Buying Public Opinion
Last comment by Sparklebeam 4 years, 9 months ago.

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The media plays a vital role in any functioning democracy, often functioning as tribune and watchdog ,so media ownership and the health of the media should be of concern to all.While the purchase of a radio or television network may be purely a financial decision, it may also represent a desire to influence public opinion. Irrespective of the motivation for such purchases, most Americans would agree that the news should come from a wide variety of sources.At present the American media is being concentrated in fewer and fewer hands.Some may regard this as an inevitable consequence of market forces or of the economy of scale ,but recent events would indicate that something more than economics is at work.

Since the newspaper business has been in sharp decline for a number of years and since a number of legendary newspapers such as The New Orleans Picayune,The Chicago Tribune, and The Los Angeles Times have been failing, it would seem odd for anyone to invest in the newspaper business for economic reasons. And yet several billionaires have lined up to purchase newspapers. The Koch brothers are currently negotiating the purchase of eight major newspapers including the aforementioned Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. Billionaire hotelier,Doug Manchester, has recently completed the purchase of the San Diego Union, a newspaper that has seen a steady decline in subscriptions. Warren Buffet has recently acquired sixty-three smaller newspapers and is seeking to acquire more. Mssrs. Koch and Manchester have gained some notoriety for their lavish funding of conservative causes. It is no secret that the Koch brothers have bankrolled a number of Republican candidates and have very generous to the a number of tea party groups. Warren Buffet, on the other hand, backs liberal causes. The problem is not so much whether an owner is a liberal or a conservative; the problem is the concentration of power and influence and the narrowing of political discourse.

Clear Channel Communications and Cumulus Communication dominate radio broadcasting. And as it turns out both are owned by Bain Capital. Bain Capital may or may not exercise a hands off editorial policy but the fact that one company has control of such a bully pulpit should worry Americans who concern themselves with the freedom of speech. It is fair to assume that any news that would hurt corporate interests would never be broached. And while it is easy to dismiss gasbags such as Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones, they do wield considerable influence over the credulous.

A number of changes are needed. The FCC needs to engage in some old fashioned trust busting--- for economic and political reasons. And broadcasters need to treat the news as a public trust because that is exactly what it is. We should not tolerate yellow journalism no matter how profitable it may be.We are not powerless. Boycotts do have an effect as witnessed by the recent Rush Limbaugh boycott. We need to demand better.

Latest Activity: Jun 07, 2013 at 8:28 PM

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Ironside commented on Sunday, Jun 09, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Fly: Your points are correct, however they are as old as our country. Media has always been bias towards one political agenda. The New York Times vs. The New York Post or the Washington Post vs the Washington Times one more liberal the other more conservative has always been around. The solution is a free market, NO government involvement in who gets a license. All points of view should be heard with the exception of treason against the Constitution. The people will decide how they want the country run. Freedom for the media is what we need, a free market.

spellbound commented on Sunday, Jun 09, 2013 at 15:20 PM

Ironside: I think you missed an important point that Fly was making. I agree with all of your statements, but suggest that what is needed is more diversity of opinion. I have no difficulty accepting that media's editorial position will probably reflect its ownership, but if there are fewer outlets (I'm talking old fashioned print media here, not TV or internet media), who controls the voices available becomes important. If I am not mistaken, there used to be limits on how many outlets could be controlled by a single source. The business trend now seems enamored of the "too big to fail" model, and while this makes some financial sense, it winds up restricting editorial diversity. Each media outlet...ah the heck with it...each paper will take on local issues, but a large chain will have a voice that might become too loud. I worry along with Fly: I see a problem if there is too much concentration of editorial power.

theflyonthewall commented on Sunday, Jun 09, 2013 at 20:45 PM

Ironside, No businessman would throw good money after bad ,so the purchase of failing newspapers has nothing to do with the free market. The purchases do represent a raw grab for power and influence.

Ironside commented on Monday, Jun 10, 2013 at 10:31 AM

spellbound: The reason that there are limited voices being heard on TV, Radio and newspapers is the government controls the license. There is an explosion of opinions expressed on the Internet because the government is not in control. Newspapers, TV, and Radio must appeal to the people to remain in business. They must reflect the beliefs of those they are trying to get to buy their paper, view or listen to their program in order to command advertising dollars to stay in business. They go out of business because they loose their appeal, or lie and deceive the people from the truth. Bankruptcy is a good thing, a better product and company will emerge from the bankruptcy. If you want to maintain the status quo, you say it is to big to fail and use taxpayer money to bail it out. The Free Market does work when government is not involved. That is what "Free Market" means, no government involvement. I share your concern about the consolidation of TV stations, Radio stations and Newspapers into the hands of fewer and fewer people. Get rid of the FCC and government licensing and there will be an explosion of new ones like the Internet. Our Founding Fathers believed in the “Free Market”. This generation of Americans should believe in it too!

Fly: If what you say is true, why have so many Airlines gone bankrupt only to emerge as a new company. US Airlines is still in business despite several bankruptcies. Bankruptcy is most often the result of bad Management Leadership. Change that and the company can be successful and make that “evil profit” to stay in business.

theflyonthewall commented on Monday, Jun 10, 2013 at 13:23 PM

We have a different scale of values. I think a functioning democracy is more important than profit taking --free market or no.

Airlines are in trouble BECAUSE of deregulation.We really, really do need government--- any civilized society must be bound by rules.

Ironside commented on Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013 at 13:10 PM

Fly: Our different scale of values is because I believe in the Constitutional Founding of the Nation and the Capitalist Free Market economic system that has protected Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, for the American People providing, the greatest prosperity ever in the history of mankind. Our history is the proof. Socialism is Big Government involved in everything in a person's life. It is the Old World form of Government. It is what we faught the Revolution to be Free from. Read the last two thirds of the Declaration of Independence. The Grievences our Colonies had with King George III. His government tried to control everything in a person's life in our Colonies. We were his subjects. Big Government= Socialism= personal subjugation to the power of the State (Government). Socialism is a deadend street!

watchgator commented on Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013 at 14:32 PM

The government we have in America today is moving us closer to Fascism than Socialism. Hail to the Obama youth!!!

Ironside commented on Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013 at 16:06 PM

watchgator: Socialist want to control all means of production and property of a nation by the government. Fascists allow the people to keep private property that the government doesn't need or want, and allows private companies to operate as long as they do what the government tells them to do. Which of these two ways our country is going is up for debate, but one thing is crystal clear, it will destory the United States of America.

theflyonthewall commented on Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013 at 17:23 PM

The greatest danger we face today is from the concentration of power. This issue has absolutely nothing to do with socialism or capitalism.Given the concentration of economic power, insider trading,favoritism,set asides,subsidies,and influence pedalling, we really do not have a free market.

Incidentally,capitalism has done nothing to protect our freedoms. The Nazi's were thoroughgoing capitalists as are the Chinese today. Capitalism requires the countervailing power of religion,morality, or failing the first two,government so that the big fish do eat the fry.Capitalism is purely an economic system. Don't look for anything more.

Ironside commented on Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013 at 21:39 PM

Fly: Your right about the consolidation of economic power. It happens because some companies will give money to, Socialist politicians of both parties but mostly Democrats, to write laws ,rules, and regulation that hurt the companies competition. The Socialist Federal Income Tax Code is full of this practice. So, yes you are right, but it is happening because of the Fderal Government's invovement into the Free Market. The Socialist politicians like doing this because it helps grow the government it's power,and the power of the politician. About your comment that the Nazi's were Capitalists. That is false. See my comment on Fascists above. They were Nationalist Socialist as stated by Hitler. Socialist all believe in Big Government to control the people. Socialists fall into three camps. The British and French Democratic Government model, the Chinese Communist Government model and the German Nazi Fascist Government model. All three use Big Government to contol more and more of the people's lives. As you move from Democratic Socialism to Communist Socialism to Fascist Socialism the control increases and becomes more brutal. Our Government has Progressively moved towards more and more Big Government (Socialism) sense Woodrow Wilson. We have not had a true Free Market in a hundred years. So, you have not in your life time witnessed a true Free Market at work.

theflyonthewall commented on Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013 at 22:00 PM

So are you advocating a return to the Gilded Age?

Sparklebeam commented on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013 at 08:45 AM

Wow! Well, let me just say that #1: We need a "marketplace of ideas," which is lost as media outlets become concentrated into the hands of the few. #2: Media ownership is expensive and the door would only be open to a select few if there were not government rules & regulations.

The more concentrated media ownership becomes, the less free we actually are. You do know that one of the goals necessary for a dictator is control of the media. Who is our dictator going to be?

Ironside commented on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013 at 09:04 AM

The opposite is true. Our Media is in the hands of the few and very expenseive because of government rules and regulations. Fly: As for the Gilded Age, Upton Sinclair was not an objective writer of the Times.

theflyonthewall commented on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013 at 09:27 AM

Read any respectable history book ,and you will quickly come to the conclusion that the reforms put in place by progressives were absolutely necessary.

It is curious that you mentioned Upton Sinclair as conditions in modern packing houses return to the some of the excesses described by Sinclair in The Jungle. Self inspection is a joke.

Ironside commented on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013 at 20:54 PM

When Ivy League Progressives are the ones that write our history textbooks you get agenda driven, non objective, writing of American History. Any company exposed to having non sanitary conditions, people stop buying the product. The press should expose the wrong doing, then we don't need the government getting involved. Armore Meat maintains high standards because they don't want bad press to do serious damage to the company. By the way, more often the company issues it's own recall. Self policing!

theflyonthewall commented on Wednesday, Jun 12, 2013 at 21:21 PM

I guess all of those Jacob Riis photographs were retouched!

The standard you have set is very,very low.By the way, meat packers are now permitted to slaughter sick animals thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision--- yet another milestone on our steady descent into the third world.

Sparklebeam commented on Thursday, Jun 13, 2013 at 01:53 AM

And, by the way, documentarians can be sued for documenting animal abuses in these plants. So, who exactly is going to show the public the non-sanitary conditions? The press?

Yes, Ironside, you are wrong, very wrong about the media ownership. I know for a fact because I work in media, I studied media and part of those studies included media law.

Ironside commented on Thursday, Jun 13, 2013 at 13:12 PM

Sparklebeam: I would like to be enlightened about how, you an insider to media, understand how media ownership works. I am always open to learning new things. As, for documentarians can be sued for documenting animal abuses in meat plants. If they are not truthful and slander the reputation of the company, the company can sue. If it is true they win the law suite.

Sparklebeam commented on Tuesday, Jun 18, 2013 at 21:43 PM

Wow! Ironside, I posted a very detailed reply in order to enlighten you...with links to my sources. Guess that got removed, it was a link to another news publication. I will share that with you at another time as it is late and I have had a long day.

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