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Friday, July 25, 2003

Posted by Jake
Beltway Media Meltdown -- Is Rupert Murdoch five TV stations away from world domination?

I may have said this before, but let me just say it again to go on record. These people -- people who want to restrict media ownership -- are being alarmist idiots.

Fox owns 37 of the 1,340 stations in the U.S., and the rules would allow it to buy, oh, maybe another five. Even Rupert Murdoch will need more than a few new outlets in Topeka and Palm Springs to effect world domination.

Even if you exclude the Internet, there is no way this change is going to let one company take over the news. It is too big, too diverse, and if I may say so way to competitive an industry for any one company to hold sway. Why? Because the moment people realize you are hyping a story or not giving them the whole story they will turn on you and head across the street -- or rather flip the channel.

Furthermore, I agree that this debate is proxy for arguments about media bias:

Democrats complain that a higher cap is a sop to the "conservative" Fox network (never mind that the rule will also let Dan Rather's employer, Viacom, into more markets). A few Senate Republicans--such as Mississippi's Trent Lott--feel their home state "liberal" media has been mean to them and see the caps as a way to get even.


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