There is no reason to believe that media consolidation will allow media to provide better community coverage. One of my relatives works at a local TV news station that has suffered severely from the philosophy of its corporate owners. In their view, the same standardized approach to news, dominated by sensationalism, can be applied to any TV market in the country. On-air personnel are treated as interchangeable parts. Coverage of local sports, community events, and politics other than elections is virtually gone, replaced by car crashes, fires, and other small disasters that are unimportant to the community at large. The station’s competitors, run by other media conglomerates, are somewhat less soulless, but all are affected by the ruthless corporate demand for lower expenditures—meaning fewer employees and less initiative.

    The argument about the diversity of sources in the Internet age has merit, but it is a gross exaggeration to say that people are “utterly unlikely to be swayed by constantly repeated messages across multiple ‘major media’.” Countless people across the country are thoroughly convinced that President Obama is some outlandish socialist, whether they hear it from Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News or Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal. The rise of user-generated news sources has brought much more information to light, but it’s not just good information. There’s no guarantee that the blogger who exposes a local politician’s corruption will get more Web traffic than the blogger who, fancying himself a journalist, constructs an elaborate aliens-and-stargates conspiracy theory around some shlub from Tennessee who calls himself Rockefeller and claims to be Marduk Ra and Lucifer Reborn. That’s an extreme (but real) example, but the point is that user-generated content has few filters to distinguish good information from bad. The filters in corporate media, in contrast, are as strong as ever but are increasingly skewed less toward what’s useful for the public and more toward what serves the corporate agenda. There has to be a way to restore that balance, and I see no reason to believe that allowing corporations more free rein will do that.

  • VagaBond61

    There are even more people convinced that Obama is the Greatest thing since corn flakes. How about some objectivity for a change, rather than all the feel good BS and literaly no coverage of the real truth behind anything out of the mans mouth. After watching the last two elections I have lost ALL faith in mainstrem media.