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Media Consolidation: Monopoly and Conflict of Interest — 2 Comments

  1. There is no question that consolidation and monopoly are bad, and that they are happening – be it media consolidation, business monopoly, or the growing power of the government. The trend is away from grass root democracy, local self-determination, and towards concentration of power at the federal level, concentration of wealth at the corporate level. These are not “right” vs “left” issues. But why do I feel so uncomfortable when I hear the rants of Glenn Beck, while Gordon probably finds Michael Moore similarly abhorrent?
    It seems to me that anything that threatens the status quo is excluded. Yes, a very important film such as David Walker’s I.O.U.S.A. has difficulty being widely disseminated, but so does Michael Moore’s recent critique of Capitalism. So what we have is a situation in which a power-elite has consolidated its monopoly on power, a power-elite to which both major parties belong, as do most large institutions, be they private or public. Call it the military-industrial complex, the media-military-industrial complex, or any other such combination. I suppose C. Wright Mills was right.
    Yet, even though we all agree that there is a power elite which does not have the welfare of the American people at heart, the public (and bloggers) are highly polarized. As I said, some of us have a visceral dislike of certain personalities in such places as Fox News and we remain in awe of President Obama’s inspirational style, while others react in an opposite fashion. How do you explain this?

  2. Rants appeal to emotions and often are a cover for lack of rational and scholarly discussion. As such, both Glenn Beck and Michael Moore’s rants are more for swinging political momentum than solving problems. Moore appeals to the sense of injustice promoted by big corporations and corporate government collusion. What I find problematic in his view is that he calls this capitalism, even though it is a species that behaves more like national socialism. Thus he creates straw men to attack. Glenn Beck, on the other hand, appeals to the sense of personal responsibility and government accountability, but he tends to do so in a way that lets Wall Street off the hook. The problem is that neither Wall Street nor the Federal government have the interests of the citizens in mind. Michael Moore is naive to think that government can regulate itself, and Glenn Beck is naive to think the economy will police itself. Each have a respective role to play, and neither are doing it appropriately.

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