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Reply #8: something doesn't make sense about these numbers [View All]

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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-17-08 09:35 PM
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8. something doesn't make sense about these numbers
The claim is that the number of corporations controlling a majority of the media has declined. Well, its indisputable that there is more concentration today, but a couple of things don't make sense about the chart/numbers. It talks about newspapers, but apart from News Corp., which owns the NY Post and just bought Dow Jones (WSJ), none of the other companies listed are notable owners of newspapers. The list of newspaper owners in the US is not as long as it was, but its not as if they've disappeared or been swallowed up by the companies listed. AMong the top newspaper companies in the US not listed:

Belo, Cox, Donrey, Gannett, Hearst, Knight Ridder, Media General, NY Times, Tribune, Scripps, Washington Post.

And it mentions magazines. Well, Time Warner is the largest magazine publisher in the US and News Corp. has a pretty big magazine in TV Guide. But in terms of circulation, the top ten magazines are generally unrepresented on that list: AARP's magazine (which is number one), Readers Digest, Better Homes and Garden and Ladies Home JOurnal (owned by Meredith), Nat Geo, Family Circle, Women's Day, and Good Housekeeping.

As for the companies listed, one thing that needs to be considered is that while there is more concentration, a lot of the properties listed didn't exist in the past, making comparisons over time a bit odd. If you go back in time just three decades, you find yourself in an era in which there were only three broadcast networks: ABC, CBS, and NBC.These companies controlled much of what any one could watch and there were only three choices. The networks owned a limited number of stations themselves, but they had affiliates that carried their news and entertainment programming coast to coast. And these were fairly diversified companies. Take CBS: it started out with a few radio stations, became the dominant force in radio in the 30s and 40s, bought a record company, bought television stations, ended up the dominant television network and by the 60s and 70s had its finger in a bunch of pies -- musical instruments (fender guitars), sports franchises (NY Yankees), magazines, home video, film studios, even a toy manufacturer. And while this era seems to be viewed by some as a golden age -- remember that while it was the era in which a network dared to put on the Smothers Brothers despite their open opposition to the vietnam war, it also was the era in which the SMothers Brothers show was pulled off the air and replaced with Hee Haw.

I'm not saying things today are as they should be, but I am saying that simplistic comparisons between the media of the past and today's "corporate" media don't always paint the most accurate picture. Its complicated and only when people recognize that will it be possible to formulate, and hopefully implement, workable reforms.
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