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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The assault on free speech

The hands of time are ticking down the days of the Republican Revolution and the reality of being tossed overboard is hitting home. Why else the Republican assault on speech?

No, not the juvenile antics of the Bush administration to silence potential protesters by holding closed events and arresting people with political T-shirts. Or the offensive musings of Ann Coulter. Or even the amateur hour effort of Congressional Republicans to ban the reimposition of the fairness doctrine.

Nope, this is the granddaddy of them all, making sure only a handful of people and corporations own the media outlets in the city -- cutting off the chance that multiple voices can be heard.

The call by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin to ease media ownership rules to allow corporations to own both newspapers and television stations in the same town is the final piece of the push -- begun with the elimination of the fairness doctrine -- to homogenize the "news" and deliver it with one voice -- that of the owner.

As far back as 1983, when Ronald Reagan launched this assault on a diversity of opinions, that very diversity was starting to crack. As Ben Bagdikian chronicled, 50 corporations controlled the majority of the news media. Today it is down to about five.

The elimination of the fairness doctrine led to the rise of right wing talk radio. The concentration of ownership in fewer hands -- all with the Orwellian claim there are no so many outlets, like the blogosphere to carry a message that there's no need for regulation -- would speed the demise of multiple viewpoints.

Do you honestly think more people get their facts from me than the Globe (owned by The New York Times)?

The plan is vividly on display with Rupert Murdoch, the purchase of the Wall Street Journal, the launching of the Fox Business Channel -- all led by the man who did Richard Nixon's media in 1968, ran George H.W. Bush's slimy campaign in 1988 and helped launch the "Fair and Balanced" Fox News Channel in 1996.

One man (Murdoch). One voice, consisting of sex, violence and mayhem and the infusion of political bias in the name of "balance." Something to look forward to, isn't it?

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Anonymous Joel Patterson said...

I recall Rupert Murdoch has donated a fair amount of money to Hillary Clinton. No doubt to ease his transition to yet more billions at the expense of a diversity of viewpoints, even if Hillary wins.

October 18, 2007 6:12 AM  

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