Monday, October 22, 2007

Murdoch's Ministry of Information

By Capt. Fogg

What if one company owned the daily newspapers, the weekly “alternative” newspaper, the city magazine, suburban publications, the eight largest radio stations, the dominant broadcast and cable television stations, popular internet news and calendar sites, billboards, and concert halls in your city -- in your country, asks John Nichols, blogger at The Nation? Is there anyone but Rupert Murdoch who thinks the public interest is served or rational democracy enabled by allowing such a thing to happen?

Yes, there is; he's FCC Chairman and Smirkmeister Kevin Martin, a product of an administration that would like to hand everything from the airwaves to the air itself over to the highest bidder, if not the highest contributor. The New York Times tells us the plan is for sweeping deregulation that would finally put to rest the idea that an information monopoly is a bad thing and that the broadcast spectrum is a natural resource, access to which requires an obligation for public service. Let the biggest dog have the only bark in town as long as they support the Republican Corporatocracy!

There seem to be no plans for the customary public hearings and we may be handed the dismemberment of yet another important public protection by December of this year. Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is already the largest media empire in the world. It's only the beginning.

Under the Bush administration, the function of the venerable agency has become to apportion public resources amongst media moguls without any regard for public interest. They have, as a matter of policy, routinely refused to protect licensed spectrum users against encroachments from large corporations and has been accused by the GAO of collaborating with corporate lobbyists; using secret meetings to pass them the information they need to avoid congressional actions and others have accused them not only of stifling entrepreneurship but of stifling minority ownership of radio broadcast licenses.

The idea of a free and open internet where bloggers can at least offer opposing viewpoints and cover items deemed unworthy by Murdoch or Clear Channel may soon die a similar death. Can anything resembling democracy fare any better?

(Cross-posted from Human Voices.)

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share


  • Uncanny. This is a post I've been meaning to write for a while. It's the most overlooked dangers to democracy. Well done Fogg.

    By Blogger Libby Spencer, at 10:48 AM  

  • It's already to the point where broadcasting is sufficiently owned by big Religion and Big Business to allow them to control public opinion and now that marriage is defined as being between one administration and many multinational corporations, the future may be more Orwellian than yesterday's paranoids dreamed of.

    It's significant than only about 2% of radio stations are owned by minorities. It's significant that Limbaugh shouts from a billion speakers and I have to pay for satellite to get Air America. It's significant that I have to spend hours on the internet to find the real news while the corporate media ignores or lies about it. All that will only get worse.

    The Republicans have learned that there really is no limit to government power when you outsource everything and what we see here is the outsourcing of censorship and propaganda.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 12:02 PM  

  • Cross-comment from Impolitic:

    These results suggest that diversity in ownership leads to diversity in programming content ... But policymakers may have forgotten the reason behind ownership rules and limits on consolidation: Increasing diversity and localism in ownership will produce more diverse speech, more choice for listeners, and more owners who are responsive to their local communities.

    This is exactly what media conglomerates (and their lobbyists and supporters in Washington) don't want. Also, consider this quote from Noam Chomsky:

    The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.

    In addition, I recommend Naomi Kaplan’s The Shock Doctrine to put this issue into greater perspective.

    By Blogger Swampcracker, at 3:01 PM  

  • The same thing is happening up here in Canada, just not quite to the same degree... and without an overt political agenda behind it. Although Sun Media, one of the larger conglomerates, already owns the major newspaper in a number of markets.

    By Blogger Michael J.W. Stickings, at 4:01 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home