Saturday, January 13, 2007

Playing the devil's advocate...

It appears the Internet is the next stop for corporations seeking to profit from media consolidation.
PBS Producer and Commentator Bill Moyers spoke Friday at a national conference for media reform in Memphis, Tenn. He urged his audience to keep a close watch on corporate America, claiming big business will seek profits at the expense of accessibility for the masses.
Media has already digressed to the point where "in-depth coverage of anything, let alone the problems real people face day to day, is as scarce as sex, violence and voyeurism are pervasive," he said.
Indeed, the Internet has already proven an essential medium where underrepresented viewpoints are exchanged. We must protect it from profit-seeking enterprises who try to hamper that exchange of information and opinion. Here, I agree with Moyers.
Where I disagree is in his assessment - albeit a common one - of the state of the industry.
On our first day of Broadcast Issues, Jon asked whether control over information has created a loss of diverse voices. To the contrary, I think we are exposed to a more representative sample of thoughts and opinions now than ever before. Granted, mainstream television media is mostly uniform in its coverage of major issues, and nuanced only by the political leanings of each outlet's master. Still, there is great diversity in the news we can access today through the click of a mouse.
"The real problems" people face day to day vary as deeply as do the individual members of our national community. The representativeness of television news may not be ideal, but let us bear in mind that the broadcasting industry as we know it is becoming a thing of the past. The internet has given us unprecedented access to information.
Moyer is right to fear for the Internet's vulnerability to corporate meddling. Still, he - and many others - need to lighten up with the generalizations they form about the industry as it stands today.



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