The ACLU and Media Hysteria

by on May 21, 2008 · 36 comments

Over at Techdirt I channel Adam Thierer and take the ACLU to task for its inexplicable decision to weigh in on the media ownership fight. I would think that if anything, as a civil liberties organization they would be on the side of opposing government regulation of private media outlets, but what do I know?

The opinion of the Techdirt readership is almost unanimous in their disagreement with me, but a lot of the comments don’t make a lot of sense. I focused on one specific claim in the ACLU’s press release: that the media universe is controlled by six media companies. This isn’t even close to true, which I documented in some detail. But this seems to have totally gone over the heads of Techdirt’s readers. The commenters either (1) changed the subject to some other media ownership pet peeve (Clear Channel sucks, local news is too concentrated, the media are too liberal, the media are too conservative) or (2) ignored what I wrote altogether, writing as if it were an established fact that 6 companies controlled all media outlets. One representative commenter wrote “having 6 or so conglomerates control the information the non-Techdirt reading elite see is bad.” But as I pointed out, this pseudo-statistic isn’t even close to being right. Even leaving aside Internet sources, there are a lot more than six companies controlling significant media outlets. Maybe the industry is still too concentrated, but the first step is to at least get the facts right.

For reasons I don’t really understand, this seems to be an issue on which peoples’ opinions are particularly impervious to facts and rational argument. For whatever reason, people really hate the media, and so they’ve somehow managed to convince themselves that one of the most fiercely competitive industries around is in fact a cozy oligopoly. It’s not true, but it seems to make people happy to believe it is, and no amount of contrary evidence seems to make an impression on them.

  • Matt N

    For what it’s worth I read the post on Techdirt and agreed with pretty much everything you said. I just didn’t have anything to add to post a comment about.

  • Tim Lee

    Thanks Matt. It’s always hard to tell if the commenters are representative of the audience, or if the most vocal commenters just happen to all be on one side of the issue. Glad to hear not all of Techdirt’s readers think I’m crazy. :-)

  • Matt N

    For what it’s worth I read the post on Techdirt and agreed with pretty much everything you said. I just didn’t have anything to add to post a comment about.

  • Tim Lee

    Thanks Matt. It’s always hard to tell if the commenters are representative of the audience, or if the most vocal commenters just happen to all be on one side of the issue. Glad to hear not all of Techdirt’s readers think I’m crazy. :-)

  • http://www.openmarket.org Ryan Radia

    Tim, we’re losing the media ownership/localism debate big time. And I think that’s because much of what the ACLU folks are arguing isn’t entirely off-base.

    How do we defeat the argument that local news outlets are growing less diverse, and quality local journalism is declining? I cannot deny that despite the Internet and all the great new places to get original news, many Americans who aren’t tech-savvy young urbanites still get most news from the radio, local news station, newspapers, and 24-7 news channels. And even though there are so many voices on the Web dealing with national issues, true original journalism on the local level remains almost entirely the domain of local newspapers and local television stations. Yet there are fewer local newspapers than at any time in recent history, and

    But the Internet has made entry barriers to journalism practically non-existent. If there is massive unmet demand for local journalism, then why haven’t firms entered the marketplace to provide content the ACLU claims is lacking?

    Perhaps the “MSM” did play an instrumental role in leading America to war with Iraq. And I will not deny that our democracy might produce more informed electoral outcomes if major news outlets allocated more time to substantive issues and less time to tabloid stories that appeal to the lowest common denominator.

    Even still, none of this justifies regulation of media ownership. The market has spoken, and it seems a lot of people want to listen to Top 40 music or hear the gruesome details of car chases on their way to work rather than listen to a political journalist digest the latest city council meeting. Not all of us share the same values and interests as the ACLU-types of the world, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Using government to impinge on freedom to advance vague societal objectives has a long history of turning out badly.

  • Ryan Radia

    Tim, we’re losing the media ownership/localism debate big time. And I think that’s because much of what the ACLU folks are arguing isn’t entirely off-base.

    How do we defeat the argument that local news outlets are growing less diverse, and quality local journalism is declining? I cannot deny that despite the Internet and all the great new places to get original news, many Americans who aren’t tech-savvy young urbanites still get most news from the radio, local news station, newspapers, and 24-7 news channels. And even though there are so many voices on the Web dealing with national issues, true original journalism on the local level remains almost entirely the domain of local newspapers and local television stations. Yet there are fewer local newspapers than at any time in recent history, and

    But the Internet has made entry barriers to journalism practically non-existent. If there is massive unmet demand for local journalism, then why haven’t firms entered the marketplace to provide content the ACLU claims is lacking?

    Perhaps the “MSM” did play an instrumental role in leading America to war with Iraq. And I will not deny that our democracy might produce more informed electoral outcomes if major news outlets allocated more time to substantive issues and less time to tabloid stories that appeal to the lowest common denominator.

    Even still, none of this justifies regulation of media ownership. The market has spoken, and it seems a lot of people want to listen to Top 40 music or hear the gruesome details of car chases on their way to work rather than listen to a political journalist digest the latest city council meeting. Not all of us share the same values and interests as the ACLU-types of the world, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Using government to impinge on freedom to advance vague societal objectives has a long history of turning out badly.

  • Tom Sydnor

    Hi, Tim.

    Well, congratulations to both you and Adam for trying to discuss this issue rationally: For reasons that I do not purport to understand, media concentration/consolidation is one of the few issues that makes me grateful for the relative lack of strongly held opinions about copyrights, patents and trademarks. By comparison, even debates about DRM tend to look unpredictable, polite, and characterized by rampant moderation.

    –Tom

  • Tom Sydnor

    Hi, Tim.

    Well, congratulations to both you and Adam for trying to discuss this issue rationally: For reasons that I do not purport to understand, media concentration/consolidation is one of the few issues that makes me grateful for the relative lack of strongly held opinions about copyrights, patents and trademarks. By comparison, even debates about DRM tend to look unpredictable, polite, and characterized by rampant moderation.

    –Tom

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/rumours-of-the-death-of-the-newspaper-have-been-greatly-exaggerated/ enigma_foundry

    It really is very simple.

    The ACLU is more concerned about personal liberties, i.e., those liberties that are held by a natural person, rather than a corporate person.

    Yes, I know the law on this, but the the law is wrong.

    But individuals remain more important than corporations. Why can’t you see something so simple?

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/rumours-of-the-death-of-the-newspaper-have-been-greatly-exaggerated/ enigma_foundry

    It really is very simple.

    The ACLU is more concerned about personal liberties, i.e., those liberties that are held by a natural person, rather than a corporate person.

    Yes, I know the law on this, but the the law is wrong.

    But individuals remain more important than corporations. Why can’t you see something so simple?

  • Timon

    ef,

    The ACLU is also a corporation.

  • Timon

    ef,

    The ACLU is also a corporation.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    They don’t want to be confused by facts.

    The Techdirt audience is mainly pirates, communists, drug addicts, sex offenders, and terrorists, so you should take pride in offending them with your superior empirical foundation and stellar reasoning skills.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    They don’t want to be confused by facts.

    The Techdirt audience is mainly pirates, communists, drug addicts, sex offenders, and terrorists, so you should take pride in offending them with your superior empirical foundation and stellar reasoning skills.

  • Adam Thierer

    For those who care to review the actual FACTS about media diversity and ownership trends over the past three decades, I invite you to peruse my 7-part series on the issue. The rhetoric espoused by the ACLU and many other media critics simply does not mesh with empirical reality:

    #1: Introduction & Analytical Framework (1/16/08)

    #2: Household Access to Media Services & Technologies (1/17/08)
    #3: Ad Wars [a look at advertising competition & substitution] (1/20/08)
    #4: Changing Fortunes [market capitalization comparisons] (1/29/08)

    #5: The Competition for our Ears [audio marketplace analysis] (2/1/08)
    #6: The Video Revolution (3/2/08)
    #7: An Uncertain Future for Newspapers (3/5/08)

    Second, the notion that consolidation is the norm is a myth. In recent years, the volume of divestiture and DE-consolidation activity in the media sector has been quite intense, and many traditional media operators are getting smaller, not bigger. “Traditional media’s numbers are shrinking,” argued FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell in a recent speech. “The ironic truth is,” McDowell continued, that “in many cases, media consolidation has actually become media divestiture. Companies… have been shedding properties to raise capital for new ventures.” A summary of recent media downsizing activity follows below:

    * Viacom-CBS: In March 2005, Viacom announced its intention to split the company into two distinct entities. One company includes CBS Corporation, its television and radio stations, Paramount Television. The other (still called Viacom) includes MTV, Nickelodeon, Showtime and the other cable networks. This split reversed years of growth at Viacom and led Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone to conclude that, “The age of the conglomerate is over.”

    After the split, there was more restructuring at CBS Corp. In May 2006, CBS Corporation announced its intention to sell 39 of radio stations in ten of its smaller markets. Those radio deals were all completed by late November 2007. In February 2007, CBS also divested seven of its owned television stations to Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. for $185 million. CBS also sold off its Paramount Parks amusement part assets in the summer of 2006.

    Summarizing its recent divestiture activity, CBS’s third quarter 2007 earning report noted: “When comparing full year 2007 to 2006 on a reported basis, revenues will be down 2% to 3% as we have disposed of certain lower-margin, slower-growth assets, including 39 radio stations, 9 television stations, UPN, and the non-renewal of several of our urban outdoor transit contracts.”

    * Clear Channel: Throughout the 1990s, Clear Channel Communications, Inc. was a major acquirer of media properties—especially radio stations. In recent years, however, the firm has completely reversed course and has been selling off a wide variety of assets. (The firm has also agreed to a $19.5 billion buyout by a private-equity group led by Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners L.P).

    On the radio side of its business, Clear Channel once held almost 1,200 radio station in 2000, but has been shedding assets rapidly since that time. In November 2006, the firm announced its intention to sell 448 (roughly one-third) of the 1,150 radio stations it held at that time. Those stations are located in 90 small markets across the U.S. Once all the transactions are complete, Clear Channel will own less than 6% of all radio station licenses in the U.S., down from a high of roughly 9% percent in 2004.
    Clear Channel has also exited the television business entirely. In April 2007, the firm announced it would sell its television stations to Providence Equity Partners Inc. for approximately $1.2 billion. The sale included over 50 television stations located in 24 markets across the United States. Providence Equity established a new holding company known as Newport Television, LLC to manage the TV stations it acquired from Clear Channel. But Newport Television also announced its intention to sell seven of those stations to other companies after the deal closed. Finally, in December 2005, Clear Channel completed the spin-off of its former live entertainment segment, which now operates under the name Live Nation.

    * Walt Disney Co.: In June 2007, the Walt Disney Company finalized the sale of its entire ABC Radio Holdings division to Citadel Broadcasting Corporation. The division consisting of 22 large-market radio stations and the ABC Radio Network, but the deal did not include Disney’s ESPN Radio or Radio Disney network.

    * News Corporation: Although News Corp.’s recent acquisition of The Wall Street Journal generated a great deal of fanfare, less well-known is the company’s move to divest other important assets. For example, in December 2006, just three years after acquiring satellite TV provider DirecTV, News Corp. took steps to divest the company to Liberty Media Corporation. And in December 2007, News Corp. announced that it will be shedding 8 of its Fox-affiliated TV stations in mid-sized markets. News Corp. is selling the stations to Oak Hill Capital Partners for about $1.1 billion in cash. The sale leaves News Corp. with just 27 owned-and-operated Fox TV stations, most of which are located in major media markets.

    * Time Warner: Time Warner’s mega-merger with AOL in 2000 received wall-to-wall coverage and apocalyptic-minded critics claimed it represented “Big Brother,” “the end of the independent press,” and a harbinger of a “new totalitarianism.” But the marriage has been falling apart ever since and Time Warner has been shedding assets continuously since then since the hoped-for “synergies” never really materialized. In fact, by April of 2002, just two years after the marriage took place, the firm had reported a staggering $54 billion loss. Losses grew to $99 billion by January of 2003. And then in September of 2003, Time Warner decided to drop AOL from its name altogether. It would be an understatement to say that the merger failed to create the sort of synergies (and profits) that were originally hoped for. Indeed, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2006, Time Warner President Jeffrey Bewkes famously declared the death of “synergy” and went so far as to call synergy “bull—t”!

    It was unsurprising, therefore, when Time Warner’s Time magazine division announced in September 2006 that it was putting 18 of its 50 magazines up for sale. In early 2008, it decided to shed AOL’s dial-up service. And, most recently, the company announced the spin-off of its Time Warner Cable unit. More divestiture appears to be in the cards in coming years for the company.

    * Emmis Communications: Emmis Communications is a diversified media company that mostly focuses on radio broadcasting. In May 2005, Emmis announced its intent to sell some or all of the sixteen television stations they owned at the time. Over the following two years, Emmis sold all but one of those stations.

    * E. W. Scripps Company: In October 2007, the E.W. Scripps Company, one of the America’s oldest media operations, announced a plan to split up its operations into two separate entities. One company, which will still be called E.W. Scripps, will cover “old media” print properties and stick to covering local markets. The other company, which will be called Scripps Network Interactive, will focus on “new media” efforts of an interactive nature and with national scope.

    * Knight Ridder: Knight Ridder, Inc., once one of the most powerful newspaper chains in the United States, was dissolved in 2007 after its remaining papers were acquired by the McClatchy Company in June 2006. However, McClatchy immediately sold 12 of the 32 Knight Ridder papers, as well as a variety of other investments in Internet and technology companies. Those transactions were completed by August of 2006.

    * New York Times Company: In September 2006, the New York Times Company announced its intention to sell its entire Broadcast Media Group, which includes nine network-affiliated television stations and their related properties. Those stations were sold to Oak Hill Capital, a private equity firm, in May 2007 and became a new station group called Local TV.

    * Belo Corporation: In October 2007, Belo Corporation announced it would break its media operations into two separate entities. Its newspaper business, which includes The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal, and a few smaller papers, will be spun off into a new company called the A. H. Belo Corporation. Its television business, which consists of 20 TV stations and some cable properties, will remain as the Belo Corporation.

    * IAC/Interactive Corp.: In November 2007, media conglomerate IAC/Interactive Corp. announced it would be splitting into 5 different companies. IAC, which previously controlled more than 60 brands, will now be separated from Ticketmaster, the Home Shopping Network, Lending Tree.com, and Interval International. IAC will continue to control the company’s popular web properties such as Bloglines, Citysearch, Evite, Excite, Match.com, and ServiceMagic.

  • http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/ Seth Finkelstein

    Richard, that’s funny, in an over-the-top way. If I didn’t know you were serious, I would have thought you were being sarcastic.

    Tim, I believe you’ve read my essay Libertarianism Makes You Stupid. Seriously, note the points I make about simplistic axioms and how they can lead one astray. That’s what’s going on with the Libertarian view of media consolidation debate.

  • http://www.techliberation.com Adam Thierer

    For those who care to review the actual FACTS about media diversity and ownership trends over the past three decades, I invite you to peruse my 7-part series on the issue. The rhetoric espoused by the ACLU and many other media critics simply does not mesh with empirical reality:

    #1: Introduction & Analytical Framework (1/16/08)

    #2: Household Access to Media Services & Technologies (1/17/08)
    #3: Ad Wars [a look at advertising competition & substitution] (1/20/08)
    #4: Changing Fortunes [market capitalization comparisons] (1/29/08)

    #5: The Competition for our Ears [audio marketplace analysis] (2/1/08)
    #6: The Video Revolution (3/2/08)
    #7: An Uncertain Future for Newspapers (3/5/08)

    Second, the notion that consolidation is the norm is a myth. In recent years, the volume of divestiture and DE-consolidation activity in the media sector has been quite intense, and many traditional media operators are getting smaller, not bigger. “Traditional media’s numbers are shrinking,” argued FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell in a recent speech. “The ironic truth is,” McDowell continued, that “in many cases, media consolidation has actually become media divestiture. Companies… have been shedding properties to raise capital for new ventures.” A summary of recent media downsizing activity follows below:

    * Viacom-CBS: In March 2005, Viacom announced its intention to split the company into two distinct entities. One company includes CBS Corporation, its television and radio stations, Paramount Television. The other (still called Viacom) includes MTV, Nickelodeon, Showtime and the other cable networks. This split reversed years of growth at Viacom and led Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone to conclude that, “The age of the conglomerate is over.”

    After the split, there was more restructuring at CBS Corp. In May 2006, CBS Corporation announced its intention to sell 39 of radio stations in ten of its smaller markets. Those radio deals were all completed by late November 2007. In February 2007, CBS also divested seven of its owned television stations to Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. for $185 million. CBS also sold off its Paramount Parks amusement part assets in the summer of 2006.

    Summarizing its recent divestiture activity, CBS’s third quarter 2007 earning report noted: “When comparing full year 2007 to 2006 on a reported basis, revenues will be down 2% to 3% as we have disposed of certain lower-margin, slower-growth assets, including 39 radio stations, 9 television stations, UPN, and the non-renewal of several of our urban outdoor transit contracts.”

    * Clear Channel: Throughout the 1990s, Clear Channel Communications, Inc. was a major acquirer of media properties—especially radio stations. In recent years, however, the firm has completely reversed course and has been selling off a wide variety of assets. (The firm has also agreed to a $19.5 billion buyout by a private-equity group led by Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners L.P).

    On the radio side of its business, Clear Channel once held almost 1,200 radio station in 2000, but has been shedding assets rapidly since that time. In November 2006, the firm announced its intention to sell 448 (roughly one-third) of the 1,150 radio stations it held at that time. Those stations are located in 90 small markets across the U.S. Once all the transactions are complete, Clear Channel will own less than 6% of all radio station licenses in the U.S., down from a high of roughly 9% percent in 2004.
    Clear Channel has also exited the television business entirely. In April 2007, the firm announced it would sell its television stations to Providence Equity Partners Inc. for approximately $1.2 billion. The sale included over 50 television stations located in 24 markets across the United States. Providence Equity established a new holding company known as Newport Television, LLC to manage the TV stations it acquired from Clear Channel. But Newport Television also announced its intention to sell seven of those stations to other companies after the deal closed. Finally, in December 2005, Clear Channel completed the spin-off of its former live entertainment segment, which now operates under the name Live Nation.

    * Walt Disney Co.: In June 2007, the Walt Disney Company finalized the sale of its entire ABC Radio Holdings division to Citadel Broadcasting Corporation. The division consisting of 22 large-market radio stations and the ABC Radio Network, but the deal did not include Disney’s ESPN Radio or Radio Disney network.

    * News Corporation: Although News Corp.’s recent acquisition of The Wall Street Journal generated a great deal of fanfare, less well-known is the company’s move to divest other important assets. For example, in December 2006, just three years after acquiring satellite TV provider DirecTV, News Corp. took steps to divest the company to Liberty Media Corporation. And in December 2007, News Corp. announced that it will be shedding 8 of its Fox-affiliated TV stations in mid-sized markets. News Corp. is selling the stations to Oak Hill Capital Partners for about $1.1 billion in cash. The sale leaves News Corp. with just 27 owned-and-operated Fox TV stations, most of which are located in major media markets.

    * Time Warner: Time Warner’s mega-merger with AOL in 2000 received wall-to-wall coverage and apocalyptic-minded critics claimed it represented “Big Brother,” “the end of the independent press,” and a harbinger of a “new totalitarianism.” But the marriage has been falling apart ever since and Time Warner has been shedding assets continuously since then since the hoped-for “synergies” never really materialized. In fact, by April of 2002, just two years after the marriage took place, the firm had reported a staggering $54 billion loss. Losses grew to $99 billion by January of 2003. And then in September of 2003, Time Warner decided to drop AOL from its name altogether. It would be an understatement to say that the merger failed to create the sort of synergies (and profits) that were originally hoped for. Indeed, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal in 2006, Time Warner President Jeffrey Bewkes famously declared the death of “synergy” and went so far as to call synergy “bull—t”!

    It was unsurprising, therefore, when Time Warner’s Time magazine division announced in September 2006 that it was putting 18 of its 50 magazines up for sale. In early 2008, it decided to shed AOL’s dial-up service. And, most recently, the company announced the spin-off of its Time Warner Cable unit. More divestiture appears to be in the cards in coming years for the company.

    * Emmis Communications: Emmis Communications is a diversified media company that mostly focuses on radio broadcasting. In May 2005, Emmis announced its intent to sell some or all of the sixteen television stations they owned at the time. Over the following two years, Emmis sold all but one of those stations.

    * E. W. Scripps Company: In October 2007, the E.W. Scripps Company, one of the America’s oldest media operations, announced a plan to split up its operations into two separate entities. One company, which will still be called E.W. Scripps, will cover “old media” print properties and stick to covering local markets. The other company, which will be called Scripps Network Interactive, will focus on “new media” efforts of an interactive nature and with national scope.

    * Knight Ridder: Knight Ridder, Inc., once one of the most powerful newspaper chains in the United States, was dissolved in 2007 after its remaining papers were acquired by the McClatchy Company in June 2006. However, McClatchy immediately sold 12 of the 32 Knight Ridder papers, as well as a variety of other investments in Internet and technology companies. Those transactions were completed by August of 2006.

    * New York Times Company: In September 2006, the New York Times Company announced its intention to sell its entire Broadcast Media Group, which includes nine network-affiliated television stations and their related properties. Those stations were sold to Oak Hill Capital, a private equity firm, in May 2007 and became a new station group called Local TV.

    * Belo Corporation: In October 2007, Belo Corporation announced it would break its media operations into two separate entities. Its newspaper business, which includes The Dallas Morning News, The Providence Journal, and a few smaller papers, will be spun off into a new company called the A. H. Belo Corporation. Its television business, which consists of 20 TV stations and some cable properties, will remain as the Belo Corporation.

    * IAC/Interactive Corp.: In November 2007, media conglomerate IAC/Interactive Corp. announced it would be splitting into 5 different companies. IAC, which previously controlled more than 60 brands, will now be separated from Ticketmaster, the Home Shopping Network, Lending Tree.com, and Interval International. IAC will continue to control the company’s popular web properties such as Bloglines, Citysearch, Evite, Excite, Match.com, and ServiceMagic.

  • http://sethf.com/infothought/blog/ Seth Finkelstein

    Richard, that’s funny, in an over-the-top way. If I didn’t know you were serious, I would have thought you were being sarcastic.

    Tim, I believe you’ve read my essay Libertarianism Makes You Stupid. Seriously, note the points I make about simplistic axioms and how they can lead one astray. That’s what’s going on with the Libertarian view of media consolidation debate.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    It strikes me as odd to be complaining about media consolidation when dead tree newspapers are dying and we have access to national and global media at the click of a mouse. I read the British press regularly, as an example. Their Guardian newspaper has some of the planet’s best technology writing, and their online tech rag, The Register, is the best of its kind on the planet.

    Media consolidation is one of those 20th century issues that’s best filed away along with Global Cooling as a disaster that never happened.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    That’s sadly what I mean by a simplistic theory. It’s like saying “It strikes me as odd to be complaining about dominance of (US) politics by the Democrats and Republicans, when the Internet is revolutizing community and we have access to the greatest political thought in the world at the click of a mouse”. I suspect you’d be able to see what’s problematic there.

    By the way, the supposed past “Global Cooling” scare is very much a made-up issue by professional liars who are trying to discredit current science. And that sort of proves my point. The accurate information being available DOES NOT MATTER. It depends more on who has the money to get a lie into the propagation system.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    It strikes me as odd to be complaining about media consolidation when dead tree newspapers are dying and we have access to national and global media at the click of a mouse. I read the British press regularly, as an example. Their Guardian newspaper has some of the planet’s best technology writing, and their online tech rag, The Register, is the best of its kind on the planet.

    Media consolidation is one of those 20th century issues that’s best filed away along with Global Cooling as a disaster that never happened.

  • http://sethf.com/ Seth Finkelstein

    That’s sadly what I mean by a simplistic theory. It’s like saying “It strikes me as odd to be complaining about dominance of (US) politics by the Democrats and Republicans, when the Internet is revolutizing community and we have access to the greatest political thought in the world at the click of a mouse”. I suspect you’d be able to see what’s problematic there.

    By the way, the supposed past “Global Cooling” scare is very much a made-up issue by professional liars who are trying to discredit current science. And that sort of proves my point. The accurate information being available DOES NOT MATTER. It depends more on who has the money to get a lie into the propagation system.

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/2007/10/04/the-riaa-loses-but-doesnt-realize-it-or-boycotting-the-riaa-has-never-made-more-sense-or-been-easier/ enigma_foundry

    Seth:
    Great post and reply.

    @ Adam:

    You propose doing away with the current regulations concerning media ownership, but the only argument that you ever make as to why the elimination of the present rules is that “media would be more profitable with out those rules.”

    But the primary importance of media in society is NOT the fact that it is a profit making agency, but that it fosters a diverse and energetic public debate.

    Given the several issues of importance, exhibit number 1 being the Iraq War, regarding which there was NOT timely, adequate public debate, a case could be made that we need much more media de-consolidation, not less, and I find it doubtful that would be achievable without the strengthening of the media ownership rules.

    Another point which I have made frequently and no one at TLF has ever responded to in a substantive way is that media does not necessarily need to be run as a for profit business. I have provided several articles in which media is being run as a not for profit, and is evidently fullfilling its socially normative roles.

    http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/rumours-of-the-death-of-the-newspaper-have-been-greatly-exaggerated/

    Given that media can function perfectly well as a not-for profit, I question what Adam’s motive are for demanding that a few large corporations be allowed to buy up the media, and that reason is directly connected to Seth’s comment above. If corporations are allowed to go on a media buying spree, we will hear news that fits in with the for profit agenda that is right now today destroying the planet.

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/2007/10/04/the-riaa-loses-but-doesnt-realize-it-or-boycotting-the-riaa-has-never-made-more-sense-or-been-easier/ enigma_foundry

    @ Timon:

    I am referring to a for-profit corporation, rather than a 501(c)

    http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/form990.pdf

    Not-for-profits behave differently as their motivations are very different. A for profit corporation is a profit seeking automaton, and that’s OK up to a point. That point is when market failures occur and society is harmed by that profit seeking behavior, for example when a company builds a factory that pollutes, creating a burden on society while extracting a private wealth. Those market failures are why we need governments.

    Not for profit’s represent the interests and values of those who contribute. The Audubon Society, Friends of the Earth, PETA, the ACLU foundation all have record that speak to their interest in a larger social good. ExxonMobil, for example does not have such a record, but has selfishly put billions of people at grave risk for the sake of their profits:

    http://www.exxonsecrets.org

    Of course there is a special-case exception to the above general rule: when the not for profits are funded by for profits, they again represent the interests and value of their contributors, but their contributors have no larger goal in sight:

    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/listorganizations.php

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/2007/10/04/the-riaa-loses-but-doesnt-realize-it-or-boycotting-the-riaa-has-never-made-more-sense-or-been-easier/ enigma_foundry

    Seth:
    Great post and reply.

    @ Adam:

    You propose doing away with the current regulations concerning media ownership, but the only argument that you ever make as to why the elimination of the present rules is that “media would be more profitable with out those rules.”

    But the primary importance of media in society is NOT the fact that it is a profit making agency, but that it fosters a diverse and energetic public debate.

    Given the several issues of importance, exhibit number 1 being the Iraq War, regarding which there was NOT timely, adequate public debate, a case could be made that we need much more media de-consolidation, not less, and I find it doubtful that would be achievable without the strengthening of the media ownership rules.

    Another point which I have made frequently and no one at TLF has ever responded to in a substantive way is that media does not necessarily need to be run as a for profit business. I have provided several articles in which media is being run as a not for profit, and is evidently fullfilling its socially normative roles.

    http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/2008/03/05/r

    Given that media can function perfectly well as a not-for profit, I question what Adam’s motive are for demanding that a few large corporations be allowed to buy up the media, and that reason is directly connected to Seth’s comment above. If corporations are allowed to go on a media buying spree, we will hear news that fits in with the for profit agenda that is right now today destroying the planet.

  • http://enigmafoundry.wordpress.com/2007/10/04/the-riaa-loses-but-doesnt-realize-it-or-boycotting-the-riaa-has-never-made-more-sense-or-been-easier/ enigma_foundry

    @ Timon:

    I am referring to a for-profit corporation, rather than a 501(c)

    http://www.aclu.org/pdfs/form990.pdf

    Not-for-profits behave differently as their motivations are very different. A for profit corporation is a profit seeking automaton, and that’s OK up to a point. That point is when market failures occur and society is harmed by that profit seeking behavior, for example when a company builds a factory that pollutes, creating a burden on society while extracting a private wealth. Those market failures are why we need governments.

    Not for profit’s represent the interests and values of those who contribute. The Audubon Society, Friends of the Earth, PETA, the ACLU foundation all have record that speak to their interest in a larger social good. ExxonMobil, for example does not have such a record, but has selfishly put billions of people at grave risk for the sake of their profits:

    http://www.exxonsecrets.org

    Of course there is a special-case exception to the above general rule: when the not for profits are funded by for profits, they again represent the interests and value of their contributors, but their contributors have no larger goal in sight:

    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/listorganizati

  • Timon

    ef,

    9/10ths of the stupidity and aggravation in the world can be laid at the feet of non-profits — churches, English Departments, madrassas, PETA, The Progress and Freedom Foundation. I don’t think your analysis holds, and it is not clear that Google’s contribution to the “larger social good” is less than Scientology’s.

    You seem to be in a kind of denial of the fact that George Bush is president, that the big question in Washington at the moment is how much stolen money to pour down the gullet of agribusiness, and that the government you are demanding should enforce fairness and diversity is the most prolific jailer since chroot. (Forgive me.) It isn’t that I don’t think, for example, that a free market in agricultural products would be free from “failure”, or that there are no megalomaniacal CEO’s, I just doubt that they would be worse than what we have.

    @Seth,

    Congratulations for demolishing the ridiculous ogre of the Rand-reading commenter. Clearly belongs in the “major” section of any online collection of personal insights.

  • Timon

    ef,

    9/10ths of the stupidity and aggravation in the world can be laid at the feet of non-profits — churches, English Departments, madrassas, PETA, The Progress and Freedom Foundation. I don’t think your analysis holds, and it is not clear that Google’s contribution to the “larger social good” is less than Scientology’s.

    You seem to be in a kind of denial of the fact that George Bush is president, that the big question in Washington at the moment is how much stolen money to pour down the gullet of agribusiness, and that the government you are demanding should enforce fairness and diversity is the most prolific jailer since chroot. (Forgive me.) It isn’t that I don’t think, for example, that a free market in agricultural products would be free from “failure”, or that there are no megalomaniacal CEO’s, I just doubt that they would be worse than what we have.

    @Seth,

    Congratulations for demolishing the ridiculous ogre of the Rand-reading commenter. Clearly belongs in the “major” section of any online collection of personal insights.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    This is an odd analogy: “It strikes me as odd to be complaining about dominance of (US) politics by the Democrats and Republicans, when the Internet is revolutizing community and we have access to the greatest political thought in the world at the click of a mouse.”

    Here’s an alternate take: “It strikes me as odd to be complaining about the dominance of sexual reproduction by males and females when technology has provided us with cloning, in-vitro, and surrogacy.”

    But seriously, the consolidation of local media into integrated combines of the daily newspaper, a TV station, and a radio station strikes me as a rational response to the reduction in advertising revenues for these outlets brought about by the Internet. Internet media is the fourth player, and there’s no lack of diversity in the tubes.

    I don’t think the government should be engaged in gender and ethnic discrimination, but that has nothing to do with any political philosophy I may hold, it comes from the sense that manipulation of outcomes along those lines is simply wrong.

  • http://bennett.com/blog Richard Bennett

    This is an odd analogy: “It strikes me as odd to be complaining about dominance of (US) politics by the Democrats and Republicans, when the Internet is revolutizing community and we have access to the greatest political thought in the world at the click of a mouse.”

    Here’s an alternate take: “It strikes me as odd to be complaining about the dominance of sexual reproduction by males and females when technology has provided us with cloning, in-vitro, and surrogacy.”

    But seriously, the consolidation of local media into integrated combines of the daily newspaper, a TV station, and a radio station strikes me as a rational response to the reduction in advertising revenues for these outlets brought about by the Internet. Internet media is the fourth player, and there’s no lack of diversity in the tubes.

    I don’t think the government should be engaged in gender and ethnic discrimination, but that has nothing to do with any political philosophy I may hold, it comes from the sense that manipulation of outcomes along those lines is simply wrong.

  • Pingback: buy nono hair removal walmart

  • Pingback: buy adipex p online

  • Pingback: The Tao of Badass

  • Pingback: Cigarette electronique

  • Pingback: garcinia cambogia

  • Pingback: Source

Previous post:

Next post: