Media

A Horrifying Portrait of Media Consolidation

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Is Big Media reducing the diversity of news and views available to voting Americans? Must we scurry to "break up the media barons the way Teddy Roosevelt broke up Standard Oil?" reasoner Matt Welch offers a portrait of his pitifully circumscribed and monopolized media consumption.

In the morning, I read most of the L.A. Times (Tribune Co.), and scan the funny headlines from the New York Post (Dr. Evil). To see what people in the L.A. Times newsroom are gossiping about, I'll check Kevin Roderick's independently owned (or "I," from here on out) L.A. Observed. For more local scuttlebutt, I might click on Mayor Sam (I), Fishbowl L.A. (Media Bistro), LAist (Gothamist LLC) and Blogging.LA (Metroblogging.com). Since I'm a baseball fanatic and Angels partisan, if I have time before work I'll read and maybe post a comment on Halos Heaven, which is part of the interesting SB Nation family of fan-blogs launched by (believe it or not) that Great Orange Satan of the lefty blogosphere Markos "Daily Kos" Moulitsas (pssst! Media reporters! There's an interesting story there!).

If I drive to work I'll listen to (God help me) Jim Rome (Premier Radio Networks) on KLAC (Clear Channel); when commercials come on I'll either flip to Sandra Tsing Loh's science bit on KPCC (Southern California Public Radio) or to the latest Hugo Chavez speech on KPFK (Pacifica). On the way home it's usually the Angel game on KSPN (ESPN), the Dodger game on KFWB (CBS Radio), the Laker game on KLAC … or barring sports, some rock music on the fab Indie 103.1 (Entravision). If I'm taking transit I might grab the New Yorker (Conde Nast), Reason (Reason Foundation), the L.A. Downtown News (I) or my current favorite newspaper in the world, the Los Feliz Ledger (a nice-sounding gal named Allison).

Try doing your list–it's fun for the whole family!

NEXT: Ira Levin, R.I.P.

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  1. In order:
    the Missoulian (the newspaper I write for), then on over to Slate, then Reason, then the Trail 103.3 FM on the way to work, then the WSJ online, then three or four of my favorite blogs, possibly some CNN and/or FOX News in the afternoon, then home and my subscription to Newsweek. The weekends are all about the History Channel, ESPN, espn.com, CNN and Fox, catching up on Colbert, checking out all my favorite blogs, guerrillanews.com., ….
    Yeah, media consolidation is a BIG problem.

  2. On TV: NY1 News, Mr. G’s weather on the 10:00 news on ch. 11

    On the Intertubes: NY1 again, CNN, NY Daily News, Hit ‘n’ Run, and occasional trips to City Journal, the Derb’s collected columns and a weekly foray to James Kunstler’s Clusterfuck Nation. Plus myriad random places courtesy of Google News.

    Elsewhere: Robin’s news on Howard Stern

  3. On the web, I check:
    – this blog
    EconLog (Liberty Fund)
    Marginal Revolutions (I)
    SlashDot (SourceForge)
    …rarely:
    WTOP News (Bonneville)
    Daily Galaxy (I)
    – ESPN.go.com (ABC)

    On the radio, to and from work:
    – morning show/modern rock: DC 101 (Clear Channel)
    – morning show/modern rock: 98 Rock (Hearst?)
    – 60s-00s rock: 94.7 (CBS)
    – 60s-70s rock: Big 100 (Clear Channel)
    – news: WTOP (Bonneville)
    – talk: Washington Post Radio (Washington Post)

    That last one is part of my education on how abysmal talk radio, especially liberal-oriented talk radio really is.

  4. Matt’s the only reason I read Halos Heaven. =)

    I have a portable XM unit that goes literally everywhere with me. It’s hockey season, so I’ve been getting my fix of Canadian passive-aggressiveness.

    At work, we’re all about The Fark. My blabby neighbor keeps the whole office updated with what he finds on Drudge. I’ll read the Economist on the train if I haven’t pre-recorded something on the XM to listen to.

    At home, it’s Wall Street Week or McNeil/Lehrer – I tivo it so I can watch it around the game. On the weekends it’s sports, BBC America, or whatever’s on Versus. I also keep an eye on FlyerTalk, SlashDot, and the Register.

    I can’t remember life before XM or Tivo.

  5. What sort of masochist listens to Jim Rome?

  6. RADIO:

    The Rise Guys (sports talk 1140 am KHTK Sacramento) 5 – 6 am

    Armstrong and Getty (light middle of the road politics and yet still entertaining, KSTE 650 am Sacramento) 6 – 10 am

    The Don and Mike Show (Assorted Shock Jockery and Juvenile Potty Humor, originating in DC broadcast locally on the aforementioned 1140 am) 12 – 4 pm

    The Gene Burns program (KGO 810 am, Talk radio with libertarian leanings) 7 – 10 pm

    The Bernie Ward program (KGO 810 am, Talk radio with the “Lion of the Left”) 10p – 1 am or whenever I fall asleep. Whichever comes first

    With the exception of the Don and Mike show, all locally produced.

    INTERNET:

    Reason.com, LewRockwell.com, Strike-the-Root.com, SFGate.com, AntiWar.com, LeMetropoleCafe.com, Functional Ambivalent, The Agitator (Hello Balko!). El Borak’s Myopia, Steve Sailers I Blog, Vox Popoli, B K Marcus blog, Spengler – Asia Times….etc etc etc!

  7. If I drive to work I’ll listen to (God help me) Jim Rome (Premier Radio Networks)

    Matt Welch is a Clone! No need to feel shame, Matt.

    On second thought, yes, be a bit ashamed.

  8. Look at these crazy lists! It’s more than obvious that the real problem here is all of this content from hundreds of sources influencing millions of people everyday and nobody is looking after whether any of it is true or not. There is almost NO regulation whatsoever and ANYONE can just say ANYTHING they want! How do you know if what you’re hearing or reading is the truth? It’s crazy to think that ordinary people can possibly judge the accuracy and truthfulness of what they’re told given the vast number of news sources out there. We need help to find the signal in all that noise. What is clear from all this is that there needs to be some kind of government oversight of the media to make sure the information we’re getting is both accurate and helps people make better choices in their lives. Weather it’s eating healthier, not smoking, living sustainably or just looking out for your neighbors so you can help them make better choices too, what we need is an agency that is dedicated to ensuring we only get quality information so we can all fulfill our duty to become well informed, concerned citizens.

  9. Concerned Citizen,

    I think I just shat myself.

  10. Concerned Citizen, I had similar concerns about the media explosion back in my days.

  11. I always thought the real media consolidation happened when the AP kicked the UPI’s @ss.

  12. … And much of the news is On Bullshit.

  13. What sort of masochist listens to Jim Rome?

    Worse — what kind of masochist admits it?

    Matt Welch is a Clone! No need to feel shame, Matt.

    This is where I draw the line. “Clones” actually call in, ape the man’s way of speaking (“piehole,” etc.), and do their worst to “have a take.” In other words, my brother. I just listen passively for around 40 minutes a week. I swear.

  14. We need help to find the signal in all that noise. What is clear from all this is that there needs to be some kind of government oversight of the media to make sure the information we’re getting is both accurate and helps people make better choices in their lives.

    Hillary!… we didn’t know you read Hit & Run.

  15. Concerned Citizen wins the thread.

  16. This is where I draw the line. “Clones” actually call in, ape the man’s way of speaking (“piehole,” etc.), and do their worst to “have a take.” In other words, my brother. I just listen passively for around 40 minutes a week. I swear.

    If you start to conclude columns by writing “HAAAAAVE IIIIIIIIII GIVEN YOU ENOUGH TO TALK ABOUT?” then we’ll know you’re listening too much.

  17. I like reading FOX’s and URUKNET’s versions of the same events in the Middle East. FOX says 5 Taliban were killed, URUKNET quotes witnesses on the ground saying that there were no Taliban there, but U.S. air raids killed scores of bystanders, including lots of children.

    Al Jazzera is generally somewhere in between the two; so is the British Press, which nearly always says a lot more innocents were killed, as opposed to FOX.

  18. oh, Uruknet.

    I first I thought you said Urkobold(TM), which would indeed by horrifying.

  19. what the f*** is up with me e’s today?

    eeeeeee

    ok, seems to work

  20. ….Beatrice…

  21. Yeah, aren’t some of these organizations run by parent companies? And/or don’t some of them receive massive donations from big corp, big labor, etc.?

  22. If you take out the Internet-distributed ones and the publicly funded ones then Welch’s point basically evaporates.

    Media consolidation is bad. If more people used the Internet more it would not be bad. But they don’t and it is.

  23. Dave,
    These people who don’t use the internet…do most live in the South part of Pennsylvania, prefer zipper-free clothing, and use carriages instead of cars?

  24. These people who don’t use the internet

    There are still people who do not use the Internet. Moreover, I know a lot of people who use the Internet, but do not use it enough.

    If people used the Internet enough to get their information, then Ron Paul would be the favorite and the top story today would be that guy who got Tasered to death on video in the Vancouver airport. OTOH, if people used the Internet enough, then Matt Welch’s cigar chomping buddies would see to it that people stopped using it so much. (eg, by lobbying for taxation, preferential bandwidth arrangements with ISPs, etc.) The fact that people make such relatively light use of the Internet as an informational source is both a blessing and a curse.

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