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Scholar sounds mega-merger alarm!,
This review is from: The Media Monopoly (Paperback)
When a book reaches its fifth edition, it's usually got something to say. In two prefaces, an introduction, 13 chapters and an afterword, Bagdikian sounds an alarm against the dangerous influences that corporations have had on the media landscape. He argues that concentrated control of the media amounts to a "new kind of central authority over information" (p.xiv). The book provides anecdotal insight into some instances where corporate control has negatively impacted the content of various media outlets. Pointing out that the majority of corporate leaders are economically conservative, Bagdikian states that if their corporate interests are at stake, the leaders will use the power over their media holdings to exact influence in the situation:"Some intervention by owners is direct and blunt. But most of the screening is subtle, some not even occuring at a conscious level, as when subordinates learn by habit to conform to owner's ideas" (p.45). He adds: "The quiet alteration of news...may seem preferable to placing corporate money and reputation in jeapordy" (p.37). In one chapter, the author includes detailed information on how newspaper owners once influenced then President Nixon to support passage of the Newspaper Preservation Act; effectively allowing newspapers special status to shield them from anti-trust, monopoly regulations. For his role, "In 1972 Richard Nixon received the highest percentage of newspaper endorsements of any candidate in modern times" (p.99). Bagdikian does a fine job highlighting a very important issue that could benefit from further research. Indeed, perhaps empirical rather than anecdotal evidence would bolster many of the claims eluded to in the book. In writing this book, however, Bagdikian has created a seminal work in the field dealing with increasing corporate control of news sources and the potentially negative effects this can have on the overall structure and operations of media outlets throughout the world.