Media Consolidation

Media Matters on WILL airs an hour interview
with Craig Aaron from January 23, 2011.

Media consolidation
From Free Press:
Net Neutrality

“edia consolidation means that the few huge corporations that own most of our media are getting even bigger by taking over more and more of our local media outlets.

But these massive conglomerates – like General Electric, Time Warner and News Corp. – only care about the bottom line, not serving the public interest. And allowing these few firms too much control over the flow of news and information is dangerous for our democracy.

When Big Media get too big, local, independent and minority owners are pushed out of the market and off the airwaves. Media consolidation means:

Fewer voices and viewpoints
Less diversity in ownership and programming
Less coverage of local issues that matter to communities
Less of the unbiased, independent, critical journalism we need to prevent abuses of power
Put it all together and Big Media spells bad news – for average Americans and for our democracy.

Josh Silver, president of Free Press, writing on Huff Po about the merger of Comcast, the nation’s largest cable and residential Internet provider, with NBC-Universal:

“The new Comcast will control an obscene number of media outlets, including the NBC broadcast network, numerous cable channels, two dozen local NBC and Telemundo stations, movie studios, online video portals, and the physical network that distributes that media content to millions of Americans through Internet and cable connections. ….

Culmination of the deal, combined with the FCC’s recent, loophole-ridden “Net Neutrality” rules, sets the table for Comcast to turn the Internet into cable television, where it has the ability to speed up its content, slow down or block its competitors such as Netflix, and hike the rates for its programming and services. We’ll all end up paying more — whether you’re a Comcast subscriber or not. …

Why should you care about a business deal between a couple of companies?

This merger will touch all corners of the media market, and you won’t be immune. Comcast will jack up the prices that other cable and online distributers pay for NBC content, and those prices will be passed to you. That means higher cable and Internet bills, even if you don’t subscribe to Comcast.

Comcast and the FCC Chairman argue that there are “conditions” applied to the merger that protect the public, (details about the conditions are not out yet) but they fail to mention that the key provisions are either voluntary (no, that’s not a typo), or expire after a few years. Then, all bets are off, as the merger squeezes out what’s left of independent, diverse voices from television dials, and forever changes the Internet as we know it.”

And there is much more. Obama, who before being elected championed net neutrality and media diversity,

“rather than tell that story, dig in, and fight like a true leader would, Obama has chosen to hire corporate-friendly advisors, compromise on the most crucial substance, and attempt to eke out weak, symbolic, half-victories gift-wrapped in flowery oratory and spin. It’s a losing strategy that has become brutally transparent.”

Read the article.