by Richard Huffman

"The United States has an impressive array of mass communications. There are 1,700 daily newspapers, 11,000 magazines, 9,000 radio and 1,000 television stations, 2,500 book publishers and 7 movie studios. If each of these were operated by a different owner, there would be 25,000 individual media voices in the country. Such a large number would almost guarantee a full spectrum of political and social ideas distributed to the population... . But there are not 25,000 different owners. Today fifty corporations own most of the output of daily newspapers and most of the sales and the audience in magazines, broadcasting, books, and movies. The fifty men and women who head these corporations would fit in a large room. They constitute a Private Ministry of Information and Culture." --The Media Monopoly, by Ben Bagdikian1


In 1983, Pulitzer Prize-winner Bagdikian had crafted what every good journalist strives for: a simple, easily understood visual image to explain a concept that otherwise would be confusing. Fifty men and women sitting in a large room, holding complete control over half of the information flow to 250 million Americans. If that "large room" image was shocking when Bagdikian wrote it in 1983, the picture today is obscene. Just fourteen short years later, ten corporations now control most of the information flow in America.2 The large room of 1983 is now much too big--a walk-in closet could comfortably accomodate Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation, Sumner Redstone of Viacom, Michael Eisner of Disney/Cap Cities/ABC, and their seven brethren at Time/Warner, Sony, TCI, Seagram, Westinghouse, Gannett, and General Electric.

But perhaps an extra-large bed would provide an even more appropriate visual image. Unlike the good old days, when that large and unwieldy group of fifty men and women mostly confined themselves to independent control of their own internal fiefdoms, the ten men today are on quite intimate terms with one another. For instance, John Malone's TCI owns 21 percent of Ted Turner's Turner Broadcasting,3 which has just been brought into the fold of Time/Warner,4 which owns a majority stake of the Learning Channel and the Discovery Channel,5 which are partially owned by ... Malone's TCI.6 This inbred, interconnected nature is common among virtually all of the top media mega-corporations. In many ways, it seems, there is really only one mega-media Goliath, with the power to lay waste to all in its path.

In 1965, Intel corporation's co-founder, Gordon Moore, was the first to describe the phenomenon of computer chips halving in price every 18 months, coupled with a doubling in their computing power.7 Similarly, the concentration of media power over the past two decades has followed a Moore's Law-style trajectory: as the number of media-monsters shrinks every year, the remaining media corporations appear to inversely gain power at the same rate. In the early 1980s Gannett purchased Combined Communications Corporation for the then-astronomical figure of 340 million dollars--the biggest media deal in history.8 Last year's purchase of Cap Cities/ABC by the Walt Disney Company made headlines as well--most of which emphasized the humor of "Mickey Mouse" owning ABC television. Little mention was ever made of the truly astronomical 19 billion dollar price tag.

As Bagdikian's book, "The Media Monopoly," went through four editions, he constantly had to revise his figures: "from fifty corporations in 1984, to twenty-six in 1987, followed by twenty-three in 1990, and then, as the borders between the different media began to blur, to less than twenty in 1993," wrote Bagdikian.9 By the mid-1990s, most of the major media conglomerates began butting up against federal telecommunication regulations--some of the very few barriers in place to prevent them from further consolidating. Rather than halting their merger-mania, and accepting a playing field dominated by twenty-odd "teams," the media-conglomerates threw their weight and their hefty bank accounts around Washington D.C. and were instrumental in the passage of the 1996 Federal Telecommunications Act, which allowed unprecedented concentration in media ownership. Recently, Bagdikian was proven right again, when he was able to demonstrate in his newly published fifth edition of "The Media Monopoly" that in the few short years since the publication of the fourth edition of his book, and due in great part to the passage of the telecommunications bill, the number of conglomerates dominating the American media landscape has halved again, now holding steady at ten.10

Democracy--if it has any hope of working--depends on a fully-informed electorate. Ironically, the behavior of the members of the media cartel during the deliberations over the Telecommunications Act--intense congressional lobbying, massive cash outlays, and an almost complete news blackout--perfectly illustrate how democracy does not, and will not, work in an American media landscape dominated by so few corporations. Whether by conspiracy or by having mutual goals, the mega-media corporations have shown an ability to shape and limit news coverage to meet their own narrow needs, and a united willingness to exploit that ability. Because the media's needs are often, by definition, in opposition to the need of an American public to be fully informed on issues, and because there is virtually no other recourse for Americans to get their information, American democracy is threatened in the most insidious way possible.

The Goliath that is the ten-member media cartel has the ability to wield its power in fearsome ways. But this modern-day monster has learned a valuable lesson from its Biblical predecessor--it has swept the playing field clean of any stones capable of inflicting harm. In the modern media battlefield, would-be Davids--an American citizenry valiantly attempting to be fully informed--find themselves groping desperately for a slingshot or stone that is just not there.

It is difficult to grasp the sheer size and complexity of the new media conglomerates. Time/Warner, the largest of them all, is indicative of the massive reach of these corporations: In its film unit, Time/Warner owns Warner Brothers Pictures, Morgan Creek, New Regency, Warner Brothers Animation, and a partial stake in Savoy Pictures. Its book-publishing reach includes Little Brown & Co., Bullfinch, Back Bay, Time-Life Books, Oxmoor House, Sunset Books, Warner Books, and Book-of-the-Month Club. Its music properties include Warner/Chappell Music, Atlantic Records, Warner Audio Books, Elektra, Warner Brothers Records, Time-Life Music, Columbia House, and a 40% stake in Seattle's Sub-Pop records. Time/Warner's extensive magazine holdings include Time magazine, Fortune, Life, Sports Illustrated, Vibe, People, Entertainment Weekly, Money, In Style, Martha Stewart Living, Sunset, Asia Week, Parenting, Weight Watchers, Cooking Light, and all of DC Comics. Time/Warner owns 49% the Six Flags theme parks, as well as all of the fledgling Movie World and Warner Brothers parks. Time/Warner's crown jewels, its cable holdings, are equally extensive: ownership of several cable franchises covering 11.5 million subscribers, HBO, Cinemax, Warner Brothers Television (producers of ER), partial ownership of Comedy Central, E!, Black Entertainment Television, Court TV, the Sega channel, and the Home Shopping Network. Time/Warner's recent acquisition of Turner Broadcasting brought a whole new slew of properties into the fold: the Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks professional sports teams, World Championship Wrestling, Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, New Line Cinema, Fine Line Cinema, Turner Classic Movies, Turner Pictures, Castlerock productions, CNN, CNN Headline News, CNN International, CNN/SI, CNN Airport Network, CNNfi (financial news), CNN radio, TNT, WTBS, Turner Classic Movies, and the Cartoon Network.11 Media scholar Robert McChesney estimates the current yearly revenue for each of the five largest corporations--Time/Warner, TCI, News Corporation, Disney, and Viacom--is from 10 to 25 billion dollars.

The Time/Warner level of diversity is evident with the other nine media conglomerates as well, with the exception that a few of the giants, like General Electric and Westinghouse, have added the twist of extensive investment in non-media properties. While Viacom, Time/Warner, News Corporation, Gannett, and the others are content to gobble up more and more of the media pie, G.E. (the largest company in America and owner of NBC) and Westinghouse (owners of CBS) have widely diverse portfolios in several industries. Among G.E. and Westinghouse's most lucrative endeavors: nuclear energy. G.E. and Westinghouse are among the world's leading manufacturers of generators and other parts for nuclear energy plants. They are also both top defense contractors, with G.E. being a major manufacturer of jet engines and Westinghouse a manufacturer of surveillance radar and missile launching systems, which they sell to both the United States military as well as foreign militaries.13 Westinghouse recently announced plans to spin off its non-media assets,14 which will put them in line with eight of their cartel brethren.

As important as the extent of the ten giants' media holdings is the joined-at-the-hip nature that their interconnected holdings puts them in. One of the media giants cannot cough without one of the others giants reflexively covering its mouth. In many ways it is like a grand daisy chain: Seagram owns 50% of the USA Network with Viacom,15 who shares ownership of Comedy Central with Time/Warner,16 who co-owns the Home Shopping Network with TCI,17 ad infinitum. According to McChesney, "[E]ach of the eight largest US media firms has, on average, joint ventures with four of the other seven media giants."18 Perhaps more telling than any other example of the mutual dependencies of these corporations is that two of the three largest shareholders in Time/Warner--the biggest media conglomerate--are Seagram (at almost 15% ownership) and TCI (9%), themselves members of the top ten.19 Capital Group Companies, Inc., a massive 250 billion dollar mutual fund, further blurs the boundaries between the conglomerates because it owns 9% of Time Warner, as well some of the very largest stakes in TCI, News Corporation, Seagram, Viacom, Disney, and Westinghouse.20

"So media power is political power," concludes Bagdikian, in the forthcoming collection "We the Media: A Media & Democracy Field Guide."21 Bagdikian is bemoaning the power that the members of the media cartel have over Washington, D.C. politicians. That awesome power was flexed most recently when the major media corporations were instrumental in securing passage of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which solely benefited the major media corporations. To know how the major media cartel can subvert participatory democracy, one needs to look no further than the cartel's efforts to ensure the passing of that landmark bill.

But corporate involvement in telecommunications law is nothing new. McChesney's "Telecommunications, Mass Media & Democracy" describes how the very first United States Telecommunications Act (in 1934) was itself almost a complete product of the efforts of the emerging broadcast giants--it was constructed almost entirely to meet their needs rather than to serve the public interest.22 The law covered the broadcast spectrum and, despite concerted efforts to reserve portions of the spectrum for nonprofit uses, big business carried the day. In praising McChesney's book, reknowned social critic Noam Chomsky (in a public-access television appearance) underscored McChesney's thesis: "[Big business] won a grand ideological victory in 1934 by equating the free enterprise market with democracy." Chomsky later observes that America is the only western nation to have given virtually its entire broadcast spectrum (assumed to be owned by the public in every other western nation) to the private sector.23

The 1934 telecommunications bill divided up the nation into radio markets, for the exclusive use of the emerging media corporations. These corporations were given operating licenses to ensure that they operated in the "public interest, convenience, and necessity."24 Every five years, when a station's license came up for renewal, it was (theoretically) accountable for its efforts to serve the American people through public interest programming. Rules governing concentration of ownership were also put in place, limiting the newly forming radio (and later, television) networks from owning more than one AM and one FM radio station in a given market and seven national television affiliates.25 The 1934 telecommunications bill, with a few revisions along the way, was the guiding force governing the broadcast media in America until the mid-1990s.

By the early 1990s the major broadcasters had reached the upper limits of expansion within the confines of the restrictions imposed by the 1934 Telecommunications Act: companies like Disney and News Corporation already owned the maximum number of television affiliates and radio stations that the law allowed--seven. For these media-monsters, it was either accept that a saturation point had been reached, or begin agitating for an expanded playing field. It didn't take long for them to decide which option looked more attractive.

When Newt Gingrich's Republican revolution came storming into Washington, D.C. in 1994, riding on its 20% of the registered-voting population mandate, the idealistic, reform-minded Republicans warmly welcomed their new media friends. Bagdikian describes the scene after the Republicans took office: "They [the Republican leadership] invited telecommunications corporate heads to Washington, sat down with them and said, according to the Wall Street Journal, "What do you want?" And they gave it to them in the 1996 bill. ..."26

The 1996 bill allows one company to now own television stations that reach up to 35 percent of the American population. One company can now also own radio stations totalling 35% of the listenership in a given market, and an unlimited number of stations across the country27 (it had been capped at 24 as recently as 199328). Perhaps most insidious was the new rule allowing for a single company to own not only a TV and several radio licenses in a given market, but the only newspaper in the market as well, granting a complete vertical local monopoly over information outlets.29

The bill also allowed many other companies that had previously been prevented from entering the broadcasting fray, like the Baby Bells, to compete with the cable and television giants.30 In theory, with the phone giants in the picture, the mega-corporations would be forced to reduce their prices and increase their services to compete effectively--a win-win situation for the American public.

The house version of the bill passed 414 to 16, with the Senate version passing by an equally large margin, 91 to 5. President Bill Clinton signed the bill into law shortly thereafter.31

During the next election cycle, the media corporations rewarded their politician friends handsomely. In the 1995-1996 election cycle, Disney gave $296,450 to the GOP in "soft money" contributions, while Time/Warner kicked in $325,000, News Corporation gave $654,700, G.E. gave $130,350, and Westinghouse gave $140,925. Rupert Murdoch, the C.E.O. of News Corporation, also graciously donated $1 million to the California Republican Party.32

Perhaps because the bill garnered widespread bipartisan support, the media-monsters ponied up to the Democrats as well: Disney giving them $1,063,050, Time/Warner giving $401,250, News Corporation giving $20,000, G.E. giving $132,930, and Westinghouse giving $37,000. These five corporations also gave an additional $1.25 million directly to federal candidates (mostly Republican) through their political action committees.33

But it wasn't merely throwing cash around Washington, D.C. that the media cartel used to secure the passage of the bill. They also needed an almost complete lack of news coverage of the bill as well, lest the insidious aspects become too apparent to the general public. This, of course, was a fait accompli--there was little chance that the media cartel was going to have its own media properties report critically on a bill that they were spending millions of dollars to have passed, and betting billions on its passage.

One portion of the bill was heavily covered in the press, with a related cover story in Time/Warner's Time magazine,34 as well as many other areas: Senator James Exon's indecency provision for the Internet. In retrospect, much of this portion of the act seemed so wildly unconstitutional--so destined for overturning by even the current conservative Supreme Court--that it is difficult not to interpret its heavy press coverage as a canard designed to attract attention away from the rest of the bill.

A measure of the corporate media's success at keeping news of the bill from the American public is its selection by Project Censored as the most censored news story of 1995.35 Project Censored is a highly regarded twenty-year-old organizations that highlights major stories not covered in the mainstream press. In its analysis of the telecommunications issue, Project Censored noted that "... galling was the major media's almost complete and utter avoidance of the 'monopoly ownership' factor in their reporting of the bill's progress in Congress."36

There were a few bright spots of clarity in the mainstream media. Cap Cities/ABC's Nightline devoted its June 14, 1995 show (which aired six weeks prior to the announcement of the Disney merger), titled "New Communications Law, a Power Giveaway?" to the subject.37 The New York Times' columnist, Frank Rich, has regularly criticized the growing concentration of media power created by the telecommunications bill. It is worth noting, however, that The New York Times, though very wealthy and powerful, is not among the top ten members of the media cartel.

But Nightline and Frank Rich were the exceptions to the rule. More typically, the media cartel's news outlets merely chose to ignore the power-concentration aspect of the Telecommunications Act. The perfect mass-audience vehicle for an explanatory news story analyzing the bill would have been a segment on a TV news magazine. However, based on a quick perusal of TV listings for 1995, apparently none of the major TV news magazines of Westinghouse/CBS (48 hours, 60 Minutes), Disney/ Cap Cities/ABC (Primetime Live, 20/20), or General Electric/NBC (Dateline NBC) devoted a minute of their 300 or so hours of airtime to the issue.38

Even before the ink was dry on the bill, massive media mergers began rumbling across the countryside. So confident that the bill would pass, Disney announced its $19 billion merger with Cap Cities/ABC on July 31, 1995, six months before the bill was signed into law39--if the bill hadn't been signed, the merger would have been illegal. That next day Westinghouse bought CBS for the bargain rate of $5.4 billion;40 the Time/Warner purchase of Turner Broadcasting for $7.5 billion was inked that year as well.41

The Telecommunications Act was directly and indirectly responsible for many other mergers and acquisitions by members of the media cartel as well. Seagram purchased MCA, owners of Universal Studios and theme parks for $5.7 billion, News Corporation formed a $2 billion partnership with MCI Communications, General Electric's NBC formed an alliance with Microsoft to create MSNBC, Gannett bought Multimedia Inc. (owners of television and radio stations, and several syndicated talk shows) for $1.7 billion, and Viacom sold its cable systems to fellow cartel member TCI for $2.25 billion, among many other mega-deals.42 According to the January 1, 1996 Bloomberg Business News report, the total cost for the 1995 media mergers topped $60 billion.43

In mid-1996 Westinghouse bought Infinity Broadcasting, owners of the Howard Stern and Don Imus syndicated radio shows, for $3.9 billion.44 Freed up by the looser restrictions of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Infinity themselves had just completed a feeding frenzy in the radio marketplace, buying up enough stations to make them America's number two owner of radio stations. The number one radio powerhouse? Westinghouse.45 Westinghouse's purchase of Infinity secured their place as the undisputed leader in American radio.

The promised competition in the telecommunications industry never materialized--it's hard to imagine anyone ever actually thought it would. Supposedly, the competition from the Baby Bells was going to drive down prices and create better service. In his preface to "The Media Monopoly," Bagdikian noted the obvious fallacy to this scenario: "It costs an average of $200,000 a mile to lay down fiber optic telecommunications channels in city streets. It did not take an angel from heaven to whisper to the cable and phone companies planning to dig side by side at $200,000-a-mile that they could join forces and make more money at less expense without competing. And that is what happened."46

With the media cartel controlling over 50% of the media outlets in the country, it is easy to see how a tight lid was kept on the coverage of the negative aspects of the Telecommunications Act before it was passed. But after it passed, when the full truth of what the bill actually did came to light--the record-smashing $60 billion worth of anti-competitive consolidations--the national press was remarkably accepting and non-judgemental. After dozens of mergers concentrated the nation's media holdings into fewer and fewer hands, much of the media parroted the official line that these mergers constituted some form of increased competition (the official government description of the bill says that it was designed "to provide a pro-competitive ... national policy framework" and open "... all telecommunications markets to competition ...").47 "Does the merger of No. 1 Westinghouse with No. 2 Infinity put too much wattage in too few hands?" asked Associated Press business analyst Scott Williams shortly after the merger. "Not necessarily. On the contrary, broadcasting executives and others say that Westinghouse-Infinity could help stimulate creativity and diversity on the airwaves."48 Presumably these are the same "broadcasting executives" that threw enough money around Washington, D.C. to convince legislators that media consolidation means increased competition.

Over the past few years, Ken Auletta, the gifted and highly influential media reporter for The New Yorker, has managed to transform the telecommunications debate from a discussion of issues to a personalities-driven story. By covering the media cartel's corporate heads in exquisite, fly-on-the-wall detail, Auletta has put a human face on corporations that should probably remain faceless. For readers of Auletta, TCI is John Malone, Viacom is Sumner Redstone, Seagram is Edgar Bronfman, Jr.--and of course Auletta's two favorite subjects are Time/Warner/Turner's Ted Turner and News Corporation's Rupert Murdoch. Auletta brings life to the mutual loathing that many of these titanic egos have for one another.

Like with the New York Times, much of the broadcast media seems to take many of its cues directly from the New Yorker, and Auletta has proven to be particularly influential. Over the past few years, mainstream stories about the members of the media cartel have seemed to increasingly focus on the personalities of the corporations' colorful leaders--following Auletta's lead. In early winter of 1997 Westinghouse's CBS TV's newsmagazine show 60 Minutes featured a profile of the public spat between Turner and Murdoch--Turner accuses Murdoch of being too conservative while Murdoch accuses Turner of being too liberal.49 The segment was a direct crib from a piece that Auletta had written in The New Yorker a few months earlier.50 In fact, the segment's producer felt compelled to interview Auletta on-camera as one of the story's main sources. The implication behind this, and other stories about the personalities behind the media cartel is: The republic is safe because the media bigwigs are at odds so much of the time that their media outlets will reflect this diversity.

But this is a fundamentally wrong assumption, because the corporations' fortunes are so completely tied together--an "oligopoly," in McChesney's words51--that a member of the media cartel working against its "competitors' " interests would, by definition, be working against its own interests. Lawsuits and blustery threats among the ten giants of the cartel are commonplace--last year Seagram's MCA unit sued Viacom over their joint ownership of USA TV network52--but have little effect on the symbiotic nature of the cartel. TCI chairman John Malone said it best: "Nobody can really afford to get mad with their competitors because they are partners in one area and competitors in another."53

Lost in all of Auletta's clash-of-the-media-titans reporting is that the companies that these personalities run are divvying up the public spectrum amongst themselves. It is probably not by accident that Westinghouse's 60 Minutes covered the virtually meaningless personal feuds of the media corporate heads, yet ignored entirely the story of what is really at stake on the new telecommunications frontier.

Media critics on both sides of the political spectrum have accused major media of pushing political agendas. "Liberal-media-elite" is a constant mantra repeated by Rush Limbaugh, former Vice President Dan Quayle, and all ditto-headed points in between. Organizations like Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) dispute what they call the myth of a liberal media, effectively arguing that more often than not American media demonstrates a strong conservative bias.54 But both sides miss the real danger in the modern American media landscape. More important than whether the media occasionally comes from the left or the right side of the political spectrum is just how wide that spectrum is allowed to be. With just ten companies, all with deeply interconnected financial interests, controlling where the boundaries of the spectrum are placed, there is little to protect the spectrum from narrowing into a barely perceptible sliver of what it could be. Ironically, because the "free market" has triumphed in securing control over the broadcast spectrum, the level of political discourse ceases to be guided by any "free market" principles. Instead, it is completely a product of what those ten corporations want it to be.

Anecdotal examples of this narrowing of the spectrum are easy to come by. Last year on CNN's daytime viewer-participation oriented "Talkback Live," a caller asked the host, Judy Rook, why CNN never books Noam Chomsky (perhaps the most famous and influential critic of government and the media) on its shows. "Chomsky ... I'm not sure ... Isn't he dead?" she responded.55 Despite a reputation as one of America's most well-respected thinkers, Chomsky is persona non grata at major American media outlets--his thoughts fall well outside the media cartel's predefined narrow political spectrum. Chomsky has never appeared on Time/Warner/Turner's CNN, and has appeared on Disney/Cap Cities/ABC's "Nightline" just once.56

Despite this and ample additional evidence to the contrary, journalists working for the major media corporations still seem to think that they are free to cover what ever they want.

Harvard's Joan Shorestein Center hosted a Washington conference of broadcast journalism professionals this past March (1997). The assembled journalists concluded that there was much wrong with American journalism--the decline of foreign bureaus, the lack of coverage of women and minorities, the use of lying to secure stories, etc. But, according to Eric Alterman in the March 24 edition of The Nation, everyone at the conference agreed that mega-corporate control of major broadcast networks posed no real problem--journalists feel that they are perfectly free to cover what they please, in whatever way that pleases them. "Apparently journalism is the only trade in America in which nobody worries about upsetting the boss's boss or screwing with the company's stock price," dryly noted Alterman.57

Bagdikian describes an encounter that Lawrence Grossman, former president of NBC News, had with General Electric President Jack Welch in October of 1987. General Electric had recently purchased RCA, which owned NBC. Welch called then-NBC president Grossman shortly after the stock market crashed in 1987 "telling him not to use words in NBC news reports that might adversely affect G.E. stock." Grossman chose not to pass along Welch's "suggestions."58 But it is fairly clear, in this case at least, that corporate owners have little problem violating the most basic fundamental standards of journalism ethics.

Most frightening about this anecdote is when it took place--ten years ago. In 1987, the highest editorial posts at most of the major media outlets were held by old-guard veterans of the "golden-age" of broadcast news (the sixties and seventies)--veterans like Grossman. These veterans were baptized with an almost Biblical faith in the separation between the church (editorial) and state (the business department) of a news organization. The business side almost invariably honored that separation. But if General Electric had no problem offering "helpful suggestions" to Lawrence Grossman in 1987, one wonders what kinds of "helpful suggestions" that the corporate media-giants are offering today, and if they are being received more willingly now that corporations have had a chance to put many of their own people in top editorial posts.

It was not by accident that freedom of speech was the first protection accorded in the Bill of Rights. Despite living in an age of highly partisan newspapers and pamphlets, our founding fathers recognized that the American public was still better served by freeing the fledgling media from potential censorship by the whims of government.

The modern media landscape is much different than it was in the age of Jefferson. Censorship by government is no longer much of a pressing concern. Most Americans across the political spectrum accept the inherent value of a free press and are willing to publicly defend the principle.

News has always undergone a filtering process. Editors and writers have always debated the newsworthiness of the day's events and "censored" out what they felt was of less importance. Some wags have faulted the choices editors have made--Adlai Stevenson once said, "A newspaper editor is a man who separates the wheat from the chaff and then prints the chaff"59--but the notion that the press as a whole invariably offers Americans the information necessary to make informed decisions is fairly well ingrained in Americans' belief systems.

But the ten members of the mega-media cartel are making an assault on our sacred notion of Free Speech, and rendering any notion of an informed American public completely wrong. As evidenced by the public "debate" over the 1996 Telecommunications Act (or lack thereof), a new filtering process is guiding what is presented to the American public as news. The information of the day is carefully sorted to prevent anything that represents a threat to the media cartel's bottom line.

Normally, when one element of the American business landscape dominates public life, the citizenry has been able to ultimately rally and stop the out-of-control corporations in the interest of the American people. The breakup of the railroad and oil trusts at the turn of the century, as well as the curtailing of the power of some of the multinational conglomerates of the early 1970s, like ITT, are just a few examples of a relatively well informed American public applying enough pressure to weaken a corporate giant, so it can no longer harm the American people.

A corporate giant is again harming the American people--a Goliath, in fact. But the hopes of defeating this giant are much slimmer because it has seen fit to prepare for battle by taking away our one source of strength--our ability to be fully informed. By controlling the news, the media Goliath will win--and we won't even have realized that we were at war.

1. Ben Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly, 5th ed. (Boston: Beacon, 1997), xlv-xlvi.
2. Bagdikian, Monopoly, 5th ed., xiii.
3. Bagdikian, Monopoly, 5th ed., xvi.
4. Richard Corliss, "Time Warner's Head Turner," Time Magazine, 146:11, 11 September, 1995, Time Magazine web site, cited 27 April 1997.
5. "The Media Nation: Publishing," The Nation, web site, cited 27 April 1997.
6. "The Media Nation: Publishing," The Nation, web site, cited 27 April 1997.
7. Intel Corporation web wite, cited 27 April, 1997.
8. Bagdikian, Monopoly, 5th ed., xiiii.
9. Bagdikian, Monopoly, 5th ed.
10. Bagdikian, Monopoly, 5th ed., xii.
11. This information was from a chart prepared by Mark Crispin Miller, Professor of Media Studies at Johns Hopkins University. The chart was downloaded off of the Internet.
12. Robert McChesney, Corporate Media and the Threat to Democracy (New York: Seven Stories, 1997), 18.
13. This information was from the same chart by Mark Crispin Miller mentioned previously.
14. Rhonda Scaffler, "Westinghouse Turns Dial," CNNfn web site, cited 27 April 1997.
15. "The Media Nation: Publishing," The Nation, web site, cited 27 April 1997.
16. "The Media Nation: Publishing," The Nation, web site, cited 27 April 1997.
17. "The Media Nation: Publishing," The Nation, web site, cited 27 April 1997.
18. McChesney, Corporate, 21.
19. This information was from the same chart by Mark Crispin Miller mentioned previously.
20. McChesney, Corporate, 21-2.
21. Ben Badikian, IAJ ed. We the Media (Boston: New Press, 1997), Online, Internet, cited April 27, 1997.
22. Robert McChesney, Telecommunications, Mass Media & Democracy: the Battle for the Control of US Broadcasting, 1928-1935, (New York: Oxford UP, 1994).
23. This quote was taken from a public access television program interview with Noam Chomsky. As is often the case with public access television programs, the title of the program and the names of its producers are a bit murky. The show appeared on Seattle's public access channel 29 on 17 April, 1997.
24. McChesney, Telecommunications, 18.
25. Telecommunications Act of 1934.
26. This quote was taken from the same public access television program mentioned above.
27. Telecommunications Act of 1996, 104th Congress, second session, S. 652. 28. Rhonda Shaffler, "Radio Station Land Rush: Deregulation Triggers Consolidation in Industry," CNNfn web site, 20 May 1996, cited April 27, 1997.
29. Bagdikian, Monopoly, 5th ed. xiv.
30. Telecommunications Act of 1996.
31. Congressional Quarterly web site, cited 29 April, 1997.
32. Jim Naureckas, ed., Extra! Update, April 1997, 1. FAIR's source for this information was the Center for Responsive Politics in Washington, D.C.
33. Naureckas.
34. Time Magazine web site, cited 27 April 1997.
35. Carl Jenson, Censored: the News That Didn't Make the News and Why, the 1996 Project Censored Yearbook (New York: Seven Stories, 1995) 50-1.
36. Jenson, 51.
37. Nightline has not aired any additional critiques of the Telecommunications Act.
38. I conducted a very unscientific survey of the Seattle-area television listings for 1995. I checked the listings for NBC's Dateline NBC, CBS's 60 Minutes, and Cap/Cities/ABC's Primetime Live and 20/20. Often the scheduled line-up for the show was not listed. When the schedule was listed, however, none of the shows appeared to cover the implications of the Telecommunications Act.
39. Businessweek web site, cited 27 April 1997.
40. Businessweek web site, cited 27 April 1997.
41. Businessweek web site, cited 27 April 1997.
42. Businessweek web site, cited 27 April 1997.
43. Businessweek web site, cited 27 April 1997.
44. "Westinghouse to Buy Infinity Broadcasting for $3.9B," CNNfn web site, cited 27 April 1997.
45. "Westinghouse to Buy Infinity Broadcasting for $3.9B," CNNfn web site, cited 27 April 1997.
46. Bagdikian, Monopoly, xvi.
47. Telecommunications Act of 1996.
48. Williams analysis of the merger was typical of virtually all analyses of modern media mergers.
49. Sixty Minutes, 9 February, 1997.
50. Ken Auletta, The New Yorker.
51. McChesney, Corporate, 17.
52. "MCA sues Viacom over cable network," CNNfn web site, 29 April` 1996, cited April 27, 1997.
53. McChesney, Corporate, 17.
54. Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) is generally regarded as the pre-eminent watchdog of the media, exposing countless examples of corporate and conservative bias. They publish Extra! and Extra! Update, and also published The Way Thing's Aren't: The Lies of Rush Limbaugh (1996).
55. This anecdote was confirmed by a phone conversation with an intern, Seth Goldman, at FAIR, 2 May, 1997.
56. This was also confirmed by a phone conversation with Seth Goldman, FAIR intern on 2 May, 1997.
57. Eric Alterman, The Nation, 24 March 1997, Internet web site.
58. Ben Bagikian, The Media Monopoly, 4th ed. (Boston: Beacon, 1992), xvii.
59. Stephan Bates, If No News Send Rumors (New York: Henry Holt, 1989), 57.