Simpsons and Media Ownership
I was watching the Simpsons on Sunday, the one where Burns buys all the media in Springfield, and it got me thinking about media ownership issues. It was a rather well done social commentary on the negative implications of allowing large scale media consolidation. The theory goes that more consolidation leads to more shows catering to the more baser instincts (more sex, violence, stupidity)/more profitable viewer population (18-34 yr old males), more censorship of issues that make the bosses or their favored political candidates look bad, and less local programming and local pre-emption in accordance with community preferences. As an example of this, on the Simpsons, after Burns buys the TV station, the news becomes very Burns-friendly and one of the editorializers is a woman with large breasts who says "boobs" over and over. The answer in the Simpsons is more smaller local newsletters. While this really isn't feasible, it is analgous to the internet and people having blogs and independent websites. However, the argument that the internet is an equal substitute for gathering information is false. Many more people obtain their information from broadcast news or papers than from the internet. The vast majority that use the internet for news, look up the news websites, like washingtonpost.com.