Monday, April 30, 2007

The airwaves

I came across a column today by David Sirota called Disturbing Questions on a Monday Morning. It's just a collection of stuff that is bothering him and I want to show you what he has to say about the radio situation in this country:

- Does George Will really believe Americans are stupid, or is he stupid? In Will's column for Newsweek this week, he says America's media presents truly diverse voices because "there are 14,000 radio stations—twice as many as in 1970—and satellite radio has nearly 14 million subscribers." What Will doesn't say is that while the number of stations may have increased, the number of owners of stations has dramatically decreased - and as we all know, ownership decides content. According to the nonpartisan Project for Excellence In Journalism, "the top 20 companies own more than 20 percent of all domestic radio stations." Meanwhile, two companies (XM and Sirius) own all of satellite radio. So the question again, is whether George Will is too stupid to actually research these facts before writing a column, or does he think Americans are just stupid enough to believe his propaganda?

- Part 2 of "does George Will really believe Americans are idiots, or is he an idiot?" In his column, Will cites the willingness of media companies to promote right-wing voices and the difficulty of progressive voices from getting the same treatment as proof that progressives can't "compete in the marketplace of ideas." He says "consumer sovereignty" is choosing conservative voices. Yet, he says nothing about the fact that, with the media now owned by a handful of for-profit corporations that simultaneously use their Washington lobbying clout to push for all sorts of conservative policies, those media owners that decide who to put on the air have a personal/financial stake in promoting conservative voices. Does Will really think Americans are so stupid that they don't know that companies owned by conservatives will put conservatives on the airwaves they own, and that such a decision has nothing to do with "consumer sovereignty?" Or is Will too stupid to understand that basic truism?

I've been very disturbed by the reduced number of media owners for some time. And, needless to say, George Will does unsavory things to my blood pressure.

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