Ted Turner on the dangers of Big Media
The following excerpts of an article by CNN founder Ted Turner were written a little more than one year ago. However, they are still valid, if not more so, and because each paragraph is in itself a quotable quote, I thought I'd run it today. Note that he refers to General Electric (GE), which not only owns NBC (thus profoundly influencing the thinking and opinions of hundreds of millions of people worldwide) but also happens to be the USA's 14th largest military contractor:
"The media giants now own not only broadcast networks and local stations; they also own the cable companies that pipe in the signals of their competitors and the studios that produce most of the programming. To get a flavor of how consolidated the industry has become, consider this: In 1990, the major broadcast networks -- ABC, CBS, NBC, and Fox -- fully or partially owned just 12.5 percent of the new series they aired. By 2000, it was 56.3 percent. Just two years later, it had surged to 77.5 percent …
"The Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans exerts a negative influence on society, because it discourages people who want to climb up the list from giving more money to charity. The Nielsen ratings are dangerous in a similar way--because they scare companies away from good shows that don't produce immediate blockbuster ratings.
"When media companies"When media companies dominate their markets, it undercuts our democracy. Justice Hugo Black, in a landmark media-ownership case in 1945, wrote: 'The First Amendment rests on the assumption that the widest possible dissemination of information from diverse and antagonistic sources is essential to the welfare of the public.' …
dominate their markets,
it undercuts our democracy"
"These big companies are not antagonistic; they do billions of dollars in business with each other. They don't compete; they cooperate to inhibit competition. You and I have both felt the impact. I felt it in 1981, when CBS, NBC, and ABC all came together to try to keep CNN from covering the White House. You've felt the impact over the past two years, as you saw little news from ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, Fox, or CNN on the FCC's actions. In early 2003, the Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of Americans had heard 'nothing at all' about the proposed FCC rule changes …
"But networks have also been compromised when it comes to non-news programs which involve their corporate parent's business interests. General Electric subsidiary NBC Sports raised eyebrows by apologizing to the Chinese government for Bob Costas's reference to China's 'problems with human rights' during a telecast of the Atlanta Olympic Games. China, of course, is a huge market for GE products …
"At this late stage, media companies have grown so large and powerful, and their dominance has become so detrimental to the survival of small, emerging companies, that there remains only one alternative: bust up the big conglomerates."
Ted Turner, ‘My Beef with Big Media: How government protects big media -- and shuts out upstarts like me’, Washington Monthly, July/August, 2004
Who owns CNN? or MSNBC? ABC?
"So ya think we have a "free press" eh? Check out who owns who, and who owns what you think ..."
Top 25 Media Companies’ Campaign Contributions, 1999-2002 (lid dip to Nora)
Tagged: media, corporations, fcc, television, tv, military, disinformation, propaganda