As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Sign Of The End Of A Presidential Term

You have so little to do that you spend your days picking fights with NBC News and The New York Times. Apparently having an agenda isn't taking up much time.

Of course, you can't go wrong attacking the media. Obama's getting mileage out of it as well. But he's making a far more comprehensive critique than just whining about mean reporters saying mean things about you:

On Friday, I wrote about how Obama is subtly sending out signals that he is going to reform media by emphasizing a more diverse ownership structure. Currently, radio station ownership is mostly held by white men. Latinos own 2.9% of all radio stations and African-Americans own 3.4% of them. TV is even worse. According to Free Press, "people of color own just 3.15 percent of commercial television stations in the United States... while women own just 5.87 percent of television stations."

Pledging a more diverse ownership structure is a serious challenge to the current media environment. Today, Obama pledged to use antitrust tools to work on media consolidation.

"I will assure that we will have an antitrust division that is serious about pursuing cases," the Illinois senator told an audience of mostly senior citizens in Oregon.

"There are going to be areas, in the media for example where we're seeing more and more consolidation, that I think (it) is legitimate to the consumer being served?"

Media consolidation is one of those "don't-you-dare-talk-about-it" topics that only someone with the reformer image like Obama can bring up. That he's managing to do it is actually a little courageous - I certainly remember the media wearing T-shirts saying "We have the power" mocking Howard Dean after he conceded, and the turning point in the campaign was when he broached the subject of media consolidation. It's a dead-true topic, by the way - in an exploding media landscape, the narrow band of media voices really does alter the way people interface with politics. Even now the media is trying to deep-six the Pentagon pundits story, and that's but one example. We need a panoply of voices to maintain a well-informed citizenry and allow for independent judgment.

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