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Nation Topics - Corporate Media and Consolidation | The Nation

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Nation Topics - Corporate Media and Consolidation

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One of the pitfalls of publishing a weekly journal of critical opinion at a moment when the political culture has drifted to the right is that there is so much of which to be critical that we often don't take time out to count our blessings, hail our heroes and salute our comrades in arms. Add to that the liberal left's propensity for internecine warfare (see our editorial on page 3) and the temptation to pass over those guilty of committing good works is often too great to resist. So, let us take a moment to cheer two local heroes whose good works, not incidentally, have benefited Nation writers, among many others, over the years.

First, Bill Moyers. For years, his documentaries, speeches and articles have illuminated such subjects as the way money distorts politics, how secrecy perverts liberty and how, under the flag of free trade, NAFTA has permitted multinationals to undermine democracy. As Moyers (quoting John Dewey) wrote in our pages, it's not easy to interest the public in the public interest. In recent weeks Moyers has been the target of a Weekly Standard demolition job and a misguided assault by the Washington Post's Sebastian Mallaby. He must be doing something right.

Second, Jeff Chester, one-man monitor of concentration among the communications conglomerates, reminds us how we were almost deprived of the good works of Norman Lear. Citing a Writer's Guild of America statement on harmful vertical and horizontal integration in television, he notes that Norman Lear (and his colleague Bud Yorkin) made two pilots for ABC of the controversial series All in the Family. ABC kept asking him to water it down, soften it, blur the edges. Lear refused and took the series to CBS, where he was allowed to follow his vision and create one of the groundbreaking shows of all time. As the WGA notes, "He could do that only because he owned it. Today, the network would have an ownership position and would be able simply to fire Lear and replace him with a writer and producer who would do what they wanted." As a result Lear made his fortune and has used it, among other things, to purchase one of the few surviving original versions of the Declaration of Independence and to found People for the American Way, which fights to put the principles of the Declaration and the Bill of Rights into practice. A recent example: turning the national spotlight on a Bush court nominee with an abominable civil rights record, as described by John Nichols in this week's issue.

We take our hat off to Bill Moyers and Norman Lear.

The Federal Communications Commission is presently conducting an inquiry--a "rulemaking"--to determine whether to relax, or even to eliminate, the remaining few regulations that limit how many me

Media consolidation is creeping in slowly while the public’s attention is elsewhere—is it too late to fight back?

John Stossel has high Q-ratings, so he doesn't have to worry about the rules.

To keep the press free, Ben Franklin made sure that periodicals once got preferential treatment from the USPS. It's time to revisit that idea again.

Cultural critics and producers sound off on Big Media.

Getting serious about media reform: at a standstill now, the media reform movement's time has come.

The rise of the media cartel has been a long time coming. The cultural effects are not new in kind, but the problem has become considerably larger.

Synergy—it's all well and good. But media consolidation's dark side often raises its head.

CNN, regularly derided as 'liberal' by conservative commentators, is only liberal if that word stands for 'somewhat sane.'

Blogs

The merger doesn’t just impact the marketplace of cable; it threatens the marketplace of ideas.

February 18, 2014

Americans can and should say "no" to the consolidation of communications.

February 14, 2014

Eric's weekly reviews and Reed on Murdoch's media empire.

December 13, 2013

The outspoken civil liberties journalist and longtime New York Times editor outlined the changing face of journalism in a wide-ranging debate yesterday.

October 29, 2013

Democracy doesn’t fare well when a few personalities dominate media ownership.

August 16, 2013

In the wake of the news that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post, William Greider looks back on the paper’s glory days.

August 7, 2013

A major PBS funder almost scuttled a film that portrayed him in a negative light. 

May 20, 2013

Industry lobbyists outspent activists 38-1, but a grassroots coalition and dissenting members of Congress appear to have rendered CISPA “dead for now.”

April 26, 2013

Some perspective on the concentration of the press in the power of a few and the dangers of media consolidation.

April 6, 2013

The campaign season earns local television stations enormous sums of money. What should they give back?

August 14, 2012