As I've written before, I came of age, as the saying goes, during the Reagan years. The man scared me then and as I cast my eye back over that time I find no reason to change my assessment of the man. Remember, St. Ronnie. He'll be making an appearance shortly.
Today, Crooks & Liars has a post about Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) calling for public opposition of the proposed merger between media giant GE/NBC and Comcast. That this could even be within the realm of possibility lies solely at the feet of Ronald Reagan and his deregulation juggernaut.
Once upon a time, there were limits to how many radio stations, TV stations and newspapers one person or entity could own. Until, 1984 (Yay! Ronnie!) the rule was 7. You could own 7 radio stations, 7 TV stations and 7 newspapers. In 1984 that rule was changed to 12 for TV and newspapers. Now, there is no cap on the number of radio stations one person/corporation can own. Since this ruling took effect, American radio ownership has shrunk tremendously. Think Clear Channel.
US media is concentrated in the hands of 6 major companies: General Electric, Disney, News Corp., Viacom, Time Warner and CBS. Together they control 68 broadcast TV stations, 187 radio stations, over 40 cable networks, 4 of the largest film studios, 3 major publishing houses, numerous magazines and a smattering of interests in sports teams, amusement parks and more. Check out those links above for a full listing of who owns what. It's kinda scary.
If GE is allowed to merge/acquire/suck up Comcast, they'll gain 6 cable channels, 4 sports franchises in Philadelphia, and the crown jewel - Comcast Cable. At last they'll be able to compete with Time Warner!
Once upon a time in this country, the FCC was concerned about the concentration of media ownership. They worked to keep one person or corporation from controlling the news in large markets and were committed to diversity. No longer.
It's all about money. It always comes back to money. Just ask Rupert Murdoch.
We may bemoan the recent Supreme Court ruling that corporations are people, but in reality we should not be surprised. We've been moving toward corporate control of our nation for some time. It can be traced to the supposition that deregulation increases competition.
And we have Ronnie Raygun and his band of merry criminals to thank for that.