3121 for the House of Representatives person
1-202-225-3121 for your two Senators
For more information go to either
“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a
government without newspapers, or newspapers
without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to
prefer the latter.”
– – Thomas Jefferson, Jan. 16, 1787 *
** From an email received from Bob McChesney 4/17/07