Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(960 posts)
Fri Apr 29, 2016, 01:42 PM Apr 2016

Twenty Years of Media Consolidation Has Not Been Good For Our Democracy

The media has become controlled by a handful of corporations thanks to the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

This post originally appeared at Truthout.

Wall Street’s sinister influence on the political process has, rightly, been a major topic during this presidential campaign. But history has taught us that the role that the media industry plays in Washington poses a comparable threat to our democracy. Yet this is a topic rarely discussed by the dominant media, or on the campaign trail.


Hillary Clinton types on her keyboard during a Reddit chat in Detroit, MI on March 6, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Hillary for America on Flickr)
If Presidential Candidates Love the Internet, They Need to Set It Free
But now is a good time to discuss our growing media crises. Twenty years ago last month, President Bill Clinton signed the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The act, signed into law on February 8, 1996, was “essentially bought and paid for by corporate media lobbies,” as Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) described it, and radically “opened the floodgates on mergers.”

The negative impact of the law cannot be overstated. The law, which was the first major reform of telecommunications policy since 1934, according to media scholar Robert McChesney, “is widely considered to be one of the three or four most important federal laws of this generation.” The act dramatically reduced important Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations on cross ownership, and allowed giant corporations to buy up thousands of media outlets across the country, increasing their monopoly on the flow of information in the United States and around the world.

Latest Discussions»General Discussion»Twenty Years of Media Con...