Sunday, February 04, 2007

Time to break up the TV news conglomerates.

This is from Juan Cole.

"Rupert Murdoch, who gives you Bill O'Reilly, Daniel Pipes, and other fantasists of the hard Right by his ownership of a vast media empire admitted at the Davos conference that his companies had "tried" to propagandize for Bush's Iraq War. He said that they were critical of the execution of the war, though. He doesn't watch or read his own media if he thinks that. It is never a discouraging word and 'what were the RNC talking points today?' over there in Foxland.

"Murdoch's remarks are a good reason for which the news conglomerates should be broken up so that a wider range of views can be published. While Murdoch complains about competition from the internet, the fact is that far more people watch television than get their news from any blogger.

"Murdoch's media have done more to cheapen American values and drive the country toward fascistic ways of thinking than anything since the McCarthy period in the 1950s. The airwaves belong to the public, and this man only licenses them. When will the public take them back and use them for purposes of which Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Franklin would have approved?"

In order for Rubert Murdoch to purchase the TV stations that were the basis for the FOX network, he had to become a U.S. citizen. As I recall, his application for citizenship was expedited so that he could buy the stations.

The problem is that his international set of networks is able to pull money from where it has a monopoly and use it to crush the local competition such as ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN. Since the American networks other than CNN cannot go international, they remain unable to compete with FOX beyond simply copying FOX and eliminating any differentiation. They end up as parasites on FOX rather than competitors. FOX gets the bigger markets and they get the left-overs.

One solution might be to strip Murdoch of his U.S. citizenship and require him to sell off his holdings in the U.S. Another solution would certainly be to require the fairness doctrine to be put back into place and apply it to Cable as well as broadcast stations.

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