Weapons of mass deception
In their June 2nd decision, the FCC relaxed and eliminated several key media ownership restrictions. One of the material features of the new regulations are relaxed broadcast-newspaper and radio-television cross-ownership rules. ... The torrent of protests are not focused on any one of these measures in particular, but rather that a policy of deregulation will encourage some companies to consolidate, grow larger, and eliminate many of the local media outlets. Consolidation of the media and entertainment industry has been the trend for the last decade. For example, in 2000, despite more than 25,000 outlets in the United States, twenty-three corporations controlled most of the business in daily newspapers, magazines, television, books, and motion pictures.
Since the mid-1980s, major media companies had been engaged in a feeding frenzy, swallowing up other media firms to form ever-larger conglomerates. ... Growth in the number of media outlets, for example, does not necessarily ensure content that serves the public interest. Centralized corporate ownership of vast media holdings raises the possibility of stifling diverse expression and raises important questions about the powerful role of media in a democratic society.
News production is central to the democratic process. Citizens receive political information from mass media and they use it to decide how to vote. By choosing what to report and how to report it, a media company can affect the views of its users and hence their voting decisions. This is not just a theoretical possibility.
... all of us should be alarmed about the effects of media mergers on the future of American democracy.
A central issue in the health of democracy concerns the vibrancy of civil society, and a key issue for this is the problem of information. Few people would disagree that information is pivotal for a democratic, free society. When dictators seize power one of the first things they do is seize the TV stations and close down opposition newspapers.
In a capitalist "democracy" like the United States, the corporate news media faithfully reflect the dominant class ideology both in their reportage and commentary. At the same time, these media leave the impression that they are free and independent, capable of balanced coverage and objective commentary.
We have entered in a time in which we need to be very skeptical about the news stream and look at it critically and ask for more verification and more enquiry.