Michael 'Tom Joad' Copps


Were there intimations, certainly there were the rhetorical rhythms, of Henry Fonda/Tom Joad in FCC Commissioner Michael Copps' call Wednesday for more common man and woman input into the FCC's new media ownership rules?

Here's Fonda as Joad, standing up to the rich and powerful as he says goodbye to his mother–in one of the greatest film speeches.

"Wherever you can look, wherever there's a fight, so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be there in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be there in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they built, I'll be there, too."

Here is Copps, eloquently importuning the commission to stand up to the rich and powerful media. You be the judge:

"We'll soon know what choice the FCC makes. If you see hearings in your hometown instead of just a few selected cities, you'll know. If you see FCC commissioners come to listen to your point of view personally instead of expecting you to hire a $500 an hour lawyer to get heard, you'll know. If the FCC contracts for independent studies and seeks comment on those studies instead of buying a few half-hearted time-crunched papers that slide into the record without comment, you'll know… "

By John Eggerton