Magazine article Reason

The Myth of Media Monopoly

Magazine article Reason

The Myth of Media Monopoly

Article excerpt

LET ME APOLOGIZE in advance for any nightmares induced by this month's cover image. And let me apologize to dominatrices, too, for linking them to as controversial and (in some circles) disreputable a figure as Rupert Murdoch.

Yet the questions our cover asks--Does Rupert Murdoch control the media? Does anyone?--are vitally important and deserving of a provocative image. As the power behind News Corp., the Fox broadcast network, the Fox News Channel, The Weekly Standard, and more, Murdoch seems every inch a latter-day William Randolph Hearst, controlling a media empire that many believe exercises tyrannical, ideologically driven control over the nation's news and entertainment.

Liberals and leftists fume especially at the popular success of the Fox News Channel. As Robert McChesney, co-author of Our Media, Not Theirs: The Democratic Struggle Against Corporate Media, has thundered, Fox News "does virtually no journalism at all." For their part, conservatives wink at Fox News' self-evidently ironic "fair and balanced" mantra, preferring to forget that only a few years ago Murdoch was an arch villain to them. In 1999 professional moralist "Lucky Bill" Bennett teamed tip with current Democratic presidential hopeful. Joe Lieberman to present the Aussie-born magnate a "Silver Sewer Award," an honor the dyspeptic duo used to bestow annually upon the nation's top "cultural polluter." By creating TV shows such as Married ... With Children and The Simpsons, Murdoch supposedly had "done more than any other programmer in television to foul the public airwaves and define our cultural norms down. …

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