If you tune into ABC's Nightline at 11:35 p.m. tonight, and you've been reading L.A. Weekly lately, you'll notice a story that may seem familiar. It's all about how former California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and a foot-dragging City Council essentially killed public access TV in Los Angeles, one of the major media capitals in the world. L.A. Weekly published these facts first in a cover story titled “Shutting Up the Little Guy” on December 11, 2008, and now Nightline is running with it.

Even the Huffington Post is talking about it, which is fine with us. Public access producers like Leslie Dutton of the Full Disclosure Network and Zuma Dogg of his own self-titled show have been interviewed and will explain how California politicians and cable companies like Time Warner and AT&T got together, wrote and signed into law a bill named AB 2987, and screwed over consumers and cable access hosts alike.

We think it's great a major network news outlet is getting out the word, and the segment may even apply some pressure on the California political establishment to look further into the matter, now that Fabian Nunez is gone.

Hopefully, Nightline won't treat the subject matter as some kind of quirky story involving quirky people who really don't matter.  Dutton, Zuma Dogg and others, like John Walsh of Neighborhood Point of View, have informed the public of sleazy political deals and bad City Hall policies for years, and their voices have basically been silenced since the first of the year. This is clearly not a good thing, and no small matter.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

LA Weekly