The slippery slope of media concentration in the United States might be about to go over the edge
Murdoch, who already owns News Corp. along with 21st Century Fox, seems determined on owning everything we hear and see before passing it on to his two sons. If the acquisition proves to be eventually successful, we will see the merging of two already humongous media empires.
With News Corp., Murdoch already owns countless magazines and newspapers across the English speaking world, particularly in Australia and Great Britain. In the United States, he owns the right-leaning New York Post and the Wall Street Journal.
With 21st Century Fox, the conservative media magnate owns a host of movie studios and dozens of local, national and international television stations including fox sports networks and the infamous Fox News station.
Fox and News Corp. combines to form the world’s second-largest media conglomerate. If Rupert Murdoch were to get his hands on TimeWarner, he would acquire the world’s third largest broadcasting/cable company and the world’s largest media conglomerate.
As if there wasn’t too much power in the hands of one man already; TimeWarner’s assets include Warner Bros. Studios, New line Cinema, HBO, CNN, TBS, and DC Entertainment among many others.
The question on people’s minds is what will Murdoch do with these new assets should he acquire them, and how much will his conservative ideology influence them? Good questions which we can only begin to speculate on.
Murdoch is after all a business man first and foremost. With conservatives, wealthy ones to be precise, ideology usually takes a back seat if money is involved. It’s no different with Murdoch. Otherwise a fairly liberal show like the Simpsons would have been cancelled a long time ago.
In that regard, I don’t think we’ll see Superman try and take food stamps away from the poor or hear Batman tell a bum to get a job. On the other hand, what would happen to the liberals with HBO programs like Bill Maher and John Oliver?
How many subscribers would HBO lose if these shows went off the air? Not that many I would presume. It’s a good thing TimeWarner sold off its share of Comedy Central years ago. What becomes of CNN? It is still illegal to own it along with Fox News at the same time. Does he sell it off or simply shut it down and eliminate (the lousy) competition?
Since President Bill Clinton deregulated the media by signing the Telecommunications Act of 1996, competition has given way to consolidation. To be specific the corporate consolidation of information. It’s only getting worse as time goes on.
If this Rupert Murdoch’s merger happens, the danger doesn’t just lie in the content that we’ll be exposed to. By buying up the world’s largest media conglomerate, Murdoch will force his competitors to follow his example in order to stay competitive. Consolidation will therefore grow even quicker.
Eventually, perhaps even in my lifetime, all the information we see and hear on television, movies and newspapers will be controlled by one man or company. Freedom of choice will cease to exist and freedom of the press will disappear (if it hasn’t already).
If someone like Rupert Murdoch, who owns a news network that reports the truth 8% of the time, also owns all that we see and hear, democracy will become a shadow of its former self and so will our history books.
History is written by those who report it. Do we really want one tiny group of individuals telling us what is, what was and what will be? We are already on a slippery slope when it comes to media concentration in the country. If Murdoch is successful, we’ll have gone over the edge.