Wishful thinking re: the News Corporation scandal – that corporate media will crumble into smaller, diverse parts. That ship has already sailed, as the phrase goes.
In the United States, politicians have called for investigations into whether News Corporation entities hacked into the phones of Americans, including the victims of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is now investigating; on Tuesday, Mr. Murdoch said that he was aware of no evidence that any 9/11 American victims had been affected.
But media reform groups like Free Press, which advocates for more diversity in media ownership, say their interest extends far beyond any single investigation.
“I think this is the moment to contend with the serious damage the Murdoch empire has done to our media system over the past few decades,” Craig Aaron, the head of that group, said last week.
The 2004 book “The New Media Monopoly” by Ben H. Bagdikian found that more than half of the radio and television stations, daily newspapers, magazines, publishers and movie studios in the United States were owned by five companies. In January, in the most recent case of consolidation, the government approved a bid by Comcast to take control of NBC Universal.
Proponents of media mergers say such combinations improve consumer access to news, information and entertainment. They say the Internet has fostered competition, creating new choices for consumers.
Groups like Free Press say the opposite — that such combinations reduce the country’s journalistic corps and decrease the diversity of voices in print and on the air. Mr. Aaron said he sensed that most Americans were aware of big media brands like Fox and NBC but unaware that their owners also controlled dozens of other brands. Media companies present an obstacle to awareness: “Most media outlets don’t like to cover themselves.”
But “when people find out just how much those companies own, they are worried about it and want to know more,” he said, adding that the who-owns-what chart was the most popular feature on the Free Press Web site.
(click here to continue reading Murdoch Scandal Stirs U.S. Debate on Big Media – NYTimes.com.)
Case in point, notice the New York Times doesn’t mention its own large stable of companies…, as described by FreePress.net
The New York Times Co. owns more than 50 websites, including: www.about.com, NYTimes.com, global.nytimes.com, Boston.com, www.telegram.com, www.timesdaily.com, www.gadsdentimes.com, www.gainesvillesun.com, www.hendersonvillenews.com, www.houmatoday.com, www.theledger.com, www.the-dispatch.com, www.star-banner.com, www.arguscourier.com, www.pressdemocrat.com, www.busjrnl.com, www.heraldtribune.com, www.groupstate.com, www.dailycomet.com, www.tuscaloosanews.com, www.starnewsonline.com, times.discovery.com, www.nytsyn.com/nytsyn.html, www.nytimesdigest.com, Calorie-Count.com, UCompareHealthCare.com, ConsumerSearch.com and www.blssi.com.
20 Newspapers: The New York Times; International Herald Tribune; The Boston Globe; Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota, FL; The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, CA; The Ledger, Lakeland, FL; Star-News, Wilmington, NC; Herald-Journal, Spartanburg, SC; Star-Banner, Ocala, FL; The Gainesville Sun, Gainesville, FL; The Tuscaloosa News, Tuscaloosa, AL; The Gadsden Times, Gadsden, AL; Times-News, Hendersonville, NC; The Courier, Houma, LA; The Dispatch, Lexington, NC; Petaluma Argus-Courier, Petaluma, CA; North Bay Business Journal, North San Francisco Bay Area, Calif; The Winter Haven News Chief, Winter Haven, FL; Worchester Telegram & Gazette, Daily Comet, Thibodaux, LA.