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Media conglomerates cannot make media diversity any worse than it has been. They’re more likely to make it better. 7/12/07

Posted by Steve Boriss in Conglomerates, Media diversity.
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There is a movement underway in North America that seems quite detached from reality. A “Stop the Big Media Takeover” web site warns us that a handful of big media conglomerates are snatching-up news properties, tightening their grasp on news content. We are advised that these corporations threaten “media diversity,” which is the “cornerstone of democracy.”

Yes, it is an excellent point — media diversity is vital to democracy. But, how can anyone who is intellectually honest argue that this is what we have had in America, and I’ll assume Canada as well, over the last few decades? No matter what major news outlet we turn to — our large metro daily newspapers, the NY Times, Washington Post, ABC, CBS, NBC, the Associated Press, Time or Newsweek Magazine — we are exposed to a strikingly similar list of stories and news angles — a remarkable coincidence in a country as large as ours with an infinite number of possible stories and angles. It is not this way everywhere. London newspapers show a great deal of diversity — from right to left and from the staid to the sensational. And it goes without saying that diversity is a hallmark of emerging Internet news and opinion sites and blogs.

Corporations make easy whipping boys because, in fact, they ARE driven almost entirely by greed and the search for profits. But let’s also acknowledge that they can’t get those profits without offering news consumers diverse voices with which they can identify. We may not always like the result when media conglomerates gear their news to the masses or subgroups, but if this is not “democracy,” what is? (Hat tip: Marty Hirst)

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