Seems that every time I feel myself drifting leftward, the leading lights of leftism jolt me back to reality.
I can understand Obama’s demagoguing on the media ownership issue, though that doesn’t excuse it. He has a huge Internet following, and the Digg/netroots crowd has a fascination/obsession with grand media conspiracy theories.
Truth is, we’re nowhere close to media monopoly, even in traditional media. Information markets are about as diverse as they’ve been in American history. Never mind the explosion of options on cable and satellite TV, satellite radio, and the Internet. Even the craziest, kookiest niches have a voice, now (hell, look at the fringe nut-job you’re reading right now!).
If this “corporate media” beast really exists, and is really the threat to democracy the netroots claim it to be, how to explain the fawning media coverage of Obama over the eighteen months? And I say this as someone who finds Obama to be the least worst of the three remaining major-party candidates. The press has generally doted all over him.
As I’ve pointed out before, much of the left’s obsession with so-called media consolidation is really more an obsession with Rupert Murdoch, whose rise has been the consequence of deregulation that allowed for more media outlets, not fewer. I disagree fairly often with Fox News (and yes, I write a column for the Fox News website), but in general I think it’s a good thing Fox News exists. Same for Air America and, for that matter, the English version of Al-Jazeera. The more outlets there are for information to filter through, the better. You get the feeling that some on the left who decry the rise of Murdoch seem to pine for the day when all of our news was filtered through just a few trusted wise old lefty dinosaurs like Walter Cronkite. That’s an argument for more consolidation, not less.
The ACLU’s decision to weigh in on the media ownership issue is far less understandable than Obama’s–and frankly, more offensive. Of all the assaults on personal freedom taking place at every level of government right now, the ACLU has the resources to launch a campaign on this?
This is why I let my membership expire. The ACLU does great work on the drug war and civil liberties–the latter particularly with respect to the war on terror. If I could support just those parts of the organization, I’d consider joining again. But this crap is inexcusable. It’s economically ignorant, demagogic, based on a false premise, and stakes out a position that limits personal freedom, not one that advances it.