Liberal non-profit organizations, touting themselves as “consumer advocate” and “watchdog” groups, have been sprouting-up around the country during the Bush presidency, lamenting the lack of “consumer choice” and the “content” and “quality” of information that American consumers receive via local and national media. Activists within this movement use morally high-minded terms like “media justice” (whatever this means), “democratizing the media,” and “diversity.”
Now arguably, in our present era of blogging, “citizen journalism,” and “You Tube”- styled web portals, the media landscape is more diverse now that it ever has been. But the “media reform” activists ignore the many ways in which our free-market economy has allowed anyone and everyone to communicate to the world, and how it has given rise to a greater diversity of radio formats than ever before. Instead, liberal activists express concern over what they believe are “alarming trends” in American media, and seek legislative “solutions” to these trends.
They lament the phenomena of “media consolidation” (“too much power over America’s airwaves is concentrated in the hands of too few companies”), ignoring that it was President Bill Clinton who ushered-in the present levels of corporate radio ownership with the “Telecom Bill of 1995.” They lament the declining circulation of hardcopy newspapers - - as though it is a Bush-Cheney scandal that Americans are choosing the internet over the printed paper. They lament that Americans choose to consume the “biased” Fox Newschannel more than they choose to consume CNN (as though CNN is somehow “objective”). And they lament that Americans choose to listen to the conservative Sean Hannity radio show, more than they choose, say, the liberal Alan Colmes radio show.
And make no mistake - - the “media reform” movement is, itself, liberal. At the recent, 4th annual “National Conference For Media Reform” in Minneapolis, the list of keynote speakers included liberal commentator Bill Moyers, and Dan Rather - - the man who dragged CBS News through the gutter and was ultimately fired by the organization for lying about the President of the United States in the election year of 2004. The conference also included a sympathetic FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, who offered his own lament about the “dumbed-down civic dialog” that our current media landscape has created.
Ultimately, activists within the “media reform movement” don’t like the fact that as choices and options have expanded for American media consumers, conservative personalities and ideas have proliferated. Americans, choosing freely, are ultimately choosing the “wrong” kind of media content, and this must be stopped.
Should he win the election, look for President Obama to lead with his “convictions” on “media reform” - - just as he did with campaign finance reform.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.