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Independent Newspapers, Magazines Hit With Rate Hike; Big Boys Exempt


By James P. Tucker Jr.

Abroad coalition of small and independent publishers are fighting a plan by major media to kill them with huge postal increases that would exempt the big boys.

Time Warner Inc., the nation’s largest publisher, hatched the plan in a secret deal with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). The little guys kicked up such a fuss Congress is investigating the conspiracy.

“It is outrageous that Time Warner, obviously on behalf of the large publications, made such an unfair deal in secret plotting with the postal commission,” said Vince Ryan, editor emeritus of American Free Press and chairman of AFP’s READERSHIP COUNCIL. “This evil act will not stand.”

Others expressing opposition come from across the political spectrum. They include: The American Prospect, The American Spectator, Commonweal, In These Times, Mother Jones, Ms. Magazine, National Review, The Nation, The New Republic and WORLD, among others.

“These new rates impose huge hardships on small publications,” said Teresa Stack, president of The Nation. “I can say with confidence that some magazines will go out of business because of the increase.”

Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service and the District of Columbia, has pledged to hold hearings on the issue.

Earlier this year, the Postal Regulatory Commission rejected a postal rate increase plan proposed by the U.S. Postal Service. Instead, the PRC chose to implement a complicated plan proposed by Time Warner.

Under the original plan, an increase of about 11.7% in mailing costs would be imposed on publishers meeting Second Class standards—which excludes publications that contain only advertising.

The Time Warner plan tilted the playing field in favor of Big Media at the expense of small publications. It penalizes thousands of small publications with disproportionately higher rates while locking in privileges for Big Media, effective July 15, 2007.

The secrecy of the treachery reflects the stealthiness of corporate-backed groups such as Bilderberg, which control Time Warner, The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and national broadcast networks.

When the PRC embraced Time Warner’s plan—which contained more than 700 pages—it allowed only eight business days for public comment. Typically, such comment periods are 30 to 90 days. The Time Warner plan was complex and it was virtually impossible for small publishers to respond in time.

The collaboration between Big Media and the PRC flies in the face of the Constitution and the intent of the Founders, who feared exactly this: an all-powerful Big Media that could educate the public according to its own agenda and without dissent.

President George Washington called for free mailings for newspapers and periodicals. Thomas Jefferson called for a postal service that allowed citizens to gain “full information” where ideas could “penetrate the whole mass of the people.” All envisioned a nation that would be a “free marketplace of ideas.”

Readers who would like to protest the postal rate hike can direct letters to James C. Miller III, chairman, Postal Board of Governors, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW, Room 3436,Washington, D.C. 20260-3436. For more information, visit

AFP correspondent James P. Tucker Jr. is a veteran journalist who spent many years as a member of the “elite” media in Washington. Since 1975 he has won widespread recognition, here and abroad, for his pursuit of on-the-scene stories reporting the intrigues of global power blocs such as the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission.

(Issue #19, May 7, 2007)

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Updated April 26, 2007