The Postal Service recently announced that they will be raising rates for magazines and periodicals. That news by itself is not exactly earth shattering. But there’s more.
The original proposal from the Postal Commission recommended a fairly routine increase of approximately 12% across the board. That would be consistent with historical rate structures that spread the costs fairly to all publishers, from the smallest indie press to the biggest print empire.
But that didn’t sit well with some of the entrenched monopolists at Time Warner. Raising objections to the plan, TW proposed their own that, predictably, favored big corporations by awarding huge discounts for massive bulk mailings. The TW plan would result in increases for themselves that were as little as 10%, but their smaller rivals’ rates could balloon up as much as 30%. Through the strength of their wealth and political influence, TW succeeded in strong-arming the Postal Service to adopt its scheme.
For anyone who thinks that it is only fair that large publishers who ship higher quantities should enjoy higher discounts, you should know that this was never the intention of the Postal Service’s rate policy. For over 200 years it has been part of their mission to have the big players partially subsidize costs for new and independent media. Indeed, it has played a large role in our country’s commitment to a free and diverse press. Journalism professor and FreePress founder, Robert McChesney, recognizes the problem and warns of the consequences:
“What the Post Office is planning to do now, in the dark of night, is implement a rate structure that gives the best prices to the biggest publishers, hence letting them lock in their market position and lessen the threat of any new competition. The new rates could make it almost impossible to launch a new magazine, unless it is spawned by a huge conglomerate.”
Scared? You should be, because in addition to the threat that this policy poses to independent media, the plan is being rushed through with almost no opportunity for public comment. In fact, Monday, April 23, is the last day that the people can have any say.
FreePress is making it easy for you weigh in on this vital issue. Go to www.StopPostalRateHikes.com where you can send an email to the Postal Board of Governors and your congressional representatives. But…
You Have To Do This NOW!
This window is shutting very soon and action that is put off will not be able to be taken at all in a couple of days. Don’t let Time Warner and their cabal of corporate conspirators stomp out the most vibrant, provocative, and honest reporting and commentary our country has to offer. This is literally a matter of life or death for many small publishers. Your voice can help save theirs.