Thursday, December 01, 2005

Consolidating Media Control with the Elite

The War on the Press
The Bush administration has worked with the most powerful media corporations – like News Corp, Sinclair and Clear Channel – in an effort to rewrite media ownership laws in a manner that accelerates consolidation and monopoly control of information.

In 1983, 50 corporations owned a majority of the news media. In 1992, fewer than two dozen companies owned 90 percent of the news media. In 2003, the number fell to a total of six. The escalated consolidation of media has precipitated the collapse of journalistic values and the rise of profit-driven “infotainment” and “celebrity news.” Driven by bottom-line concerns, corporate media executives have cut overseas newsrooms from their payrolls. As a result, international reporting dropped nearly 80 percent in the past two decades.

History has shown that the relaxation of media ownership rules always leads to more market consolidation and less competition and diversity in news. Greased by extensive campaign contributions and pressured by intensive lobbying, Washington policymakers have abandoned antitrust enforcement and pursued policies to encourage greater media concentration.

The Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will announce plans to rewrite the ownership rules soon – it could happen as early as February. Unless the public mobilizes to oppose efforts to make Big Media even bigger, the FCC will pass rules that would unleash a new wave of media consolidation and allow conglomerates to swallow up hundreds of independent media outlets.

To read the rest of the report on the attacks against journalism, follow these links:

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