As James points out, there’s already a lot of huffin’-and-puffin’ going on about Rupert Murdoch’s deal for The Wall Street Journal. (Just look at the silly things that presidential candidate John Edwards had to say today about it). The City Journal has just posted an editorial I have written responding to this hysteria…
“Rupert Murdoch, Meet Chicken Little”
by Adam Thierer
Help, the sky is falling! So say the pro-regulation media agitators at Free Press, which fired off what is sure to be the first of many hysteria-ridden press releases about Rupert Murdoch’s successful acquisition of the Wall Street Journal and its parent company, Dow Jones & Co. “This takeover is bad news for anyone who cares about quality journalism and a healthy democracy,” argued Robert W. McChesney, president of Free Press. “Giving any single company—let alone one controlled by Rupert Murdoch—this much media power is unconscionable.”
The argument that the Murdoch–Dow Jones marriage will have a significant impact on American journalism or democracy is absurd. Don’t get me wrong. The Journal is a great paper; in my opinion, it represents the pinnacle of journalistic excellence. Nonetheless, it’s just one of many voices shouting to be heard in today’s media cacophony. Indeed, the modern media marketplace is extraordinarily dynamic, with new outlets and technologies developing constantly. Despite the existence of a handful of very large conglomerates, dozens of other important media companies continue to thrive and fill important niches that the big firms have missed. As Columbia University’s Eli Noam has noted of the modern media marketplace, “While the fish in the pond have grown in size, the pond did grow, too, and there have been new fish and new ponds.”
Read the rest of the piece here.