Media Consolidation

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Overview of how media consolidation has limited access and content in informing the public debate in the US.

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  • Media Consolidation

    1. 1. Media Consolidation Christopher E. Renner, Chair KONZ - Flint Hills Community Radio Project
    2. 2. History of Consolidation In 1983, 50 corporations controlled the vast majority of all news media in the U.S. Ben Bagdikian was called "alarmist" for pointing this out in his book, The Media Monopoly. In his 4th edition, published in 1992, he wrote "in the U.S., fewer than two dozen of these extraordinary creatures own and operate 90% of the mass media" -- controlling almost all of America's newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations, books, records, movies, videos, wire services and photo agencies.
    3. 3. Source: Media Reform Information Center • Bagdikian predicted then that eventually this number would fall to about half a dozen companies. This was greeted with skepticism at the time. • When the 6th edition of The Media Monopoly was published in 2000, the number had fallen to six. Since then, there have been more mergers and the scope has expanded to include new media like the Internet market.
    4. 4. Who Owns the Media? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfRXaORNSK8 The job of media’s new corporate bosses is to maximize profit for shareholders, not to provide greater choice and diversity for consumers. http://www.freepress.net/ownership/chart/main http://dialogic.blogspot.com/2009/01/rich-media-poor- democracy-researching.html Congress overturned the FCC’s 2007 media consolidation ruling.
    5. 5. Source: Mother Jones, 2007 In 2004, Bagdikian's revised and expanded book, The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations -- Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch's News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) -- now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric's NBC is a close sixth.
    6. 6. F.A.I.R - Media Consolidation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFqKCRl0Un0 Taken from: Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism. Media analyst for FAIR Peter Hart discusses the effect of media consolidation on journalism. http://www.outfoxed.org/ Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting www.fair.org Publishes Extra - magazine Produces CounterSpin (30-minute weekly podcast)
    7. 7. Who is Out of the Picture? The state of female and minority ownership in the broadcast sector is even more shocking compared to other industries. While female and minority ownership has advanced in other sectors since the late 1990s, it has gotten worse in the broadcast industry. • Women owned 28 percent of all non-farm businesses in 2002, but currently own less than 6 percent of commercial broadcast television stations. • Minorities owned 18 percent of all non-farm businesses in 2002, but currently own approximately 3 percent of commercial broadcast television stations. Source: Out of the Picture 2007: Minority & Female TV Station Ownership in the United States
    8. 8. Who Is Left Out of the Picture? There has been no improvement in the level of minority broadcast television ownership since 1998, even as the total universe of stations has increased by approximately 13 percent. • At the same time, there has been a marked decrease in the total number of black or African-American owned stations — dropping nearly 70 percent since 1998. In numbers, in 2007 only 14 of the 45 African- American owned stations in 1998 remained. Source: Out of the Picture 2007: Minority & Female TV Station Ownership in the United States
    9. 9. 1998 FCC Cross-ownership Prometheus Radio Project v. FCC was heard and adjudicated by the U.S. Third Circuit Court of Appeals in 2003 and 2004. The majority ruled 2-1 to throw out the FCC's attempt to raise the limits of cross-ownership of media. The court ruled that a "diversity index" used by the FCC to weigh cross-ownership (of radio, television and newspapers) employed several "irrational assumptions and inconsistencies."
    10. 10. TV - Newspaper Cross-ownership Mark Cooper (2007) in reference toPrometheus Radio Project, et al. v. FCC, (3rd Cir. 2004) concludes: • Television and newspapers are the two most important sources of local news and information by far. • The ban on such mergers was the longest standing of the rules that the FCC is considering. Source: The Case Against Media Consolidation: Evidence on concentration, localism and diversity. Mark Cooper, Ed. (2007). Donald McGannon Center for Communicaiton Research, Fordham University.
    11. 11. TV - Newspaper Cross-ownership • The FCC proposed the most radical change in this rule – allowing newspaper-TV combinations in virtually every city in America. • In rejecting the FCC’s cross-media limits, the Court devoted a great deal of attention to the FCC’s faulty reasoning and flawed analysis of media markets. • Cooper shows that mergers between newspapers and TV stations in the same market pose a grave threat to democratic discourse.
    12. 12. TV - Newspaper Cross-ownership • In antitrust terms, these mergers result in increases in market concentration that raise significant competitive concerns and are likely to create or enhance market power. • In terms of the Communications Act and First Amendment jurisprudence, the newspaper-TV combinations that result dominate the local market raising concerns about undue economic concentration and inordinate influence over public opinion.

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