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  xThursday, April 24, 2003

bob edwards r0x0rz!


Check out this great op-ed by NPR host Bob Edwards (who, like me, calls Louisville his home town), in which he takes on media concentration and the complacency of the so-called "liberal media."
Kentucky journalism and broadcasting have changed drastically since I left here 33 years ago. Back then, you owned it. Your major newspapers, television and radio stations were owned and operated by Kentuckians. Today home ownership is pretty much confined to small-town weeklies, KET and the public radio stations. Your major daily newspapers are now provincial outposts for absentee corporate owners who expect profit margins of 20 to 30 percent. The managers of your TV stations report to bosses far away who care less about the stations' community service and journalistic exposés than they care about how those stations are contributing to the share price of corporate stock.

...It's kind of a cruel, ironic joke. The rise of cable TV and the Internet were supposed to democratize the media and give us many voices and numerous points of view. Instead, market forces and deregulation have clobbered diversity. The networks and cable channels have the same owners -- Hollywood studios, mainly -- and the most popular Web sites for news are those of news organizations firmly established before the Web was spun.

I might interject here that this sorry situation did not come about by accident, but by Congress overturning legislation aimed at preventing just such a thing, with the intense lobbying of corporate media, of course.
...[R]emember what the news looked like in the days and weeks before the war began? ...There was a lot about that woman who accidentally ran over her husband three or four times with the family car until his cheating butt was good and dead. And then there were all those interviews with the yutzes who are on those so-called "reality" TV shows. In other words, what passed for news was a lot of stuff that had no bearing on your life whatsoever. But it was titillating, and it might have kept you from reaching for the zapper and tuning in the ballgame -- which is the whole point of doing tabloid stories and celebrity gossip and calling it news.


(continued in the next post)





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