MSM: Not From Concentrate


Matt "Mittens" Yglesias ponders a recent editorial in The Nation that tries to straddle the line between stoking anxiety about media concentration and… uh… acknowledging obvious reality. Domestic media have become less concentrated over the last decade, and (more importantly) the Net means it's easier and far more common to get the perspective of foreign media. And as Matt notes, the absolute amount of concentration is less important than which outlets are concentrated. That some one big corporation controls a cable news channel and Cat Fancy and eight bridal magazines, while the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal are independent strikes me as rather less ominous than if the reverse were true. Media analyst Ben Compaine deflated media monopoly mania in one of Reason's more terrifyingly illustrated cover stories back in 2004.

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  1. I frequent a certain web forum where shocking pics are hidden behind innocent-looking links, but that cover was just horrible.

  2. My eyes, my eyes!! Damn you Julian, that was wrong, wrong, wrong. There outta be a law….

  3. Yah. I’ve never understood it either, even from their perspective. Media concentration wasn’t a problem for the Cronkite era?

  4. “Media concentration wasn’t a problem for the Cronkite era?”

    At the local level, arguably yes, since most major cities still had two or more local daily newspapers and the ability to own multiple newspapers and/or radio stations was more strictly regulated. At the national level it was more concentrated, at least in television broadcasting. There’s also the perceived issue of corporate ownership. I don’t know if it’s true, but the perception at least was that television/radio/newspaper/magazine outlets were operated by specialized media companies rather than being part of larger, non-media corporations (like General Electric owning NBC).

  5. That cover is fricken’ hilarious.

  6. What concerns me far more than current media consolidation is the ever increasing reliance on the half-assed reporting done by the Associated Press. The Drug Czar drops a press release and the AP picks it up, changes a couple of words, plops a byline on it and calls it a well researched article. From there every fucking paper in the nation prints it as gospel with nary a bit of vetting. When did reporters become mimeographs?

  7. Yeah, you want media concentration? Go to a place like, oh, Norway or something where there are like two newspapers, both state funded, and both carry the government water. How diverse.

    At least in the United States, we’ve got several hundred major daily’s that carry the government water. Hmm… never mind.

  8. The mainstream press in the U.S. is conspicuous for what it excludes. On October 10, 2001, CNN made a brief mention of a foiled terrorist bomb plot in the Mexican Parliament building. They promised to bring any further developments of this story to their viewers, but the incident was never heard of again. But the story appeared in bold headlines on the front page of the major Mexican newspapers and was also posted on the official website of the Mexican Justice Department. Two terrorist suspects were caught with a high powered gun, nine hand grenades, and C-4 plastic explosives The two terrorists were Salvador Gerson Sunke and Sar ben Zui.One was identified as a MOSSAD (Israeli Intelligence). The other a Mexican Jew. They had fake Pakistani Passports.

    Had the two men been Muslims, the story would most certainly have been headline news in every major news outlet.

    Uri Mileshtin, an official historian for the Israeli Defense Force, has written and spoken about the use of bacteriological agents. According to Mileshtin, Moshe Dayan, a division commander at the time, gave orders in 1948 to remove Arabs from their villages, bulldoze their homes, and render water wells unusable with typhus and dysentery bacteria. (Please visit for more info.)

    This sort of information is absent from the Mainstream Press.

  9. Kwix,

    Sometime around Walter Lippmann’s day, I think. A huge amount of the non-advertising column space in newspapers is taken up by the output of press conferences and PR departments.

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