"We're Going to Break Up Giant Media Enterprises"

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Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean says he's going to follow the rules of capitalism, which are, Dean-style, that he gets to decide how big a business enterprise can be.

He tells Chris Matthews on MSNBC's Hardball, according to this transcript via Drudge, that Rupert Murdoch's Fox interests will have to be broken up. He's cagier, though, about whether GE, owner of the network on which he speaks, will specifically be targeted, saying, "Yes, we`re going to break up giant media enterprises. That doesn`t mean we`re going to break up all of GE. What we`re going to do is say that media enterprises can`t be as big as they are today. I don`t think we actually have to break them up, which Teddy Roosevelt had to do with the leftovers from the McKinley administration."

It will be interesting to see how this affects the way these media conglomerates report on him. My suspicion is that it will make no noticable difference.

NEXT: Cut the Shi'ite

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  1. Is there anyone in favor of letting the big media enterprises get bigger? Or is it just the ‘dean gets to decide’ line that is at issue here??

    Lets be honest, media giants is the problem with how news is reported in america. How does Michael Jackson trump both the war, and the presidential debates?? I’ll tell you how, media giants decide Jackson is more important.

    78% of americans last week responded to an MSNBC poll asking what was the most important news story of last month with, Michael Jackson… HELLO. The sheepole of america need to start growing a brain. FOX, MSNBC, and CNN are dumbing down america in droves. When 70% of FOX viewers are not sure if we found WMD in Iraq, that should send a wake up call ….

    Or is someone seriously going to argue for one media outlet to have control over what americans find newsworthy??

  2. just wondering, you must be high. Either media outlets are free to deliver the news or they’re not, and apparently you don’t like this freedom. There are countless outlets to get the news and the problem is not the government has allowed them to do what they want, but the opposite. And apparently Dean (and just wondering) prefer a world where the government decides what’s news and what’s not. People like just wondering believe in a top-down command newscenter, telling the idiotic people what’s the truth since they could never figure it out by themselves.

  3. Media conglomerates can only get as big as they with serious government interference. So we are once again observing the spectacle of a libertarian arguing for a government-intensive status quo.

    Not bad, but you’ve got a ways to go before you reach the levels of absurdity reached by that AEI twit who defended different CAFE levels for cars and SUVs on this site a few months ago.

  4. Funny that Dean should mention Murdoch and FOX. I wonder what he has in store for Turner and CNN.

  5. ummmm… gee anon…

    where exactly did I mention government intervention?? Must be in your vivid imagination… or do you enjoy you news served up with a bit of patriotisim and a smattering of bias…and add a little sex to spice things up.

    All I asked was, how exactly are 2 or 3 large corporate media giants GOOD for the news??

    But of course Faux news IS the news of choice for americans….

  6. just wondering is obviously wrong in everything he says. Let’s look at a simple claim he makes, the condescending argument that Michael Jackson trumps the war in coverage. Wrong, of course. The War has been reported on endlessly, and you can spend all your time on it, if you like. The MJ story is presently hot, and fascinating to the the public (the public that seems to think more freely than just wondering), so of course there’ll be some concentration on it, even though it’s still not nearly as much as the war gets. And in the long run, when all is said and done, the War will get about 1000 times more attention than MJ.

    But more infuriating is just wondering thinks that MJ gets too much coverage (a cliched sentiment you hear repeated all over the same Big Media that just wondering think’s he’s smarter than) because “media giants” have decided this. Sorry, jw, but this paranoid view of news, where a few rich people smoking cigars in a big room is false. In actuality, everyone is going crazy trying to figure out what the people want (something the princely just wondering opposes, hoping instead the superior people in government will deign to let us know what we should want) and so they throw out a diverse amount of stuff, including 24-hours a day serious discussion of the Iraqi War and its consequences if anyone cares to go down that route.

  7. just wondering, in his second post, is once again wrong about everything. There are many many media outlets. He confuses popularity among audience with sources. That said, even having only 2 or 3 would be better than government regulation attempting to “diversify” what we see.

    jw (whose statements lead one to think he favors government intervention, since I don’t know how else we can force the stupid public to the high level of jw’s understanding) still believes that those on top control how everyone thinks, when in fact even if we only had 3 (unregulated) news sources–his nightmare scenario–the viewers would still have plenty of power over what they see.

  8. “Media conglomerates can only get as big as they with serious government interference. So we are once again observing the spectacle of a libertarian arguing for a government-intensive status quo.”

    Interference in what way? Like with the CAFE discussion, there are two ways of looking at this. We can pretend that the FCC doesn’t exist, or we can hope for them to operate in a less intrusive way. Granting the FCC the ability to carve up the spectrum based on bidding may be bad, but it is not as bad as granting them the ability to pick and choose who gets what based on arbitrary criteria like size.

  9. anon are you saying that the MSNBC poll did not happen, I was hallucinating when I watched for the 10th straight hour, ongoing coverage of the MJ case??

    I guess you must be about 10 years old, because a very similar thing happened during the first gulf war, MJ was accused of sexual misconduct of a child.
    America forgot all about the 6 month war and all CNN had to offer was ongoing coverage of MJ. Its so absurd that it was a running joke in the movie “The Kings”

    As to your ‘thats the news everyone wants to hear’ just proves my sheepole argument. I dont know whether to laugh or cry, americans desperately want coverage of Michael Jackson?? Is that what your telling me?? anon, you are the very sheepole I dispise, cannot think for yourself, you need Faux to tell you whats newsworthy or not..

    News flash, Micheal Jackson is as newsworthy as the fact that you get shitstains in your undies if you dont wipe…

  10. jw:

    Whether we agree with media conglomerate decisions about content should be reflected in ratings. They provide what consumers demand.

    The alternative is for them to provide what someone else demands, and no matter how high brow that is, it is a step backwards.

  11. Ah, a classic pattern.

    Somebody points to something he doesn’t like and says it’s a problem. Since a lot of people on the left also don’t like this thing, and because those on the left suggest a coercive remedy, an apparently libertarian poster jumps all over the person and says this is a matter of freedom.

    At no point did the original poster suggest a coercive remedy, he simply observed that a market with fewer competitors rarely yields better quality (econ 101, folks). He thought it’s a shame that there isn’t more competition, but at no point did he endorse the coercive remedy.

    However, because some libertarians cannot bring themselves to even acknowledge the existence of certain problems, another poster continues to jump all over the first poster.

    There’s a big difference between bemoaning a problem (e.g. lack of competition) and demanding a coercive remedy. Presumably the denial is premised on the notion that nobody will seek a coercive remedy if we can persuade them that there’s no problem to remedy. So instead of suggesting a free market remedy to lack of competition, somebody is denying that there’s even a problem in the first place.

    So refresh my memory: Is libertarianism aboutt finding market-oriented and individual-oriented solutions to problems, or is it about insisting that the status quo is really just fine in a desperate effort to stave off coercive remedies?

  12. its for the children

  13. Jason, ratings?? ratings?? a leaflet sent to 1000 homes to guage what america is watching hardly qualifies as a rating… but, they make for handy bathroom stall reading.

    It always amuses me to see ratings and polls, and the hoops people jump through for them…

    We polled 1000 people about G.W. Bush and found his approval rating among americans is 59%…. how does this shit pass as anything other then out of 1000 people, 59% of them liked a question?

    there are lies, damn lies and statistics…. in a nation of 250 million, any poll of less then .001% of the popluation cannot possibly be accurate… but USA today reports them as if they just asked the entire country…

    again.. sheepole…. in a country where 50% of the population is regestered to vote and less then 50% of them even turn out.. but america has spoken.. yea right… and Im called crazy….

  14. Size is not an arbitrary criterion, Jason. The size of a media conglomerate bears direct relation to its ability to further an ideological viewpoint and control the discourse around important issues. I think your policy preferences (whatever appears to involve less government) are driving your definition of the good. It’s supposed to work the other way around.

    You neighbor knocked a hole in your foundation. Your basement is filling up with water. You really shouldn’t have to buy a sump pump, because neighbors shouldn’t be knocking holes in people’s basements. The water is 8 inches below your circuit breaker. What do you do?

    Apparently, the libertarian answer is to try to come up with a plausible explanation for why having your circuit box flooded is a good thing.

  15. “Is there anyone in favor of letting the big media enterprises get bigger?”

    How does one go about not letting media enterprises get bigger without state coercion?

  16. Who cares? You can get all the diversity of information you want from the internet, which more and more people are doing. Just let the dinosaurs die of their own weight.

  17. So, are we all in agreement that coercive, that is, government, solutions to the “problem” of media conglomerates are out of the question? If anyone on the thread agrees with Howard Dean that the government should set about breaking up media companies solely because of their size, speak now.

    I see a bunch of people who seem to think media conglomerates are a problem somehow, but who flinch at embracing the Dean solution. If so, that is great, because I don’t think media conglomerates are a problem that needs solving, especially by government intervention.

    If media conglomerates are not propped up by the government and do not serve their audiences what their audiences want to be served, then the market will correct the “problem”, probably by putting up a media conglomerate that provides what the existing oligopolists do not. Of course, this is exactly the story of Fox News.

    Myself, I am a little mystified how targeting Fox, the poster child for market-based solutions to the shortcomings of media conglomerates, is consistent with market-based solutions to the shortcomings of media conglomerates.

  18. Look I dont have the answers, but having less is never as good as having more….

    An interesting factoid I picked up by the author of ‘ben franklin’ (ex CEO of CNN, cant remember his name) anyway, he said that in B. Franklins time there were more newspapers then there are in present day america. I found that striking, in todays high tech society we have less media then in the opening years of our nation.

    Todd… truth be told, most americans get thier news from the big 3, Faux, CNN and MSNBC… while a romantic notion about the internet, sadly the truth is, thats not what is happening.

  19. How does one go about not letting media enterprises get bigger without state coercion?

    fyodor-

    No doubt Kevin Carson or various other posters could point to ways that regulation has actually encouraged oligopoly and stifled competition. To the extent that such assessments are true (I’m agnostic for now) one could stop “letting” them grow faster by deregulation.

  20. Okay, just wondering, is that what you meant?

  21. Because R.C, regardless of how sucessfull stratagy Faux has, misinformation and downright lies serves nobodies interest exepct thier own.

    In what world does ratings trump true news?? Only in america….

    Again, 70% of Faux viewers were not sure if we found WMD in Iraq, those same 70% also said there were direct links to Osma and Saddam and 9/11.

    You dont find something very scary about that???

  22. “Size is not an arbitrary criterion, Jason. The size of a media conglomerate bears direct relation to its ability to further an ideological viewpoint and control the discourse around important issues. I think your policy preferences (whatever appears to involve less government) are driving your definition of the good. It’s supposed to work the other way around.”

    Egad, Joe! I think we might disagree about this. That would be different. 🙂

    There is a role for government, but you and I would disagree on what that role is. A government is not justified in taking any set of measures it likes to trump private transactions and the terms of private agreements on the grounds that such actions may be good for a majority. It may impose restrictions on private transactions and contracts on the grounds that they violate some form of rights.

    Granting the FCC the ability to carve up the spectrum to a bidder has many consequences that I may not like, but further stipulating that spectrum ownership must be equitable is an entirely higher order of authority, and an element of the arbitrary must come into play. If Fox has too much, who gets his excess? On what basis? If we are trying to enforce diversity, what do we mean by diversity?

    It is the difference between printing money and telling us who has too much.

  23. Of courese it is the State’s fault people watch FauxNews. Face it, the FCC gave them on channel on the 500 cable channels. Same with talk radio — nobody really wants to listen to Rush, its only because the FCC gave them a frequency.

    It is not consumer choice. So we need to government to regulate. But of course all you fake mercantilist “libertarians” will disagree.

  24. Plus news is public responsibilty. We can’t trust corporations to give unbiased news and consumers are too dumb to know better (look at the viewers of Faux, dumb hillbillies!) We need the government to regulate news so it is fairly and accurately distributed. Dean will do this.

  25. jw:

    “Jason, ratings?? ratings?? a leaflet sent to 1000 homes to guage what america is watching hardly qualifies as a rating… but, they make for handy bathroom stall reading.”

    You are suggesting that you know more about viewing habits than the people in advertising that get paid to know nothing else? I’m not criticizing your IQ or your preferences, just your sense that your viewing preferences for ‘real news’ match those of your neighbors.

    I give you “Survivor”, “The Bachelor”, and their ilk as exhibit A. Monstrous popularity, and their ratings match watercooler talk locally very well, in my experience.

    Only in the US? You realize that “Most Extreme Elimination Challenge” is based on an enormously popular actual Japanese show that was, in reality, much less entertaining, right? Just as Fox doesn’t define news, neither does the BBC.

  26. We should just let those with the most powerful broadcasting equipment decide what we can watch.

  27. Watching Dean say that he’s going to go after Fox is just as scary as it would be if Cheney were going around saying the Bush administration is going to go after the Washington Post during its second term.

    Dean also seems ignorant of the economics. Why has consolidation taken place to the extent that it has? Because the economics of the media — determined partially by the government, including the FCC — makes it difficult for independent media to survive in traditional modes (print, television, radio). You’re part of a big corporation or you’re toast.

    But has this really effected America’s ability to get diverse points of views on these topics? Give me a break. The American public has probably more news options than any citizenry in world history even if you just stick to print, radio and television.

  28. “I guess you must be about 10 years old, because a very similar thing happened during the first gulf war, MJ was accused of sexual misconduct of a child.
    America forgot all about the 6 month war and all CNN had to offer was ongoing coverage of MJ. ”

    Funny, I remember lots of CNN coverage of the first Gulf War, but I don’t remember CNN coverage of MJ. I do remember so rather vulgar radio coverage of MJ, but no where near the same magnitude of the war coverage.

    “Its so absurd that it was a running joke in the movie “The Kings””

    Do you mean that crappy movie The Three Kings?

    “As to your ‘thats the news everyone wants to hear’ just proves my sheepole argument. I dont know whether to laugh or cry, americans desperately want coverage of Michael Jackson?? ”

    Hell, I have to fight for control of the TV anytime some celebrity crap comes on . . . the women in my house eat it up. For that matter, any crappy “human interest” story dominates their attention. My experience is that light weight “human interest” stories are quite popular with the ladies, and somewhat popular with men. The news outlets are just giving consumers what they want.

  29. there are lies, damn lies and statistics…. in a nation of 250 million, any poll of less then .001% of the popluation cannot possibly be accurate… but USA today reports them as if they just asked the entire country…

    Take an elementary course on statistics, jw. IIRC, a random sample of 2500 people provides ?2% accuracy. I’m sure you’ll just say that this is bullshit, but it’s based on sound mathematical theory and empirical evidence. Statistics can be, and often are, manipulated or misquoted to support a position that they don’t even come close to supporting. But the fact still remains that without statistics, none of us would have any way of arguing any policy issues — it would come down to “Is too!” “Is not!” with no ability to measure the real world.

    Also, read up on the Nielsen ratings. IIRC, it uses a random sampling technique, and it doesn’t just ask what people watch — they put a box on the TV to actually record what programs they watch instead. It’s a pretty reliable statistic . . . but then, all statistics are bullshit anyways.

  30. If Dean had said that the current government was encouraging Big Media companies through regulation, tax structure, etc. and that he planned to make changes so that government wasn’t preferring one solution over another, I wouldn’t have a problem with it. But he just said that they wouldn’t be allowed to be as big as they are today and the ones that are that big will be broken up. That I have a problem with.

  31. Just Wondering said:
    “An interesting factoid I picked up by the author of ‘ben franklin’ (ex CEO of CNN, cant remember his name) anyway, he said that in B. Franklins time there were more newspapers then there are in present day america. I found that striking, in todays high tech society we have less media then in the opening years of our nation.”

    Just because we have fewer newspapers does not mean we have less media. We have a lot more sources of media available to use then they did.

  32. “An interesting factoid I picked up by the author of ‘ben franklin’ (ex CEO of CNN, cant remember his name) anyway, he said that in B. Franklins time there were more newspapers then there are in present day america. I found that striking, in todays high tech society we have less media then in the opening years of our nation.”

    Depends on your definition of media. In Ben Franklin’s day, there were very few television news channels.

  33. Aren’t monopolies inherently anti free-trade?

  34. stop responding to “just wondering.” he’s a moron of the highest degree

  35. Thanks to David L. Watkins, he made the point I was going to make. A random sampling of 1000 people can give a very good estimate of the beliefs of millions of people. Intuitively, this might seem far-fetched, but it’s mathematically provable nonetheless.

    Of course, there’s still plenty of room to criticize a particular statistic because of poor methedology.

  36. “truth be told, most americans get thier news from the big 3, Faux, CNN and MSNBC”

    What are the *combined* ratings of programming on Fox, CNN, and MSNBC? 3? 4? How about compared with “SpongeBob SquarePants” or “Survivor”?

    “Most Americans”? My ass.

  37. “An interesting factoid I picked up by the author of ‘ben franklin’ (ex CEO of CNN, cant remember his name) anyway, he said that in B. Franklins time there were more newspapers then there are in present day america. I found that striking, in todays high tech society we have less media then in the opening years of our nation.”

    Those people had no television, radio, internet, or magazines. They also had no ability to read newspapers published outside their home cities.

    There are fewer horse-drawn buggies and sailing ships now than in the year 1790. Do we have less transportation than in the opening years of our nation?

  38. Don:

    Why didn’t you like “Three Kings?” I thought it was pretty good…

  39. The scary thing is, I had to read Dean Libertarian’s posts twice to be sure it was a parody.

  40. The reason Dean attacks media conglomerates is that he hates freedom.

  41. Dean aint doin dick cuz he’s unelectable.

    Next.

  42. The first mistake is believing that the media is about delivering news.

    Every media agency has one overriding purpose. To make money. They do this by selling advertising to generate and filling the gaps between their ads with some sort of content that they presume will keep people watching when the ads are shown. The customers are the advertisers, not the viewers.

    I’m surprised that nobody here considered the possibility that economies of scale might apply to the broadcasting industry. A broadcaster can only supply a limited amount of air time to it’s customers. I doesn’t increase it revenue by providing more air-time but by attracting more eyeballs and charging more for the same air-time. Bigger networks have a competitive advantage in that they can charge more for the same product.

    Were it not for the individual viewer’s preference for diversity and selection, the broadcasting industry would be much more concentrated than it is.

    I still fail to see why any of this is a problem.

  43. I love how “just wondering” points out that 78% of Americans think Michael Jackson is the most important news story… and then blames this on the major media outlets. The idea that people are being force-fed MJ news instead is disproven by the very poll that he quotes! Good or bad (and I agree it’s bad) this is what people want. They don’t need any help with their “dumbing down.”

  44. “just wondering” makes his whole comment meaningless when he calls Fox news “Faux”. If he wasn’t hopelessly biased he would also refer to “Clinton News Network” (CNN), Propaganda Broadcasting Service (PBS), etc. Fox is as biased to the right as ABC,CBS, PBS are to the left.

  45. For the record Faux is pronounced “Foe” so substituting it for FOX may be good visually, but it’s petty, and gratingly incorrect for people who can speak. But go ahead, have fun with your incredibly insightful pun.

    Also, please look at any source on the media, from Variety to People En Espanol, before claiming that FOX, CNN and MSNBC are the “top 3” for most Americans. Most reruns of Seinfeld on a broadcast station get better ratings. If you stick to news, Couric’s colonoscopy got more viewers than anything on MSNBC.

    As for me, I plan on tattooing a reverse copy of the 1st Amendment on Dean’s forehead if it looks like he’s going to win.

  46. I agree with Howard Dean that big media conglomerates are evil. But I don’t think the government needs to step in and “fix” them. I think the media conglomerates, by dishing out loads of unprofitable crap, will “fix” themselves just fine. And watching them implode will be more entertaining than watching the government regulate them.

    I agree that the mass media dishes out a bunch of dumb, sensationalist, pandering junk. But I don’t think it’s the result of some Evil Big Media Cabal. And as much as I hate it, I don’t think it’s something the government needs to fix. I can push the “off” button myself, thank you very much.

  47. So Tim, why the new name & email address required policy? And this after all the props to the trolls!! It doesn’t weed out fake email addresses, anyway…

  48. Name and email address required policy?

    oh.
    (attempts posting again)

    I would rather not scatter my email address all over the place, thanks.

  49. Your comment submission failed for the following reasons:

    Name and email address are required.

    Please correct the error in the form below, then press POST to post your comment.

    —-

    See thread below. Firt Tim deletes comments, then this! Hey it’s your site, but you Reason writers used to have nuts!

  50. So Tim, why the new name & email address required policy? And this after all the props to the trolls!! It doesn’t weed out fake email addresses, anyway…

    As President Bush said, “We want people to stand up and say what their opinion is…”

    You can always use a fake email address, and if you also fill in the URL field, that, rather than your email, will show up in public.

    Stand up and be counted!

  51. When I was a youngster — and I’m still a whippersnapper, according to my Grandpa — we had two network stations (one very snowy) and a PBS channel to choose from. Now my local cable company offers a couple hundred choices on basic digital. True, many of those choices are owned by the same congloms, but there are more than three of them, for pete’s sake.

    And Russ makes a good point: Broadcasting does not equal “news.” To the extent that there is a market for news on TV, we get news on TV (including more news-only channels than total channels available to a small-town kid in the ’70s).

    As for newspapers in Ben Franklin’s day, most of them were not very newsy by today’s standards. They were more like blogs, in which the publisher commented on the happenings and controversies in the community and attacked people he disagreed with. Thank God their spirit lives on…

  52. Thank God. Reason has finally put an end to the circus of threads in which everybody has to strain to make sense of conversations with 10 different unidentified speakers quoting each other and responding to each other. It was starting to get really annoying.

  53. Tim, with all respect due and otherwise, that answer isn’t much of an answer. But oh well, you have the right to keep the methods to this madness to yourself. I’m just veritably curious what the reasoning is, especially since Nick has in the past complimented the trolls, which I then questioned.

  54. Apologies to the rest of you, but I got in here to see what “Dean Libertarian” would have to say.
    Here’s what:

    “Of courese it is the State’s fault people watch FauxNews. Face it, the FCC gave them on channel on the 500 cable channels. Same with talk radio — nobody really wants to listen to Rush, its only because the FCC gave them a frequency.

    It is not consumer choice. So we need to government to regulate. But of course all you fake mercantilist “libertarians” will disagree.
    Posted by Dean Libertarian at December 2, 2003 03:37 PM

    Plus news is public responsibilty. We can’t trust corporations to give unbiased news and consumers are too dumb to know better (look at the viewers of Faux, dumb hillbillies!) We need the government to regulate news so it is fairly and accurately distributed. Dean will do this.
    Posted by Dean Libertarian. at December 2, 2003 03:39 PM ”

    I suspect most would agree “Dean Libertarian” leaves us underwhelmed. Or should we be overwhelmed because “DL” is so dadgummed ironic? Or is he too ironic by half?

    Maybe we’ll have to wait until media is broken into bite sizes before we’ll know for sure.

  55. Fyodor et al.: Why the focus on “trolls”? The no-name thing was employed by trolls and legitimate posters alike. It often made threads really confusing and created extra work for readers.

    Not to make a mountain out of a molehill, or to abuse any other cliches, but this is a welcome and long overdue change. It’s a simple tweak that makes reading easier and more efficient — what’s so bad about that?

  56. This forced name/email policy seems almost sensible… forced name is fine, forced email seems unnecessary. The names help us keep track of who said what, and anonymous people just need to make up a name. But what does forcing us to put in an email do? I think it creates confusion because a lot of them will be fake addresses. Best to leave that optional so any included email address is likely to be legitimate.

  57. On that I would agree. No need for e-mail addresses. Just a need to keep conversations straight.

  58. So, are there any Libertarians for Dean left?

    Between this and the comment about letting an international court try Osama bin Laden, it looks like Dean was set to “self destruct” mode during that Hardball appearance. What an asshole.

  59. Reporters may lean left, but the real power leans right.
    There are10 major players – http://www.thenation.com/special/bigten.html- in the US media.
    How many Americans know that the Bush Family has long standing ties to the Bin Laden family via business deals ( the Carlyle Group, etc?.) ? How many Americans know about the Bush Family?s long standing ties to the Saudi Royals? Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan (can you say Coup?) are the largest supporters of terrorism in this world, and yet somehow they are our buddies. How many Americans know that Prescott Bush, our President?s Grandfather, was convicted under the Trading with the enemy act? He was a director in a bank, and other business, that financed and supplied war materials to Hitler, even after it was well known that Hitler was killing Jews by the millions? Can you say, ?We were just making money?? http://www.americanfreedomnews.com/afn_articles/bushsecrets.htm
    How many Americans know that George W. Bush – according to ?Special? agents – told the “Special? agents (aka the FBI) to ?Back off the Bin Ladens? soon after he came to office? Just search for ?Back off the bin Ladens?.
    Even if the Bushes are totally innocent and honest in their dealings shouldn?t, the mostly TV viewing, people of this country at least know about these connections, actions, and orders? Well most people don?t. Why? Well, I think it is because it does not serve the interests of people who make money off of war, death, and destruction for the people of this country to actually consider these facts. Even if they are non-facts we should at least hear them so we can decide if they are false or not.
    But people don?t know these things precisely because you never hear about them, at all, via the major media. The major media does not repeat these things to us over and over until it is pounded into our heads,,,,, but everyone knows alll about Michael Jackson, Laci, Kobe and Bill Clinton?s blowjob. Shit that makes no difference to the well being of this world is splashed all over the front pages and leads on Cabal, uh. Cable News programs. Meanwhile, our tabloid media gives us no real information about events and facts that are truly life and death matters. It?s no wonder we don?t know why ?they? hate us, hell, the major media doesn?t even do a good job of informing us who our leaders are or what they really do around this world.

  60. Did anyone else catch the smartass reference? “I don`t think we actually have to break them up, which Teddy Roosevelt had to do with the leftovers from the McKinley administration.”

    He’s playing off of Karl Rove’s assertion that the current era is similar to the period of time before the turn of the last century when McKinley was president.

    His insinuation is that a Dean administration will play the role of the TR administration to deal with the “leftovers” left by the Bush admin playing McKinley.

  61. Dan:

    Your lack of paragraph demarcation and hyper enthusiastic, almost stream-of-consciousness resuscitation of something you saw in Nation makes me think you’re from Eugene, Oregon – is that so?

    In either case, slow down there, buddy, and lay off the ? key.

    I, like many Americans, have indeed heard the supposedly “secret” stories-they-don’t-want-you-to-hear about the Bush/Bin-Laden connection, the “stolen election,” and the other “stories” alluded to in the Nation article you linked to. I am not particularly left-wing, nor do I read magazines like the Nation. So why have I heard of all this before? It must not be that big of a secret…

    The far right has a similar fascination with this as well – see the “Clinton Killed Vince Foster” theory of a few years back.

    -Sabas-

  62. So, are there any Libertarians for Dean left?

    Say, where is Julian Sanchez anyway? You?d think after his endorsement of Dean earlier that he?d have something to say after this latest proclamation for the guy he?s going to ?vote for in a heart beat.?

    Figures though since “libertarians for Dean” was nothing more than an intellectual fraud anyways.

  63. For what it’s worth, I just wanna clarify that I wasn’t complaining about the new policy so much as just asking why out of sheer curiosity. Though I suppose I will confess to not liking rules unless there’s very good reason for them. As for this pair of new rules, I suppose there’ll be pros and cons and it won’t be a very big deal all in all.

  64. Robert – Reminds me of this exchange from Donahue earlier this year:

    DONAHUE: Bernie wanted to say? Bernie?
    GOLDBERG: We have one of America’s foremost liberals here, who is…
    DONAHUE: A man who stood against a hostile nation and his own legislature alone, with as much courage as you’ll find out there in a public servant today, against the barbarity of capital punishment.
    For that alone, Governor, I tip my hat to you.
    (APPLAUSE)
    DONAHUE: And we just got about a four on the popularity applause meter.
    We’re in New York City with a heck of a panel. And we’ll be back in just a moment.

  65. So Nobody, is it right-libertarianism at work to thoroughly misunderstand what somebody is plainly saying? I said that eliminating regulations is good for its own sake regardless of the resulting outcome. How the hell is that letting a guy with a gun make the decision???

    Kevin Carson, you obviously understood me and we’re in agreement on that. I’ll add that I wouldn’t be a (mostly? left leaning?) libertarian if I didn’t think the properly noncoercive process is also the best way to bring about the most fair and equitable results.

  66. Joe,

    I agree that NewsHour is a lot more interesting than any of the corporate news programs. But that’s you & me. Is NewsHour leading the ratings? I don’t think so. I see no reason to think that the nature of corporate news programs is a result of the size of the corporations and every reason to think that it’s due to what attracts viewers, Kevin’s dovetailing analysis notwithstanding! 🙂 Meanwhile, it’s a relatively free country and you have the freedom of contributing to PBS. (Being a man of integrity, I bet you already do!)

  67. O’REILLY: Wait, Ms. Bruce, let her finish.

    VANDEN HEUVEL: The Nation has…

    O’REILLY: Look, you’ve got NPR […]

    The best part of the transcript, right there.

  68. Wow, anon really seems offended. Who would have thought there are libertarians who don’t think David Rockefeller belongs to an oppressed minority, or that the only welfare parasites are the ones on food stamps? The absolute gall–supporting the free market on principle, rather than out of a reflexive affinity for big business!

    I really hate to see you so bent out of shape, anon, so here’s a statement of libertarian principle you’ll surely find less objectionable: them pore ole bosses need all the help they can get.

  69. There is a problem with a demand for ‘diversity’ in any setting. Namely, the word doesn’t mean anything specific.

    Here is a news flash. It takes a lot of money to create a broadcast. The only way to overcome such a financial obstacle is to provide content that enough people will pay (including advertisers here) to see that you recapture your startup costs. You will then forever be in a competition for eyeballs.

    If you are demanding a specific type of content, and you have enough friends who agree and are willing to pay for it, you will have that content. I would even go so far as to argue that Clear Channel would be the first to try to provide it to you. They want to make money.

    If you don’t have enough friends for someone to justify creating content via traditional broadcast video or audio, you certainly can get the content you need from the low cost but powerful medium we are using now. Every corporate conspiracy theory ever thought of is on the internet somewhere.

    Lets be honest, here. When people are demanding diversity, they aren’t complaining that they can’t find content that they demand, they are complaining that other people don’t demand the same content. The call for diversity is a call for other people to be forced to hear a certain type of content.

    Once we have established that, all we have to do is ask, “Who tells us what content we MUST watch?” Ralph Nader or Jerry Falwell?

  70. How much of the big media is a result of the FCC regulations? Also, if news is under or non- reported is that because of the people in control or pressure from the gov’t through enforcement of additional regulations? How are more regulations going to solve this? If the trend is to get bigger and bigger, go for it. Now if you don’t like the major tv media news, you can go online. The market at work.

  71. No doubt the distribution of firearms is also based on Government intervention. It is isn’t fair and the rich have unequal access to guns.

    Therefor it is OK for the government to decide who has guns based on whatever the President wants to have guns.

    If you disagree you are just a Republican-lite who wants guns only for the rich.

  72. “How much of the big media is a result of the FCC regulations?”

    Well, there’s no way to tell, really, is there? I believe in the kind of deregulation that Jesse Walker and Kevin Carson advocate, the kind that removes barriers to entry and thus would logically seem likely to help “the little guy.” But I believe in it for its own sake, because it’s the right thing, the fair thing. Whether it would necessarily cut the big boys down to size in any significant way I consider a rather open question, Kevin Carson’s certainty on the matter notwithstanding. Best I could say about it myself is: couldn’t hurt!

  73. there is no way to tell…

    …so instead of letting the market (and consumers) make what choice they can in this bent system to decide ….

    …we let the guy with a gun.

    no choice instead of some choice.

    left-libertarianism in action.

  74. The only channel I can choose to get news in any other format than 30 second, poll tested, bite sized, polished drivel is from those horrible statists at PBS. The Market seems to have decided to spray brightly colored shite on my teevee screen every night from 5-7, but it has given me a range of shite to choose from. Whoopee!

    The quality, depth, thoughtfulness, and dedication to allowing diverse views to present themselves that characterizes NewsHour is miles above the product produced by the for-profit companies. The only other news coverage that even comes close in terms of quality is BBC, and even that is part way down the crappola path laid down by the American corporate networks.

  75. thoreau,

    Brilliantly put. I’ve got to save that for future reference.

    And just wondering:

    Listen to joe–just this once, anyway. The present media system is, sure enough, heavily centralized largely as a result of state intervention. The very existence of a centralized communications infrastructure on a national scale, at least one of such large volume, is the product of government intervention (just look at the history of federal collusion with AT&T during most of the 20th century). And the centralized communications system dovetails nicely with a national advertising market, which wouldn’t exist without the government’s role of centralizing manufacturing industries on a national scale. IP law centralizes control of the cultural *product* in the hands of a few outlets.

    Federal tax breaks for interest on corporate debt, and exemption of stock-swaps from capital gains, act as a subsidy for mergers and buy-outs. And before anyone jumps on me, yes, I know, letting someone keep more of their own money is technically not a subsidy. But the corporate income tax still acts as a cartelizing device, because it heightens the difference in privilege between those paying the tax and those paying little or none. Corporations most heavily engaged in certain kinds of activity (merger-related debt, R&D, accelerated depreciation) pay the least income tax; those not engaged in such activity (predominantly medium-sized, labor-intensive, low tech) pay the most. These exemptions for corporate debt and stock swaps have the exact same effect, in artificially increasing the competitive advantage of those engaged in mergers and acquisitions (or reducing their competitive disadvantages), as if a punitive corporate income tax was imposed only on those NOT engaged in such activities.

    Finally, we can’t forget the FCC. By artificially reducing the number of available spaces on the spectrum below what is technically necessary, and using expensive licenses as a market entry barrier (even though it gave them away free at the outset to those businesses positioned to take advantage of it), the FCC acts to cartelize the broadcast media.

  76. BTW, fyodor,

    My “certainty” notwithstanding, I too want to do away with coercion as a matter of principle–even at the risk it won’t have the outcome I prefer.

  77. Just one more:

    How’s this for a hoot? I watched a talking head discussion of the Dean comments on AOL-Time-Warner-CNN, and one of the three guests was from Time Magazine. So two out of four of the talking heads had the same owner.

    The head from Time (apparently re: the AOL merger) quipped: “Where were you when we needed you, Howard?”

  78. accordign the left-libertarians all large businesses are directly created by intervention. there is no consumer choice.

    take another heavily regulated business: the restaurant business. permits, regulations, zoning restrictions, the whole shebang.

    no doubt there wouldn’t be restaurant chains or “big” resturant (but how big is big?) run by evil suits without regualtion. no doubt the little guy is just being held down, is it his fault that others can actually conduct business with all that red tape and he can’t? no doubt there would be zillions of vegan soul-food mom & pops run by politically-correct anarchist multi-sexuals if it wasn’t for the government unfairly cartelizing business.

    so by this logic is perfectly moral to not tip the waitresss. afterall, she is unfairly profiting from a cartel. it would be perfectly moral to leave without paying your bill. after all, the capitalist suit is just exploiting the vegan soul-food “little guy”, right?

    by the same reasoning it would be moral for some bureaucrat to decide how big is big and shut down whatever restaurant he decides is too “big.” we want fairness right? we know there isn’t any consumer choice, right? we need to give the vegan-soul food business a fair chance. hey, why not subsidize them too? that isn’t invervention. fuck the consumer, he has restricted choice so we take all his choice.

    (don’t get me wrong, I am all for the free market. but don’t buy into this anti-market forgery being pushed by the left-libertarian dean-worshippers.)

  79. Well, two cable channels decide the debates aren’t very important because the third channel (in this case MSNBC) is SPONSORING the debate, just as CNN and Fox had before. They decide that Jacko is more important than the war because Jacko is breaking news and the war isn’t as much (not that it actually is more important or anything). It’s not like they stopped covering the war. Also because Jacko means ratings. If you’re arguing against ratings, you’re basically arguing for govt. control.

  80. Once again, the majority of the commentariat here supports the notion that a non trivial subset of “Libertarians” are just Republican-lite’s.

    Yawn.

    The current status quo was created with MASSIVE government interference. If you think that the solution is to suddently evaporate the gov’t role and allow the parties to battle it out on the current heinously uneven playfield, you might as well just join the RNC.

    It’s what Jesus would want, afterall.

    -dissapointed libertarian leaning schmoe

  81. “The American public has probably more news options than any citizenry in world history even if you just stick to print, radio and television.”

    The Nation’s editor, of course, knows better:

    VANDEN HEUVEL: I don’t think everyone should agree with me, Bill. And I don’t think everyone should agree with you. I think there should be a marketplace of ideas in this country that reflects the full range…

    O’REILLY: And there is.

    VANDEN HEUVEL: We have unfulfilled democracy.

    O’REILLY: And there is.

    VANDEN HEUVEL: There isn’t. There isn’t. Where do you hear the full range of views in this country?

    O’REILLY: Everywhere.

    VANDEN HEUVEL: Where do you hear those who want universal health care?

    BRUCE: Not in “The Nation,” I’ll tell you.

    O’REILLY: Wait, Ms. Bruce, let her finish.

    VANDEN HEUVEL: The Nation has…

    O’REILLY: Look, you’ve got NPR, you’ve got FOX News, you’ve got CNN, you’ve got The New York Times, you’ve got every point of view expressed.

    VANDEN HEUVEL: Oh, we have…

    O’REILLY: Every one.

    VANDEN HEUVEL: That is just not true.

    O’REILLY: Yes, except — come on.

    The editor of an influential, far left magazine saying that there’s no diversity of opinion… uh-huh.

  82. For a variety of reasons, among them the one cited by Sam I Was, requiring names is a good thing. Our blogging software does not include a name-only option, but there is some velvet-curtain value in requiring the email too. Think of it this way: Anybody who would be stumped by this requirement isn’t worth having a conversation with. As a serial alias user I have no beef with your entering fake names or email addresses, and in fact I encourage aliases if they’re funny. Also, be sure to click “Remember info?” at the bottom of the field, so you’ll need suffer the indignity of entering your information but once.

  83. Oops the HTML didn’t come out right. After “come on,” that ends the transcript.

  84. Dan’s parroting means I’ve reached my limit for Michael Moore nonsense on this thread… moving on.

  85. fyodor,

    A business the size of NewsCorp or GE tries to be a “catch-all” news source, meaning they are going to tailor their message/product for the broadest possible audience. This gives us such dynamics as the race to the bottom’ the determination to offend no one, even if it means repeating falsehoods or withholding important information; and the shoehorning of stories into familiar narratives (and the downplaying of stories that don’t adequately further those narratives, such as the pork- and debt-loving proclivities of the current Congress).

    Smaller stations know they can get by with a smaller audience share, so they don’t fall into these traps.

    And yes, I give to my PBS local.

  86. “Smaller stations know they can get by with a smaller audience share, so they don’t fall into these traps.”

    And the evidence for this statement is…?

    Logically it seems that anyone trying to make a buck will try to maximize income and minimize cost. For news media, this means reaching the largest possible audience within the limits of your potential (dictated by technology, your business plan, etc.). There’s no reason why a larger audience would not benefit a locally owned TV station just as it benefits a global giant.

    Having said that, I will concede the following. The larger and more diverse and impersonal (as in, they don’t know each other) the ownership of a business is, the more I would expect that ownership to operate on the lowest common denominator of profit maximization. Now, work with me a moment here. Just about everyone in the world agrees with the following statement: All other things being equal, I desire greater material wealth. And that’s the primary reason any business is started and continued. OTOH, no one but a few sociopaths have no interest in anything BUT material wealth. We all have a great multitude of other interests. Now here’s the key: the larger and more diverse and impersonal the ownership of a business is, the more I would expect the prominence of their one common interest, making money, to be in their common decision making process versus other concerns and interests that the owners may have individually. (I haven’t seen this issue studied, so I admit it’s based purely on my own reasoning. I think it would be a great topic for some econ prof somewhere to research!)

    The solution? Partly grin and bear it, but also remove third party liability protection and perhaps other advantages that corporations enjoy, which Kevin probably has a litany of. But also remember before you go hog wild that the efficiency of the corporation helps prop up the standard of living that we all (well most of us) enjoy.

  87. anon,

    Um, where, exactly, have I supported “enslaving” Korean store owners? And where have I supported, of all things, zoning laws or licensing? There are plenty of regulars on this blog (ones with the guts to sign their names) who can confirm I’m pretty hawkish on eliminating zoning and licensing of all kinds.

    Actually, your own statement about the big guy being able to conduct business with “all that red tape and regulation,” while the little guy can’t, pretty closely parallels my own view of the effect of red tape and regulation on market structure.

    I believe I also said I was AGAINST Dean’s reregulation proposals, and instead favored doing away with existing regulations and subsidies.

    Your beef seems to be that I think the regulations and subsidies help mainly the big businesses regulated. But in that case, why wouldn’t I want to eliminate those regulations and subsidies? At least my position is intellectually consistent–you’re totally incoherent, as evidenced by your inability to use the shift-key.

    So could you be a little more specific with your asinine charges, archy?

    And BTW, it’s possible to examine MY past statements because I actually sign my name. Your very attempt to hold me accountable for past opinions (or a bizarre parody of them, anyway) is only made possible by the fact that I’m not too chickenshit to sign my name instead of anonymously trolling. Maybe you’re afraid that if you post an actual name and email address, some obnoxious and cowardly troll will harass you mercilessly outside this forum? That’s called Freudian projection.

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