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Anti-Trust/Anti-Merger Laws

In response to the continuing deterioration of the quality of news and information that is being relayed to the public through various forms of media, certain governmental policies must be put in place. The Federal Communications Commission should suspend all mergers and consolidations between media corporations indefinitely. The FCC should in fact completely reform its rules and regulations in regards to media ownership such that these corporations are forced to give back to the community. Right now, the owners of the media corporations have almost total control of the content of their news, oftentimes leading to biased news or infotainment. The public however needs a balanced, informative type of news presented to them through the media, virtually the only way most citizens receive their news.
According to Ben Bagdikian in the latest version of his Media Monopoly, the merging of giant corporations, such as Time Warner and AOL, jeopardizes the dissemination of necessary “independent and diverse” news that the public can use to form their own opinions. Large media corporations push the companies which they own to promote certain products or services to reap themselves more profit. In effect, these news subsidiaries are destroying the very core of journalism, that which ought to serve the public. The six large media corporations that are currently dominating the media landscape are worsening the problem as all of them “own stock in each other…[and] cooperate in joint media ventures.” This is more troubling when you consider that the six corporations “have more annual media revenues than the next twenty combined.” This media domination is also affecting the political landscape of the country as the reportage now only covers a narrow range of politics, usually biasing itself to a certain side. Thus, the public opinion on certain issues will be swayed, and the mass media’s control over what the people see and hear essentially deteriorates the democracy that it is supposed to create.
It is not likely to stop either. According to Robert Greenwald in the July 3, 2006 article of The Nation, media corporations are now diversifying their platforms, leading to more and more opportunities for them to make money. The resources are growing which could mean better quality news, but that might not be as cost-effective as simple infotainment that the corporations will likely stick with producing.
In the same article of The Nation, Robert McChesney states that it is the government which is making it all possible. Their lax anti-trust laws have become even more lax as the media corporations grow larger and more powerful. And the public is absent while the decisions of the government adhere only to big media corporations. As McChesney puts it, there is no “informed public participation on media-policy making.” That which consumes the free time of many Americans is not controlled by those Americans.
After research on the state of media, it is alarming to learn that the government allows this sort of monopolistic rule. Americans need better out of their media. Although it might be beneficial to disassemble the six largest media corporations, it would likely only lead to other smaller corporations fulfilling the same roles all over again. In order to improve the news that people are receiving, it is imperative that the rules that govern the foundation of media are overhauled. Anti-trust laws must dominate the new rules to ensure that the power of the news does not rest in a few media corporations’ hands. By creating such laws, independent, diverse news would flourish in all forms of media. The news that people would receive would come from true journalists who will want nothing more than to inform on the most salient and relevant news. Because media is the main means of communication of the news for this country, it must be improved to better reflect the same notions of democracy that helped create this country.

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