Sunday, June 01, 2003

I couldn't agree more with Kevin Drum's post on the media deregulation controversy. He hits on all the reasons why I think the controversy is overblown.

Let me put his reasons in my own words:
  • The government probably shouldn't be regulating the media anyway, and to the extent concentration is a problem, we already have antitrust laws to handle that.
  • We modern Americans have more information from more sources at our fingertips than any other people in the history of the world. Hence, we could do with a little less hyperbole about the FCC destroying the "foundations of a democratic society."
  • As I commented below, the empirical evidence that deregulation is going to cause any concrete harms is awfully slim.
I should add, though, that I've considered (as is my custom) whether my own idiosyncratic self-interest is playing a role in forming my beliefs here. As usual, it might be.

Most people who are worried about the issue seem to think that it would be better to have more diversity of ownership as to television news. Since I rarely watch television news, and since I wish more people would stop watching it altogether, it's possible that I might be underestimating or neglecting the benefit, if there is any, of diverse ownership in that context. Just so you know where I'm coming from.

UPDATE: The FCC has now released its decision. (Go to to find statements from all the Commissioners). Accompanying the press release is a chart (PDF file) that shows the increase in diversity of ownership in several media markets over the past 40 years. The FCC might have cherry-picked the examples, of course, but it's still an interesting chart.


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