He Oughta Know
In the Washington Monthly, media mogul Ted Turner explains why consolidation is a bad thing, and how the government rolls over to the demands of the giant media conglomerates. If I teach Mass Media again, the students will be reading this one for sure. Turner isn't some pot-shot taking left-wing ranter; he's been a huge part of the mass media, up and down the food chain, so when he says something like the following quote, I tend to trust him:
Unless we have a climate that will allow more independent media companies to survive, a dangerously high percentage of what we see--and what we don't see--will be shaped by the profit motives and political interests of large, publicly traded conglomerates. The economy will suffer, and so will the quality of our public life. Let me be clear: As a business proposition, consolidation makes sense. The moguls behind the mergers are acting in their corporate interests and playing by the rules. We just shouldn't have those rules. They make sense for a corporation. But for a society, it's like over-fishing the oceans. When the independent businesses are gone, where will the new ideas come from? We have to do more than keep media giants from growing larger; they're already too big. We need a new set of rules that will break these huge companies to pieces.