And it appears that their boys are worth the price. This think-tank-for-hire today released what it is calling a definitive study that "debunks US 'media monopoly' fears." Its findings are already being cited by suckers in the media.
These wind-up academics and their blue chip clientelle are still trying to convince us that media monopoly is good for America. And I thought the American public sank that boat in 2003.
Not so, according to Compaine:
"There is no support for the contention that media ownership by chains or conglomerates leads to any consistent pattern of lowered standards, content, or performance when compared with media owned by families or small companies."How convenient for the companies that funded Compaine's analysis. By coincidence, this list includes the same media conglomerates that Compaine praises in his new study.
One look at the money behind the study, and Compaine's academic rigor comes off more as a Big Media lap dance. Lurking behind the facade of the NMRC is Issue Dynamics, Inc., a "public affairs consulting firm" that fronts for Comcast, Fleishman-Hillard, Qwest, Qualcomm, SBC Communications, Sprint and Verizon. By "public affairs" Issue Dynamics means "public relations" and by "consulting" they mean "shilling."
Any report emanating from their coin-operated think tank should be handled with steel tongs and a rubber suit.
John Rintels, whose work at Center for Creative Voices in the Media is inaccurately cited in Compaine's report, gave the study two thumbs down:
". . . to say it is a hatchet job is an insult to hatchets. This is pure polemic argument, bought and paid for by Big Media, not any 'report.' When the author's argument stumbles across inconvenient facts, statistics, and research, he ignores them, as they get in the way of his 'Monopoly Myth' theme that media reformers' case against Big Media has been made up out of thin air and then endlessly repeated, until it ultimately attains mythical status."
In the NMRC release, Thierer strokes fellow propagandist Compaine: "[Benjamin] has shown that the media sky has never been brighter," effuses Thierer. "His seminal earlier research, and this latest NMRC report, provide conclusive proof that the media marketplace is far more dynamic and competitive than at any time in history."
The Blinkered Bozo Award goes to the first journalist to cite either Thierer's or Compaine's "conclusive proof" without revealing that these two are in bed with the industry they're supposed to analyze.
We'll be monitoring the news wires to anoint the first scribes to make a move on this tarted-up corporate propaganda.
And the contestants for Blinkered Bozo are:
- KSBI-TV 52 in Oklahoma City
- Friday Morning Quarterback
- Chuck Taylor of Billboard Radio Monitor
- Linda Haugsted of MultiChannel News
One reporter smelled a skunk:
Stay tuned. Results are still rolling in.
To learn more about the ways coin-operated think tanks skew the community broadband debate to their corporate masters' liking, read my reports at MediaCitizen. (Thanks to Andrew Schwartzman at Media Access Project for the tip).