- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Metropolitan Books; 1ST edition (January 9, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0805078193
- ISBN-13: 978-0805078190
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 10 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,244,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fighting for Air: The Battle to Control America's Media 1ST Edition
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So how did this happen? Over the past two decades our government has been "deregulating" media. At one time, no company was allowed to own more than one television station in a community. The number of radio stations were also strictly regulated. And the FCC would never have allowed a company that owned a major daily newspaper to own a television station in the same town. All of this began to change in the 1980's as broadcasters cried poverty and declared that they were having a difficult time turning a profit. There was some truth to this claim, particularly for small to medium size AM radio stations. Broadcasters petitioned to have ownership restrictions relaxed and as you will see the deregulation of our media began in earnest in the late 80's. Perhaps the most dramatic and controversial measure was the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In one fell swoop Congress and the FCC eliminated the national station ownership limit altogether and raised local limits from four to as many as eight radio stations in some communities. As a result of this legislation, Clear Channel now controls more than 1200 local radio stations in the United States. A funny thing happened as local radio and television stations were gobbled up by the media giants...local programming began to disappear. The change is most noticable on the radio where thousands of local hosts have been let go. Talk shows that used to focus on local issues have been replaced by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. And that guy giving you the weather on your local TV station may be based in a city hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles from your town.
Eric Klinenberg does an outstanding job of framing these issues for his readers. There is so much at stake here. It matters not your political persuasion. Each and every one of us has lost something precious. It is high time that the American people began to fight back! "Fighting For Air: The Battle To Control America's Media" is a great way to educate yourself about these extremely important issues. But we face an uphill fight. For obvious reasons you will never hear or see these issues discussed and debated on the major networks nor will you see them written about in the major newspapers in this country. Once you understand this, you will then begin to realize why so many Americans are convinced that the short-sighted and irresponsible consolidation of the media should rank as the top issue in the upcoming election. We must demand accountability from our elected officials. This is a comprehensive and well written book and one that I can highly recommend!
The accountants, marketers, & investment bamkers have stormed the newsrooms and hijacked its mission - there is NO LONGER THE ILLUSION THAT PUBLIC SERVICE IS THERE FIRST MISSION. IT has become instead a mission to establish local momopolies. Jack up advertising rates, downsize the editorial staffs( & where possible, break up unions), shrink news rooms.
News is actually commentary and entertaiment, not local reporting. What used to be a public trust is now just a cash cow.
What has been lost for the citizen is what A.J. Liebling, legendary press critic, called diversity in ownership that promotes competition, creates opportunities for smaller companies, local business people, creative programming, and in its stead, no public benefit. In short its the journalism, not the news print, that should be the bottom line.
Now they are going after the internet spreading THE LIE that new technology has rendered the changes of internet consolidation obsolite. Net Neutality is in the fascist's crosshairs.
Speaking of Michael Powell, who never met a merger he did'nt like, or monopoloy for that matter; the public be damned was his attitude.
In short the checks & balances made possible by diverse competition are being eradicated. When it all comes down to it there will be 2 or 3 companies that essentially own access to our culture. It will be impossible to break up as THOSE MONOPOLIES WILL BE SO POLITICALLY POWERFULL AND WILLING TO SPEND UNGODLY AMOUNTS OF $$$ - THAT NO GOVERNMENT COULD STAND UP TO THEM.
My only criticism is that a more extensive discussion of the political economy of consolidation and its wider context in the US and international economies, and a more detailed critique of the failed libertarian economic paradigm which was used to sell consolidation to policymakers would be useful. But that would be asking for a much longer and more complicated book, and one which would probably not have done as admirable a job in explaining in simple and direct terms the complexities of consolidation and its dreadful consequences of American public life.
I recommend Fighting for Air as essential reading for anyone who wants to understand this vital area of public policy.