Sunday, August 14, 2005

Re-regulating media

The next time you hear big broadcast media corporations complaining that they need more deregulation, what they're really saying is they want re-regulation that benefits them, improves their bottom line, not your interests, not your pocketbook, not your democracy.

Robert McChesney on the Aug. 5th episode of PBS' Now:

This idea of deregulation--I mean, who's not in favor of deregulation? I don't wanna be regulated. It sounds great. It's a gushy word. It gives you a warm feeling. But, it's very misleading. There is no such thing as deregulation in media.

For example, radio and TV are all monopoly licenses given out by the government to private firms, or to public broadcasters. They have monopoly access to frequencies. Now, in the case of radio they say they deregulated it when they allowed companies to own more and more of these monopoly licenses.

That's not deregulated it. That's just regulating it on behalf of the big radio companies, the big media companies. If you go out and try to broadcast on one of these monopoly licenses that Clear Channel has, you'd get thrown in jail. That's regulation. That's not a deregulated place where anyone can broadcast on the airwaves. So, we don't have deregulation. We never will have deregulation. Policies are fundamental to a media system.

Even if you wanted a free market system-- even if you woke up with a copy of Milton Freedman taped to your chest and said, "I want a free market system," it would take extensive government policies to create a free market system.


At 8/15/2005 09:54:00 AM, Blogger Michael said...

McChesney's good--very good. And I was lucky enough to take one of his courses when he was teaching at University of Wisconsin.

The course was at 8 in the morning, but I still managed to miss only two the entire semester (which for me, was quite an effort, especially considering that January through the beginning of April--or later--is frozen hell up in Madison).

At 8/15/2005 04:08:00 PM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Wow! I'm jealous. Yes, I hang on every word.

Thanks for the visit. I haven't found a blog for you - am I missing something?

At 8/16/2005 07:42:00 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Ouch, I guess I don't have a blogger profile. My site is here and I'm now a regular reader of PGR.

Found you sort of through Right Hand Thief. Oh, and I'm in Baton Rouge now, but don't hold that against me (someone had to try).

At 8/16/2005 10:04:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Right. I'll add your you to the blogroll. Thanks Michael.

By the way, it's not exactly the same, but my first impression of Baton Rouge was how similar it seemed to Madison. In hindsight, I see how mistaken I was. I think it had to do with the somewhat similar topography (although Madison is considerably more hilly).

At 8/16/2005 03:33:00 PM, Blogger Michael said...

Well, there are some similarities--both are state seats located about an hour from a bigger city that usually ignores state government. Both have the "flagship" university.

However, BIG differences include the political outlook, as well as the employment base...and then there's a literal climate difference (which favors BR, believe it or not) a South Louisianian I managed to hack the bitter cold for TEN freaking years before I decided I could put up with roaches, chiggers, flies, and 'necks (mosquitoes are absent during the cold months in Mad Town, but they strike with a vengence during summer).

All in all, though, I learned a lot, and met some interesting folk--I also met a lot of snobs who considered southerners inferior generally--oh well. The thrill of BR, so to speak, has DEFINITELY worn off in the ensuing six years back, but I RARELY complain about hot weather anymore--because I've seen the other side of that coin, and can't stand the cold--hell, sometimes I think I'm still thawing out.

At 8/17/2005 06:30:00 AM, Blogger Schroeder said...

Being a Wisconsin native myself (Milwaukee), I have to agree that Madison has to be just about the coldest place on the planet. At least Milwaukee has the lake warming effect to divert the Arctic express.

But I do miss Wisconsin, and I dream of returning. I miss...the change of seasons, the crispness of the air, yes, snow (even if winter can get really ugly), tobogganing in winter is lots of fun, summer weather is beautiful, the light can be extraordinary in winter - that long arc of the sun traveling low along the horizon and all the subtleties of light that it produces. Plus, I've heard, and believe, that people in cooler climates actually spend more time outdoors, because the weather is actually more agreeable to physical activity.

Nice to make your acquaintence Michael.


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