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I read this today(i copied it at the bottom) in the NY Times and it has worried me much: In 2 words it speaks about how there are now the big 6 media companies, which will consolidate futher and further, because that is in their business logic, and the government can't or won't stop them. Imagine this - a huge media company, the Company, controlling all major tvs, radios and newspapers (maybe saving different brand names of networks, so that people think there is diversity, while in fact it is all under the same management). When one wants to change the public opinion about something, he will just need to contact the managers of the Company. When an opinion is against the "accepted views" it will be next to impossible to get it out. There will always be some independent stations, but they will have a negligible audience, they just won't be able to compete with rivals that control the tv channels, the cable networks, etc. This way, independant medias won't ever be able to change the outcome of elections, for example. Maybe this has always been a scary possibility, but reading it today in the NY Times, a newspaper not usually known to give way to conspiracy theories, presented as a very realistic possibility, upset me much and made me pessimistic. I wonder if there are optimists in the forums, how exactly will they argue with me - that this scenario, the consolidation of all 6 giants into one company, won#t happen at all. Or that even if that happens, freedom of speech will survive in other forms(blogs?), so my interpretation of the meaning of consolidation is too paranoic and pessimistic ? I hope someone will prove i am wrong, to give me some hope for free speech.
now the article
" The Five Sisters By WILLIAM SAFIRE
Published: February 16, 2004
WASHINGTON ? If one huge corporation controlled both the production and the dissemination of most of our news and entertainment, couldn't it rule the world?
Can't happen here, you say; America is the land of competition that generates new technology to ensure a diversity of voices. But consider how a supine Congress and a feckless majority of the Federal Communications Commission have been failing to protect our access to a variety of news, views and entertainment.
The media giant known as Viacom-CBS-MTV just showed us how it controls both content and communication of the sexiest Super Bowl. The five other big sisters that now bestride the world are (1) Murdoch-FoxTV-HarperCollins-WeeklyStandard-NewYorkPost-LondonTimes-DirecTV; (2) G.E.-NBC-Universal-Vivendi; (3) Time-Warner-CNN-AOL; (4) Disney-ABC-ESPN; and (5) the biggest cable company, Comcast.
As predicted here in an "Office Pool" over two years ago, Comcast has just bid to take over Disney (Ed Bleier, then of Warner Bros., was my prescient source). If the $50 billion deal is successful, the six giants would shrink to five, with Disney-Comcast becoming the biggest.
Would Rupert Murdoch stand for being merely No. 2? Not on your life. He would take over a competitor, perhaps the Time-Warner-CNN-AOL combine, making him biggest again. Meanwhile, cash-rich Microsoft ? which already owns 7 percent of Comcast and is a partner of G.E.'s MSNBC ? would swallow both Disney-ABC and G.E.-NBC. Then there would be three, on the way to one.
You say the U.S. government would never allow that? The Horatius lollygagging at the bridge is the F.C.C.'s Michael Powell, who never met a merger he didn't like. Cowering next to him is General Roundheels at the Bush Justice Department's Pro-Trust Division, which last year waved through Murdoch's takeover of DirecTV. (Joel Klein, Last of the Trustbusters, now teaches school in New York.)
But what of the Senate, guardian of free speech? There was Powell last week before Chairman John McCain's Commerce Committee, currying favor with cultural conservatives by pretending to be outraged over Janet Jackson's "costume reveal." The F.C.C. chairman, looking stern, pledged "ruthless and rigorous scrutiny" of any Comcast bid to merge Disney-ABC-ESPN into a huge DisCast. Media giants ? always willing to agree to cosmetic "restrictions" on their way to amalgamation ? chuckled at the notion of a "ruthless Mike."
McCain's plaintive question to Powell ? "Where will it all end?" ? is too little, too late. This senatorial apostle of deregulation, who last week called the world's attention to the media concentration that helps subvert democracy in Russia, has been blind to the danger of headlong concentration of media power in America.
The benumbing euphemism for the newly permitted top-to-bottom information and entertainment control is "vertical integration." In Philadelphia, Comcast not only owns the hometown basketball team, but owns its stadium, owns the cable sports channel televising the games as well as owning the line that brings the signal into Philadelphians' houses. Soon: ESPN, too. Go compete against, or argue with, that head-to-toe control ? and then apply that chilling form of integration to cultural events and ultimately to news coverage.
The reason given by giants to merge with other giants is to compete more efficiently with other enlarging conglomerates. The growing danger, however, is that media giants are becoming fewer as they get bigger. The assurance given is "look at those independent Internet Web sites that compete with us" ? but all the largest Web sites are owned by the giants.
How are the media covering their contraction? (I still construe the word "media" as plural in hopes that McCain will get off his duff and Bush will awaken.) Much of the coverage is "gee-whiz, which personality will be top dog, which investors will profit and which giant will go bust?"
But the message in this latest potential merger is not about a clash of media megalomaniacs, nor about a conspiracy driven by "special interests." The issue is this: As technology changes, how do we better protect the competition that keeps us free and different?
You don't have to be a populist to want to stop this rush by ever-fewer entities to dominate both the content and the conduit of what we see and hear and write and say. "
In the 60's there were over 300 major media outlets in the country(300 independently owned)... By 1983 there was only 50, now there is 5-6.....
And for all intensive purposes they are one. They can gain more by working together than truly competing. They all cover the exact same stories(And blackout the same stories).. Maybe some minor differences in what position their pundits take, but thats about all. They are businesses... that own other businesses. They need good consumers not good people. They will tell you what they need you to hear in order to acheive this.
They basically decide who gets elected. They can choose whether they want to show a candidate in a good light or bad light, or even at all. Dean was frontrunner till he mentioned breaking up big media. Then all you saw was him screaming and heard "unelectable"..Kucinich who? Kerry was good enough to not take much of a stance on anything, along with being a senator familiar with the game, and had a decent base of support.. I think thats why he is now frontrunner. Nothing but praise for Bush(at least no real negativity) before Iraq, but now that its been done(and no "electable" candidate will pull troops out too soon) he is fair game, no longer completely necessary.
Oh and remember, the internet is full of crazy assholes who come up with wild conspiracy theories, so you really can't trust anything you read on it. Better stick to the real news like CNN, FOX, NBC, and ABC... After all, they are necessary to democracy.
Janet Jackson's tit is important.
As is the status of Ben and J-Lo.
Most important is the entertainment industry.
The news is fair and balanced. And does not set agenda's.
Drugs are bad, but don't let that stop you from doing them...In fact do more.
Politics is boring.
Dean is crazy and not to be trusted.
People in commercials and sitcoms are normal, everyday people, like yourselves.
Out of all the things Bush has done, the stuff he did 30 years ago in Alabama are the most important.
He didn't "lie".
What 3rd party candidates?
etc. (Sorry, just some of many points that I feel are pushed by the corporate media.)
-------------------- If you want a free lunch, you need to learn how to eat good advice.
My guess is Major stockholders of NYT co, are also major stockholders of a rival conglomerate of comcast/disney.... Trying to stop it from happening... I think this is the most intermedia competition i've seen happen. But still I think this is the extent of media "competition" we will see...
Hopefully I'm wrong
-------------------- If you want a free lunch, you need to learn how to eat good advice.
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