Monday, May 29, 2006
Does the consolidation of the media affect the free exercise of first amendment rights?
I say it does. I wrote a paper for law school on this very issue, and I figured I would share it with you kind folks. My thesis is as follows: Freedom of the press can only be enjoyed if the press exercises their First Amendment rights. As such, the consolidation of the media into a few big corporations is the gravest threat the American public faces to freedom of information. This consolidation has a seemingly innocuous effect on the American public; for every cost of consolidated media, there is also an alleged benefit. This paper, focusing on the television media, will show how the consolidation of the media has led to the constraining of first amendment rights. On the one hand, there are literally thousands of television channels offered through new media, such as digital cable. Hence, on the surface, it seems that the consolidation of the media has a benign effect on the American public. However, instead of more news being disseminated, the consolidated media produces less objective information to the public, and more “infotainment.” Furthermore, the consolidated media is more vulnerable to boycotts of its products and government regulations. This impacts upon the media’s independence and the variety of news that is shown to the American public. In response to new technologies and the increasing homogenization of the media, the Internet has been growing by leaps and bounds. Ultimately, the rise of the Internet and news sources with original fact fathering, such as SmokingGun.com, MichaelTotten.com, and HuffingtonPost.com, will either eclipse the “mainstream media,” or it will be eaten up by moneyed sources, and be yet another outlet for the “mainstream media” to disseminate its content to the public. --------- If you would like to see the rest, it is found right here. I hope you enjoy!