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Technology and the limits of media ownership

Just what was so objectionable about the Federal Communications Commission's decision to slightly relax a few limits on media ownership?

In response to the September 9, 2003 Perspectives column by Declan McCullagh, "Technology and the limits of media ownership":

This is an abject mischaracterization of the real marketplace. It completely ignores the economic dynamics and exposure patterns of mass media versus niche media and personalized media.

Declan McCullagh can't make a fair argument about "numbers" of media unless he takes into account the size of their audiences and the distribution of exposure across all media. After all, the very reason for regulating the mass media is they still want to consolidate further into bigger chunks. We know for a fact that there are a ton of merger deals ready to go down if the regulations are eased.

Why would that be the case, if deregulation encouraged diversity? They are trying to gain the largest market share so as to charge the highest advertising rates as well as gain the greatest power over the flow of information. It doesn't matter how many additional outlets there are if most people still choose from a few of the big ones, and they still do.

Declan is wrong to encourage deregulation. It plays directly into the hands of the money-power players who already impose far too much of their influence disproportionately on our national politics. The diversity arguments are completely spurious when the only thing that is important is the actual pattern of audience exposure and patterns of revenue that constrain content.

That's all this is about.

Dan Krimm
Marina del Rey, Calif.