Friday, February 22, 2008

McCain and the Conglomerates

Mark Kleiman thinks that part of the reason that McCain gets such good coverage is because he is very friendly toward the interests of Big Media.

It's a commonplace that John McCain has long been a media darling. The kid-gloves treatment of the Iseman story by most of the broadcast media reflects that. The usual narrative is that McCain makes nice to reporters, makes himself accessible, and gives good quote, so reporters love him and give him every possible break.

No doubt there's truth in that. But I doubt it's the only relevant truth.

John McCain was also the chair, and is now the ranking minority member [Update: This is an error. McCain was indeed the Commerce Committee chair, but Ted Stevens, not McCain, is now the vice-chair (which seems to have replaced the old title of "ranking minority member")] of the Senate Commerce Committee. As Chair, he presided over the massive media consolidation of the past fifteen years, a process that has greatly restricted citizens' access to diverse points of view while greatly enriching the media barons who own the networks, TV stations, and cable companies. Moreover, as the Paxson Communications story illustrates, he had, and has, the power to help his media friends and punish his media enemies both by shaping legislation and by pressuring regulators.

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